Wow

A lot to catch you up on.

We staged “Art is Your Rock” on Monday. I’m happy with the scene leading in—I wasn’t sure how the “silent talker” character of Miss St. Helen would work on stage. My fears were assuaged as I watched the students being directed to lean in as a group, in a carefully controlled synchronized movement, to try to catch her every unhearable word.

And it should make the all-out gospel choir direction of the song’s latter half that much more fun.

Getting choreographed (choreographer Barbara Hartwig out front) in "Art is Your Rock"

Getting choreographed (choreographer Barbara Hartwig out front) in "Art is Your Rock"

Miss St. Helen's "choir" of students flutter through sign-language like movements as they sing.

Miss St. Helen (in pink) leads the students in sign-language-inspired movements as they sing "Art is Your Rock...when life takes it all."

Tuesday night was a big one. We opened with work on Mr. Manne’s entré to art, “Ah, Oui!” It was the first time I’d seen it all the way through and in the big space. Some riotous staging–and brilliant actor playing (there are so many good things starting to happen with performances, I can’t even enumerate them; some of the kids are fearless, while others are more careful and calculated, but they’re all thoughtful about their characters and the choices they make)–as he makes his way completely inappropriately through the group of kids. The video here shows an excerpt–nope, it ain’t the whole thing–the more dance-oriented second half that goes for a no-holds-barred can-can (Mr. Manne is in the red shirt; on opening night, he’ll be wearing red, but not a shirt).

Then we ran about 25 pages of the show straight through (okay, we stopped a few times), and it was REALLY the first time I got to understand what this thing is. Timing, jokes, correlation between visuals and words, how well the songs are integrated, all the stuff that can’t, no way, not even close, be revealed simply by reading and listening to it.

It prompted me to understand some lines here and there needed to be cut. AND it made me question one of the songs in a big way. Something that had NEVER occurred to me until I saw it in context, from start to finish. Nothing’s been decided yet, so I won’t be much more specific than that until it is. But whether it stays in its current form or is changed drastically will be a joint decision.

Anyway, thank heavens for workshops.

Kitty (center) rides the subway for the first time and meets a couple of homeless.

Kitty (center) rides the subway for the first time and meets a couple of homeless.

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