Hitting the wall.
30 hours, director Chad Larabee tells me. “We’ve gotten a lot done in 30 hours of rehearsal.”
60% of the way staged through Act I and the biggest, most complex production numbers out of the way, I can say it didn’t feel like 30 hours at all. But I wasn’t learning choreography, developing a character, or realizing a directorial vision of this complex comedy. I was just drinking it all in.
On Sunday, there was choreo of BE FREE with the delightful Neva Rae Powers added in as mother hen and drawing teacher, Ms. Hamm. With a “nude” model at its center, a lot of careful and creative staging has to happen to constantly obscure his…um…yes…from the audience. At some point, we might have lost the song’s emotional and storytelling core, though, which is about a teacher inspiring her scared, suspicious and hesitant class. We think we know at precisely what beat that happens, so the creatives at the helm have already devised a path, which is also going to inform the other two teacher numbers. I expect clear sailing. And lots of fun.
After a quick birthday celebration for Jason Michael Snow (there were cupcakes), the rest of the day was spent with full-cast running the first five scenes–everything staged up to that point. For the first time ever in one continuous string. With a guest accompanist. That’s where the wall showed up. Mostly erected by sheer burnt-outedness, mentally and physically, of our leads and ensemble, choreographer and director (I don’t count myself; I sit at a table; you can’t get burnt out sitting at a table and getting to watch people do stuff you wrote down on a page).
There was an audible smack as the “lets see what we have!” excitement of doing all those scenes and songs in one fell swoop ran into a solid brick structure with the giant words: “Take a break now. You need it. There is much work yet still to do.” Yeah, it’s a wordy, kind of annoying wall with a Yoda complex.
We’ll all come back Tuesday revived, refreshed and toting rock-busting pick-axes.
I love all this. Have I mentioned that?