Rehearsal #8

Be honest. Who else was looking outside at the snow on March 2nd hoping for more snow as a justification of no NDW? I say this knowing full well that the right decision was made to cancel NDW based on the timing of the snow and what had been forecasted. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t thinking the whole time that I could totally drive to Cole without any problems. But what can you do?

We made the best of a New England winter situation. This past Saturday we blocked the first three scenes of Act 2, and started on the fourth. There are 5 total, so that’s pretty good! We even ran the first few scenes of Act 1, worked on choreography, reviewed songs, and snuck in a tiny bit of character work. It was a successful day.

Also a success? Our food drive. I’m sure the total will be announced at the telethon, but since we didn’t announce it at rehearsal (and therefore no one knows which mentor group won the guessing contest), I won’t reveal that number here. It is so important to support our community. Aside from it being the right thing to do, it’s important to remember that we are, essentially, a community theater group. When we have a show weekend there are plenty of people from our community that we don’t know who come to see our shows and support us, right along with all the community members that we do know. Being part of a community is reciprocal – we support each other, that’s what it’s all about. So, doing this food drive once per show is crucial for our involvement in this reciprocal community that we all call home.

As I write this I am looking at a calendar. We have rehearsals on the 16th and 23rd and then it’s tech week. The third Saturday will be our 2nd and 3rd shows. That’s insane! I’m not ready, not yet. It is crazy, though, how time sneaks up on you. Although we’re in pretty good shape, we still have a lot to accomplish during those last 2 rehearsals.

In an ideal world, tech week would be all about adjusting to the space and getting used to using the set, props, and costumes. That requires all actors to be completely off book in terms of, not just lines and lyrics, but also blocking and choreography. It assumes that all the nuances and layers have already had time to be added and worked on, so that now those things would just need to be tweaked. It assumes that our actors only need guidance in so far as it applies to adding the technical aspects of the show.  That’s not how NDW works though. And we should be grateful for that, because there is still so much to do.

We can finish blocking Act 2 and run the entire show before tech week starts, but it’s in those NDW tech weeks that we usually have the chance to add those layers, those nuances. If tech week were mostly just tech rehearsals, our actors would get very bored, very quickly. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in past blogs that I’ve had tech rehearsals in which the actors would be sitting around doing nothing until 1 am, and that’s when we’d start acting on stage (granted it was in college, but still – rehearsal started at 7 pm). At NDW we are quite adept at having tech rehearsals take care of everything. We fix things with our actors - whether it be blocking, music, or choreography – all while getting kids in costumes, having them use props for the first time, and having them work around stage crew. And of course, during our tech week it’s not just the actors that work hard. There are so many things going on backstage to put the finishing touches on costumes, props, and of course the set, too. All the elements needed for a good show.

Alright, I have no clever segue into this week’s pop culture segment of this blog, so here you go. At one point in the script, Max King bemoans Simon & Garfunkel. Here is their song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” This is such a great song, if you don’t know it you should.

Something else referenced in the Flower Power script is the television show Gunsmoke. This show ran for 20 seasons. Twenty! I’ve actually been meaning to sit down and watch it, but somehow never have, although I’ve seen clips here and there. Here for your enjoyment is the theme song. Gunsmoke is also an influence for NDW past show The Wild, Wild, Wildest West, along with several other westerns, of course. Westerns were still popular in the 1960s – my favorite was Bonanza (okay, this is actually the only Western-themed tv show I’ve watched, you caught me). My favorite characters are of course Little Joe and Hoss!

While we’re talking about 60s tv show themes, I have to include my three favorites (other than The Monkees and Batman, which I’ve already shared clips from). Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale of Gilligan’s Island (fun fact: this is actually not the original theme song, the original did not list all of the characters), and for people who like a little light feminism, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie were two shows that gave women all the power without intimidating men (which was important back then). I was very lucky to have these shows in reruns while I was growing up (thanks Nick at Nite!). Fun fact about Bewitched: there are two different actors who played Darren, both similar looking and both named Dick. Dick York became too ill to continue on the show, so Dick Sargent was hired to take his place. I suppose you’d like a fun fact about I Dream of Jeanie now, too, huh? The two leads were reunited for an episode of the 80s tv show Dallas. Larry Hagman has become more recognizable for his role on the latter, and Barbara Eden, Jeanie herself, was in an episode (or maybe two?) of this primetime soap.

And one last video before I go. I heard this song this past weekend and forgot how much I always enjoy listening to Gerry and the Pacemakers. When people think about the British Invasion they tend to think of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but forget about all the other wonderful acts that came from Britain. Gerry and the Pacemakers were one of those chart-topping bands. Here is a live performance of “How Do You Do It” from a show in Sweden.

Enjoy and see you Saturday,