Last night’s rehearsal was “A Touch of Class” (the name of the scene we worked) with a touch of magic, compliments of having to rehearse outside because of a scheduling glitch.
The first hour consisted of finishing the choreography for Mr. Manne’s (the painting teacher) number, “Ah, Oui!”. I have yet to see the whole thing at once, but I do there will be a Can-Can dance break and that the end will be a Moulin Rouge-style dance fest with a giant kick line at its core (competing with Mr. Manne’s ego). We were cramped into the dance studio, so this picture doesn’t really do it justice.
Choreographing "Ah, Oui!"
Then it was on to scene work. Aaron finally got a night to himself, as did much of the ensemble, while the trio, our teachers, the homeless couple, and a student or two got ready to read or stage. Discovering moments later that we had no stage on which to rehearse, we chose the building’s spacious courtyard with its stage-like steps. And it was great. A chilly night for this time of year in South Carolina. And the fountain drowned out a lot of the sound. But, as we worked through the entrances of Ms. Hamme (riotous) , Mr. Manne (sublimely absurd), and Miss St. Helen (a soulful dormant volcano waiting to erupt), we felt inspired and uplifted by the outdoor air–and the actors somehow free-er to play and act silly within the scenes (if you can’t get your silly “on” in this show, your dead in the water).
Edward, Kitty, and Toni-O rehearse in the courtyard.
In other news, I was asked how to pronounce the Yiddish phrase, “Sholem-aleichem,” I assigned Toni-O at one point. I suggested that we find either a linguist or someone with Jewish roots as I had to admit I had simply looked the phrase up on babelfish.
And I was also asked on whom “Father” is based and why he’s gay. Many of the actors have asked me about the real person they’re character was inspired by–and they ask that because Aaron made a comment in a rehearsal that all the roles in POPart are based on people we know. What he should have said was that Dr. Bore was inspired by his art history teacher. And Kitty certainly is informed by aspects of my own personality. Beyond that, it’s all invention. I love invention. As for why Father is gay, I had to stop and think for a moment. I told the actor that it gave Kitty one more thing to push her ever further off balance (having her dad leave her mom for another woman would do that too, but not in quite the same way). And that, in this POPart world of the every-day taken to extremes and where everyone seems to have an inner person trying to bust out and be seen, it just made sense (Kitty sees her dad do that and it inspires her to be her own person). Sometimes characters just tell you, the writer, who they are, and you don’t have a lot of say in the matter. “Father” was always gay.