I believe I’ve mentioned some of drama surrounding Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play my husband is directing for Ilion Little Theatre (drama in the theatre? Say it ain’t so!). Well, the latest update includes good news and bad news and good news.
The good news is we have a hero. A young man was referred to us by a former president of the group (who, by the way, would have made a dandy hero himself but is too busy with work and family commitments). So far our new hero has been at one rehearsal (which I was not at), and Steven thinks he’s going to work out just fine.
I’ve heard good reports about him from others, too. My friend Phyllis says he’s a real nice guy. She told me her son said there was just one thing against him. I thought, “What? He can’t take direction. He’s a know-it-all. He says ‘um’ a lot.”
“He’s a Washington Redskins fan,” Phyllis said.
“The whole thing comes to a grinding halt,” I declared, with gestures. I was just kidding. I don’t even know what sport they were talking about.
I don’t know if any of your civilians know what it is like trying to cast a community theatre play when not enough people show up at auditions. It is stressful. Some people are very helpful with suggestions. But then you have to contact the people they suggested. And wait for them to get back to you. And get them the script. And let them read it. And think about it. And then they have to get back to you. All the while you are in suspense. The clock is ticking. Rehearsals have started. Opening night is imminent. What will happen?
So it was a great load off our shoulders when we got our hero.
And then we lost our French Maid. A very short time before Tuesday’s rehearsal, Steven got the email. Another disaster!
I actually had a few helpful suggestions right away, but Steven was not in the mood for helpful suggestions. Sometimes one just needs a little space to throw one’s hands in the hair and say, “This really sucks!” I continued my activities of getting dressed and making my blog post.
Eventually Steven said to me, “Can we just write the character out?”
It is a small part. Two little scenes, one of which I am in. I looked at my script.
“Sure,” I said. “Instead of, ‘Fleurette, inquire of that yokel yonder,’ I’ll say, ‘I shall inquire of that yokel yonder.'” I showed him a couple other small changes. “I can totally rock this.”
The other scene was a little more complicated. It is just Fleurette and Mookie (the aforementioned yokel).
“We’ll make it Mookie and Leonie,” I suggested. “I’ll write a few lines. This can work.”
We went to rehearsal feeling better. We had some time at the theatre before rehearsal started (a good director always gets there early), so I sat down and whipped off the Mookie/Leonie scene. Of course, I was all kinds of pleased with myself after that.
So we began rehearsal with me verbally coaching Mookie and Leonie through the modified scene. We intended to skip the new scene. I would email the actors their lines before the next rehearsal.
Then we realized Fleurette has another little scene we had forgotten about. Oops! This turned out to be less of a problem than it seemed at first, due largely to the fact that the play is a melodrama. It is completely acceptable for actors to address the audience, themselves, or the ambient air. It was easy to change the dialogue into a monologue, and not too long a one for the actor to learn.
So that was our week in Dirty Work. We solved one problem, confronted another, solved that one. Bring on the next problem! I’ll write about it here.