Monday, February 11, 2008

Minor Heart Attacks

This blog would be so dull if I only said the shows went smoothly, everyone loved it, and not a line was dropped. Why would the four of you who regularly drop by want to keep showing up for that? So today I will recount the things that went wrong during the three shows this weekend.

Let’s start with Friday. Besides my usual complaints about L and his complete inability to hold onto his part throughout an entire performance we had an honest to goodness forgot a prop panic. R, who plays Larry Regan, came on for his entrance at the very top of Act III, sat down, and immediately realized that he had forgotten a very pivotal piece of “evidence”. A check for $5000 from John Graham Whitfield, philanthropist and, if you believe Larry’s character, murdering bastard. The reason I highlight that the check is from John Graham Whitfield will become apparent later in the recounting of this tale.

I am on the stand at this point and most of this story is pure hearsay. But as R tells it, he sits down and suddenly panics about the check having forgot to put it in his breast pocket before entering. His first discussion with himself is that he will simply pull out an ATM slip from his wallet and hand that over. He is content with the decision for almost a full minute until it dawns on him that he is in costume and therefore does not have his wallet in his back pocket. Oh no. There are various pads all over the table that my attorney uses to take notes and scribble things throughout the show. But they are on the other side of the table and R is convinced in his panic that everyone is looking at him and that any sudden moves will only draw more attention.

Now, here I would like to say that I am testifying and as the one on the stand who is actually staring at the audience that they are really looking at me. I know that sounds self centered, like of course they are all watching me! But in truth this is the reveal of my side of the story and it includes details of testimony from everyone that has come before me.

He finally decides to just go for it. And to try and rip a slip of paper out of the pad. But he’s afraid to just tear it because it will make a noise and everyone will just look at him and then what! So after flipping through page after page looking for a blank sheet, which is almost impossible due to the huge amount of “notes” that M makes through out the show, he folds a piece and tries to tear it very slowly. Then becomes afraid that is even more noticeable. So when my attorney sits down after my testimony and I go into cross examination he whispers to him, “I forgot the check.” M, who I said before is constantly playing with the pads and has no compunction in touching one or doing anything at all while I speak rips him off a piece of paper which he pockets, breathing a sigh of relief.

I, of course, know about none of this having had my attention occupied doing my role and what not. Larry testifies immediately after me. I am despondent an non-responsive through it until he gets to the part of the check which draws me in leading up the crucial reveal of the check writer. I first know something is slightly amiss when he pulls the piece of yellow legal pad paper from his jacket and hands it to my attorney. My attorney is obviously not thrown being the supplier of said piece of paper. He hands it to the clerk to submit into evidence. And then the question comes up, “Who wrote that check?” Larry’s answer is your clerk can read that check to you. The clerk (who is also our bailiff) opens the blank piece of paper and says…something. I’m still not sure what. It definitely started with James Monroe and then it went on from there a bit. And I react inappropriately. Or appropriately depending on your point of view. My reaction is usually one of anger toward John Graham Whitfield but under the circumstances I simply reacted with confusion. The rest of the cast went on as though he had said John Graham Whitfield so I’m sure that it was glossed over to the audience but I always try to react as in the moment as possible and hearing an unfamiliar name got the most honest reaction of who? out of me. And all I could think afterwards was for the love of the Ceiling Cat how long have we been rehearsing this show that you don’t know the characters name unless it is written on a piece of paper! So, that was Friday.

I can’t think of anything on Saturday outside of the L stuff. And the giant gaps while he searches his papers for the lines. God, I hope I never work with him again. Sunday was much more about the jury than us. First, J, our bailiff, gets his list of twelve names and says what do I do if people decline? I only have 12 names here. So we talk about and decide that he should just point to people in the audience and tell them they are alternates. Good thing too because we had three declines and has been previously stated and cannot be overstated J is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

The other funny thing with the jury is that M’s mother was on the jury. At the end of his closing argument he has this sappy ridiculous spiel about reaching deep into your hearts, and understanding Karen Andre, and searching souls…blah blah blah, seriously if I was on the jury that alone would turn me against my character. So he leans onto the rail and says that whole bit to his mother. Right in her face! And I couldn’t help it I just broke up. I turned my head and covered my face but I was never able to fully recover my concentration after that. I swear I am always more professional than that. But I just lost it so completely that reining it in was impossible.

So that was this weekend. Wednesday we have a speed line read and then begin again of Thursday!

1 comment:

Ty Unglebower said...

Quite a weekend.

I have had directors who say you should always memorize what is on paper that you read, in case something just like that happens.