Jim's Richard III Blog

What had started as a blog of Richard III rehearsal process at Cal Shakes has now evolved or devolved into a small novella. The author is petrified to change the name for fear it'll disappear, and wouldn't know what to call it anyway. Many stories are included and questions are even answered sometimes!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How Do You Get an Actor to Complain?

Give him a job.

An ancient joke but pretty accurate, at least in my case. It seems to me I'm always grousing about something and I don't know if it's because I'm turning into the curmudgeon I've always been destined to be or I'm just too damn picky for my own good. If I were to grouse about ZVSP what would it be about? Hmmm--so many choices.............

It's mostly organizational, I think--it's a truly chaotic process here and we burn time on a daily basis--45 minutes will go by before we actually do something in rehearsal. The tech has been a minor nightmare--I found out last night that the sound and lighting crews didn't have headsets so they couldn't hear our stage manager call the light and sound cues. This explains the 5 to 10 second of dead air after some of my lines. I can't go on until many of these cues are called as my lines refer to them, but we managed to tighten up several of these last night.

The costumes get piled in a heap in a spare room downstairs and every day you have to sort through the clothes and it's weird that no matter how carefully I stash or store them I still can't find them the next day. I've supplied my own pants, shirt, and socks since the Costumer managed to find only one article of clothing that fit me, though she's had about 5 weeks to find them, buy them, or steal them off a corpse. She's Hungarian and she brings her 80-ish year old Mother with her all the time who looks mystified by the entire process; the first time I came near her mother she shouted at me "I don't speak no English!" I replied in milder tones that I don't spoke no Hungarian. We're buddies now, I think--we smile at each other a lot, anyway.

The props? I have to check them myself I find--which any actor who is in a prop heavy role should do, but sometimes I can't find them to check them. And the desperation factor in getting this show up and over with is making itself evident--I'm supposed to use a "Hypnodial" which for our purposes is defined as one of those swirly vortex patterns that lulls one into a trance state, and got for the prop a short stick with a string on one end and a paint can lid with a hastily sketched out hypnodial on it screwed onto the other end, the entire unweildly apparatus meant to be worn around my neck. I think I'm going to have to make my own.

We found yesterday that they're cutting the musical number at the top of Act 2 as it "just wasn't working"--a bit late in the game to realize this I think as we've worked on this song and dance for 4 weeks. We're replacing the entire number with a short sketch that begins with Garganta blowing farts on his hand to amuse the other Monsters in my collection....then Keta will sing a song. Originally the top of Act 2 was to be a dream sequence of Neetroys starting with "5th Avenue" a great old tune (a Shirley Temple hit at one time) after which I would wake him, he would strip off the enormous pair of red womens panties that he'd been sleeping in and then we would look for the kids that the Graveyard Devil had made off with.

It's true that the dream sequence was not set up well, but we all liked the song and I think it has just a bit more class than hand-farting, but I confess, I am not sorry to see those red panties go.


Blogger marshlady said...

You know...the more I read about this, and maybe it's me... but I keep thinking "This ain't your usual production now is it" (chuckle)

Cheers, Carol from house staff at Calshakes, I have held a bus or two for you...

April 9, 2008 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger alexae said...

I actually hadn't heard that joke... but I like it. And to be fair to your costumer Jim, it's not easy finding clothes to fit someone who is 3'4, with a hump back, a vestigial tail and size 16DDD feet like you... or was that another Jim I'm thinking of... hummm. ;)
Hope you're having fun anyway.

April 11, 2008 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger James Carpenter said...

I do not have a vestigial tail!

April 11, 2008 at 9:01 AM  

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