Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Opening Night Was…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2008 by darylfazio

spec-tac-u-lar.

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Go ahead, make my day

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2008 by darylfazio

Clint Eastwood said that with a sneer. I say it, face dead-pan, arms crossed tightly over my chest, to my own book and lyrics as I prepare to watch another run-through on Monday night. Prove yourself, POPart. I am not easily impressed. And I’m no mood for your crap.

That was around 7:47 pm. By 8:30 pm, my tough outer shell was starting to disintegrate in spite of itself And by 9:15, I was a warm pool of goofy good vibes.

Does that mean the show is a success? It’s true I see an edge here and there I’d like to do some mild sanding to, script-wise (right now, I’m obsessing a little over the set-up for “Watch the Birdy”). And there is still the occasional joke that doesn’t land the way I’d hoped (Monica continues to direct them into new ways of delivery and approach and to show ME new ways of thinking about the words, so I’m content to let it evolve). But if the test is in its ability to make you laugh no matter what s*$#! you brought with you into the theater, then I say it’s road-ready.

Of course, it’s due in no small part to the fact that the kids are having a ball on stage. A couple of them remarked last night, “This show is SOOOO much fun to do” (thanks Matt and Evan—you’re pretty bleepin’ fun to watch). And I don’t think they were merely blowing Van Gogh’s sunflowers up my bum. The cast IS an ensemble now, in all their collective cornball-i-ness (thank Zeus for cornballs!). Getting to run the show every night is the pay-off to the hard march they made to get here.

Tunnels and Light

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 by darylfazio

I took a few nights off from rehearsal. We’d gone through all the material at least once by last Sunday. I’d tweaked a few small things and one big thing. And it was time to let the actors and directors have some time to themselves. I could feel myself getting antsy–that certain sections of text weren’t flowing the way I’d hoped, that some characterizations weren’t communicating, that we kept getting bogged down in remembering choreography. And I couldn’t tell how much of it was something I needed to fix in the script. Or how much of it was just the performers needing more time to live inside the material. What is this thing I wrote? I kept asking myself. So I gave them space to find out.

Well, holy macaroni. They did the first run-through last night. And to quote director, Monica Bell, Ladies and gentlemen, “We have a play.” Who knows exactly what pushes on-stage energy to a new level, what makes an ensemble out of a bunch of individuals, what drives completely new character choices, what suddenly allows things that had before been fractured pieces to become seamless.

I DO know it’s freakin’ magic. And for all of us, not a moment too soon. The kids were phenomenal (some particularly big leaps taken by Kitty and Toni-O; and Edward did some brilliant onstage business with his headlamp in the SHoHo scene) and, with two weeks left, I can’t wait to see where this new confidence in the piece and themselves will take it.

As for rewrites, I took ample notes, but the majority had to do with tiny shifts (like having Toni-O announce the gangs BEFORE they sing so the audience gets the connection). A few had to do with the necessity of some lines (Monica and I agreed to keep them, to see if some tighter comic timing won’t correct the issues). And the bigger ones were character notes and questions to myself that will not be addressed for this workshop, but perhaps in a subsequent draft.

The bad news is, I was so entranced by the performance that I didn’t take a single picture.

“Crit This”

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2008 by darylfazio

Here’s a video tidbit of our first staging rehearsal of “Crit This.” Note the homage to Busbee Berkeley using empty canvas frames.

The Urban Backdrop

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2008 by darylfazio

Set designer Ken Martin has created a Robert Rauschenberg-esque backdrop (scrim) design that will be revealed as Kitty makes the transition from gated community to urban ghetto landscape. On Friday, I went to the shop to help Scene Painter and Visiting Artist, Kim Cox, get it laid out to scale so she could paint it this week.

Specifically, I wanted to help draw some of the lettering, since that’s an area I live in professionally. Plus, I just thought it made sense to be part of making physical “art” for the show.

We had assistance from a couple of Stagecraft students too.

A small-scale print of the backdrop, used for blocking out sections so we could make the transfer to the big boy.

A small-scale print of the backdrop, used for blocking out sections so we could make the transfer to the big boy.

Kim and musical theatre major, Rob, drawing out the big version.

Kim and musical theatre major, Rob, drawing out the big version. Kim's working on the Statue of Liberty's upright arm.

A subway sign--some of my handiwork.

A subway sign--some of my handiwork.

The First Big Cut

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2008 by darylfazio

Well, it’s official. We’ve cut the majority of “Without Me.” The dance and music captured the essence of (and the jokes we wanted to make about) the Michelangelos, Picassos, Rothkos, and O’Keeffes so effectively that the stanzas of lyrics for each gang weren’t needed. So the intros for each stay, as well as one chorus for the whole group. The rest is out. And I think for the better.

The performers were disappointed, but I also know they understood. And, of course, without them, we wouldn’t have even known we needed to make the edit.

“Be Free”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2008 by darylfazio

We hit the two-week rehearsal mark last night with the staging and choreography for “Be Free,” the first song in the teacher triad (“Ah, Oui!”, the second, was staged last week, and we’ll work the last one—and the possible end of the act, if we decide to have an intermission—”Art is Your Rock,” tonight).

My ribs still hurt. From laughing.

Our Ms. Hamm is a revelation, a Julie-Andrews-meets-Captain-and-Tenille force of nature. The director and choreographer have her fondling and making advances toward Hugo, the pasty yet confident nude model (who will be in a dance belt and not much else), as she careens and frolicks around the stage like a go-go dancer grandmother. And the students follow like a band of rabid hippies. The relationship with Hugo was not something I wrote in the script or even had in the back of my mind, but it works.

Here’s a poorly-lit excerpt that can only hint at the comedic mayhem: