June 2, 2010

First Day of Rehearsal: Into the Woods

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 12:33 am

Well our first day of rehearsal has just ended. Or my day has. It’s 11:46PM. My brain is very quickly shutting down, but I need to drink more water before bed, so you’ll get a post while I take some time to wind down.

Like most first days of summer stock season, it was crazy. We began with a production meeting at 12:30. I got in at 11:30 to make some copies, and had a chance to meet and talk with our director, Stacey Stephens, who is new to Reagle this year. We had the standard director/stage manager talk where he explained his style of directing and how he likes to run rehearsals and what he wants from me in that respect. It all sounds great, and I’m looking forward to working with him.

Then we went to the meeting, which was attended by pretty much everybody — a great turnout which makes it very easy to reach decisions and move forward on projects.

That led right into rehearsal where we had a very brief and informal meet & greet, and then dived into the music. With ten days of rehearsal before tech, no time can be wasted in teaching a Sondheim score! Our music department attacked their task ferociously, being very meticulous with every note, but the cast came prepared and rose to the challenge. We had a very ambitious schedule, and still finished it all with an hour and 10 minutes to spare, which we were able to use to work some solos that weren’t expected to be started until Sunday.

So it was definitely an encouraging day. I feel a little bit in over my head because my union is apparently of the opinion that I don’t need an assistant this year. No crises so far, but I’m not sure how long that can keep up. We’re hoping to get somebody to do it for next to nothing — anybody — but until then it’s just me and thankfully only 17 actors. But still, there are a million little things that come up many times a day that simply require another body to operate seamlessly. But I felt supported and appreciated by our creative team, so maybe they won’t hate me if something inefficient happens because I can’t be in two places at once.

Our cast seems very talented — those who I don’t know. The ones I’ve worked with before, I knew were talented already. Starting with Rachel York, who is going to be as amazing as the Witch as she was as Dolly. Which was not to be missed. So get your tickets!

Strangely, not having an assistant has given me the opportunity to get to do things only the ASM usually gets to do. Like keeping an eye on fittings, and people off in far-flung corners of the theatre. Since music rehearsals don’t require constant attention, I was able to move about a bit, sometimes even getting to spend a few minutes in the hall with actors who were not being used. I actually feel like I got to know something about the people I just met, and I had a decent amount of time to catch up with Rachel and some of the others I haven’t seen in a while. My experience of this part of the process in past seasons has usually been that Paul gets to actually talk to people on a personal level, and then as actors come up in conversation between us he tells me about them. I find it very frustrating sometimes that no matter how hard I try, I often can’t find any time to just talk to most people. I’ve done entire shows at Reagle with people I’ve been friends with for years, and despite being thrilled to hear they were cast so we could hang out again, I end up having hardly spoken to them in four weeks. So maybe having to be all things to all people will get me in on some of the socializing that only the ASM gets to enjoy.

But as I said, it was a very good day. I haven’t done a musical since last year at Reagle, so it’s very nice to check back in with that, and remind myself why I do this ridiculous job. I also realize that I’ve never actually done a Sondheim show, and there is much to be excited about. I’m glad I’ve had time to actually sit in music rehearsals and listen while the nuances of the score are explained. There’s a lot of musical symbolism that I wasn’t aware of, except in the sense that it leads you to exactly the feeling you’re supposed to feel. But having it pointed out why it has a certain effect is really cool. I love processes that provide an education in theatre itself in addition to just the teaching of music, choreography and blocking.

So my life might or might not be a living hell for the next two weeks, but I think if I can stay on top of everything I will have a great time. The production meeting set a very good tone, and despite not having an assistant, I feel like everyone has each other’s backs and I once again have a team I can turn to for support from their respective departments. Most importantly, there’s no doubt in my mind this will be a fantastic show that is one I would not have wanted to miss out on in my career.


  1. I agree…today was a great first day! You were totally on top of everything! If you need help with anything, let me know! :)


    KP Reply:

    And I totally forgot to mention how much wardrobe kicked ass. 15 of the 17 actors had fittings around their music rehearsals. Makes my life soooo much easier. Thanks!


    Amanda Ostrow Reply:

    No problem…I hope the second day went just as well!


    Comment by Amanda Ostrow — June 2, 2010 @ 1:54 am

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