Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First rehearsal

I stayed for a few hours, longer than I thought I would but less than I wished I could. It was fascinating. My first impression was that the number of job titles at GEVA is staggering!! My second impression, as the actors introduced themselves, was that being a fly on the wall for a comedy is going to be full of fun and hilarity. I had not really processed the aspect that as a cohort I will be watching the making of comedy, truly a unique experience. Third, as the sit-down, read through of the script began, I realized just how much time these actors had already put into preparing for their characters (Either that, or they are really quick studies and have natural affectation and intonation while reading!). It was a pleasure to listen to their scripted conversation, quickly forgetting that they are people separate from their characters.

Afterwards, I remembered Sean's comments about New American Comedy. He described it as the unicorn; to me, that means it is a rare and magical beast that fills some with desire and envy, some with disbelief and cynicism that it exists, and others with a wonder akin only to believing in the tooth fairy and tinkerbell. Dramatic comedy or serious comedy is what it seems to me. I am eager to see how the lines and the pace and the humor develops as they rehearse them over and over again. The script is quite funny, in a high brow, unexpected as well as an "oh-my-god that's true kind" and now I'm laughing out of nervousness and in earnest. Will it all be so funny and revealing when we have heard these lines over and over again? How do the actors keep themselves surprised and in the moment after playing the scenes over and over again?

Off to a great start. Oh, and I forgot to mention the spontaneous head trauma stories. All of us at our best, just like Ana wants.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Script

I broke my own house rule of prohibiting printing anything over 10 pages, instituted to keep my children from running through reams of paper that inevitably end up in the recycling sometimes in less than a couple of days after printing. I printed the 104 pages of the script for The Book Club Play, late at night when my kids were sleeping. I just can't read prose (or scripts) on a screen. Old school.

I'm very glad I did print it out as I thoroughly enjoyed marking up the margins with exclamation marks, question marks, arrows and phrases. As a writer, and not a playwright, I was fascinated to read a story so well-told and so humorous through only dialogue and not even much monologue. The lines are very short, conversational, a sentence per speaker at a time. I was also surprised that there wasn't more stage direction in the script, and yet I could envision where the characters were and how/when they moved.

I did wonder how the pattern of the script (Book club meeting / confessional / pundit) will play out on stage. Will it seemed contrived? Show don't tell? Or perhaps a good break in the pace? I did enjoy that the "scenes" are organized by Book Selection, and that the imposition of the Documentary filming heightens the power and control issues amongst the Book Club members.

Lastly, I kept thinking about the idea stated early on (p. 55) about the role of books, as entertainment vs. enlightenment. I see a parallel between the discussions I've had about movies vs. films. It also extends to the discussion of what is the role of a bookclub then - intellectual engagement and discussion vs. social interaction and party. As the literary agent on p. 24 says, "every one of us has a story." As a writer, I am also struck by the pithy quote: "Writing a book takes courage. Getting it published takes luck. But getting someone to read your book takes a friggin' miracle." and so true also for a play.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Page One

Geva Theatre put out a call for ordinary folks to participate in an experiment in making theatre production more transparent, interactive, and community oriented (my words). I answered the call for several reasons: it is a chance to be social, to write, to peek in on local/professional theatre, and to expand my love of book clubs. The production this Cohort Group is assigned to is The Book Club Play.
Oh, and I am also getting a chance to check out the world of Blogging.
So far, I have added several new faces/names to my Facebook acct. I have added several new dates on my calendar for theatre watching and some for socializing. I have sat up reading the thick wad of script pages, feeling quite in the role of Critique or Editor. More on that next.