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Dirty in the Works

Yesterday we started rehearsals for Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play my husband Steven is directing for Ilion Little Theatre (ILT). Rehearsal was scheduled for seven o’clock. We arrived by 6:30 to set up the stage.

The stage was almost completely bare, the set from the last show having been taken down. Flats and lumber were piled up at the sides and back, because we aren’t sure what all we might need to build Steven’s set. Steven began placing chairs on the stage to indicate where some things are going to be.

“This is theatre magic,” I declared. “A minute ago they were just chairs. Now they’re a house, a river bank, a stump — OK, those are still just chairs.” The chairs were around an actual table — probably not the specific table we’ll ultimately use — that the Widow Lovelace serves tea on.

My remark struck me as very funny and I immediately decided to use it in the blog.

When I was in Harvey last year, I did not feel comfortable blogging about the rehearsal process itself. I felt somehow it should remain private, protected in a way. Some directors hold closed rehearsals — only essential personnel allowed in. That’s more usual in a professional or college setting. I’ve never known ILT rehearsals to be closed.

That said, I think I can say a little, in a general way, about our rehearsal last night. One observation I must make is, blocking rehearsals are boring.

Blocking, for anyone who doesn’t know, is movement on the stage. The director says, “You go here on this line,” and the actor writes it in his (or her) script. In pencil. Then they try it again. It isn’t so bad when you’re on the stage moving around and writing things down. Sitting in the audience watching can be deadly.

See, my big scenes aren’t till Act II. I was there last night to lend moral support for the first rehearsal. In view of that, I did not mention to anyone how boring I find blocking rehearsals. I hope nobody in the cast reads this blog. You guys aren’t boring! Don’t get upset! Oh, who am I kidding? Everybody doesn’t read my blog every day.

So for a progress report on Dirty Work at the Crossroads, I say: so far so good. One rehearsal down and it went pretty well. Further reports as events warrant. Till we get a little closer to production. Then this blog might become All Dirty Works All The Time. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.