Last night I went over to The Brick to see a bit of a rehearsal of Babylon Babylon
, which I'm now designing the lights for (original designer couldn't do it).
I need to see a few more rehearsals to figure out how to make it work - I can do it with the instruments we have, sure, but I need to really buckle down on what to put where - can't be wasteful at all with instruments on this. The Brick is pretty much all opened up, with rows of seats against the walls, as Frank Cwiklik did with Bitch Macbeth in January.
There's a low central platform, a big stairs/dais piece (the "holy ground") at one end (with projection screen to be bisecting it) and 16 small areas where people have a kind of "home base." Jeff tells me there's really just about 8 real areas to deal with isolating, which helps. I have 26 source-4s (two with I-Cues, two with color scrollers), with 3 others that are broken but fixable (I have the parts), 1 PAR can, two working birdies on floor stands (maybe another one or two fixable), another floor stand for the PAR or a source-4 (and I can always make more if I need them), and basically 31 dimmers (+1 for the house lights). I can make it look good, I'm sure, but I need to see how the whole show moves before I figure out how.
23 out of the 32 listed cast members were there last night, including many friends and frequent collaborators. It'll be fun coming by to these rehearsals and seeing everyone without having to direct them or act with them for once.
So tonight is a first meeting for one of my August shows, Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2).
This show is to be "a play with and in dance," and is being built around the actors, so I don't have very much to it yet. A vague structure and setting, some visual, scenic, and choreographic ideas, and the characters I think the 13 actors will be playing -- assuming I have all 13 actors - some haven't replied or said anything to me since agreeing - sometimes vaguely - to do the show. Tonight I'm expecting 8, maybe 9 of the actors. Maybe. I'll see who shows.
I think the show will be about 75-95 minutes long, in one act, in two defined parts that take place in the advertising agency setting - either two days or one day split in half by lunch. I hope I don't lose any more actors (and I keep the one who's still checking schedule to see if she can do it).
Oh, and I have some music for this. Probably most or all of it, some may be added, some may be dropped. I like these songs basically for their sound, the way I feel movement flowing to them, and the emotional rise and fall of the action in the show as a whole as I see it - the only problem is that they are songs, with lyrics, and while the intensity and feel of the song as a whole is exactly what I'm looking for, sometimes the words are distracting, and would seem to impart meanings to the scenes they're intended for that aren't supposed to be there.
But I don't have anything better as yet for those scenes, so these songs will stay until anything better comes up (unlikely). I spent some of the morning burning CDs of the music to be able to give to the cast tonight. Here's what's on them:
1. "Anthology" - The Kay Gees
2. "Listen to the Band" - The Monkees
SHOW, part 1 (morning to afternoon, or maybe day one; I don't know yet):
3. "Jimmy Carter" - Electric Six
4. "Slug" - Passengers
5. "Down at McDonnelzz" - Electric Six
6. "Dry Bones" - The Four Lads
7. "Laughing" - Pere Ubu
8. "Transylvanian Concubine" - Rasputina
9. "Shannon Stone (mashup)" - Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions
10. "Not Yet Remembered" - Harold Budd & Brian Eno
SHOW, part 2 (afternoon to evening, or maybe day two; I don't know yet):
11. "The Coo-Coo Bird" - Clarence "Tom" Ashley
12. "Paradise Flat" - The Status Quo
13. "Maybe" - The Chantels
14. "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" - Roxy Music
15. "Uptight Maggie (mashup)" - Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions
16. "Episode of Blonde" - Elvis Costello
17. "Theme One" - George Martin
18. "Back of a Truck" - Regina Spektor
POSTSHOW and EXIT:
19. "Money Changes Everything" - Cyndi Lauper
20. "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" - X
I have no idea yet if this odd jumble of styles and sounds will mix in an interesting and ultimately coherent way, or simply seem scattered, disparate, and unfocused. I think it'll work the way I want it to, and unfortunately confuse some people, which I'd rather not do, but whatever. You can't make it work for everyone.
Tonight I'll play the music and watch how people move (several are trained dancers, of various styles, some are musical-theatre people with some dance, some are actors who move well, and there are a couple that I have no idea about, but they seemed to be needed in this world and I'll choreograph around however they move). Maybe set them up in patterns and see how they work visually. Think about words they look like they should be saying.
So much of me hates working this way, making it up as I go along, but I just know I have to do it this way right now.
From today until the August shows are done - 151 days - Berit and I will have a total of 27 days without a rehearsal or performance of one of our four shows - and never two days in a row except maybe between Ambersons performances in early June. And most of those 27 will be filled up with work to get the shows and space ready (as well as working on Babylon Babylon, Penny Dreadful, and The Film Festival: A Theater Festival). And then the two days after the shows are over will be spent getting The Brick spiffed up for this year's Clown Theatre Festival, followed by another 33 days straight of techs and performances for that festival (and Penny Dreadful again).
We finally get some time off September 29-October 17. Until then, we're pretty much busy every day on shows.
We're fucking nuts.