Day 4: May 29, 2019
FIRST READING TONIGHT! [See attached photo: that’s ‘quote’ enough!]
Quick review: It went really well. Whew! Yvette Clark singing with her backup boys Frankie Alvarez and Greg Cuellar were leading contenders for moment of the show. But the real moment was afterwards, when a young girl came bounding down from the fourth row to talk with the cast. She was ON FIRE about the translation. Many of us noticed how engaged she was throughout the reading. There was a cast picture taken afterwards and the young girl are in the photo! Priceless!
One of my takeaways was how much clearer the contrast is between the prose and the poetry. (You can really hear this in Hansol’s R&J.) I’m a formalist by training, which means that i always look to the form for additional information. I don’t know how to use that information yet, but i do like hearing the contrasts clearer. Somehow, i can relax more in the prose parts which gives me the energy and interest to hang in there during the long soliloquies. Which is what happened for me last night.
Yes, it’s an early play. Things aren’t so smooth from scene to scene. But when those arias came, you could have heard a pin drop in that room. And i think that means people were listening. Which is a good thing, right?
One of the fun parts for me is that I’ve had the opportunity to hire so many of my friends. After 25 seasons at OSF, I’ve grown close to many playwrights, directors, and, of course, actors. And so many of them have said yes to being a part of the core company. There have been few greater feelings in my career than being able to give money to my artist friends.
And conversely, I’ve already met so many new colleagues. Who agreed to jump in without knowing very much about the project at all. The excitement is palpable in the hallways. Shakespeare Summer Camp is in full swing!
Wednesdays and Thursdays are their own special days. Today we add Henry VI parts 2 & 3, so there are five plays in rehearsal and our first public reading tonight. Yipes!
The statistics about this Festival are already staggering: 100 actors plus eight production stage managers and eight assistant stage managers, eight directors, six production assistants, and 20,000 pages of text PER WEEK!
The sheer volume of the operation requires the precision of moving an army battalion. The PA team put together some three dozen music stands today. They had an assembly line going in the hospitality suite. We need some 50 music stands on any given day. That’s a lot of schlepping, y’all.
Doug Langworthy, who translated all three Henry VI’s, was doing the mad dash among three rooms today. We hired three dramaturgs to be in each room, so he could get some continuity. And the three stage managers are coordinating when to take breaks so he can spend quality time in each room. I hear that he is continuing to refine and cut.
The H6.2 cast was closest to the hospitality suite so I was able to kibbitz with them the most today. Few of them knew the play and all agreed that it was a really good play. So we need to rattle some cages out there and bring in more people to hear it on Saturday afternoon.
I find that I don’t have the energy to celebrate much tonight, so I’m signing off. I only realized after the reading that I hadn’t eaten all day. Well, except for grazing at the snack table. Hm.
Tomorrow: Richard III comes into the house. And it’s our first double-performance day! Oh my!