Impressed with the Nation’s Capital

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I told you so. Our European counterparts are all very impressed with the Nation’s Capital! How can you not be impressed when we’re having weather like this: this is the summer we missed! Yippee! Twenty-seven degrees, no humidity, and gloriously clear and sunny skies. And the leaves are definitely turning. Although it is still early in the autumn, one spies the occasional crimson maple, a golden bough exploding out of a sea of green, and a dry sense of change.

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Peace Tower in Fall

And in the theatre things are not much different. The Theatre at the NAC is a substantially different container than both the Swan and the Northern Stage. Where the Swan is like an atrium, and the Northern Stage is like an auditorium, the Theatre is a big bowl. Our actual playing space has been rounded by adding panels on the sides and the front. It is quite grand, and allows for much more sweeping movement and delivery. It is a different external dimension for the actor. And it’s as if our chorus of Dreamboats was choreographed to go into this space all along! Funny how things like that work out.

There are plenty of adjustments to make: steep steps to vomitories that exit under the audience on either downstage side, a vast, black, cavern backstage, one less dresser, and one less wigger on duty, an entirely new crew (who are fantastic, and really helpful). But the biggest adjustment is the music. Our band has been placed deep in the backstage behind the crossover. This means having the instruments on mics, and pumping the sound into the house. This is always a huge adjustment after having acoustic music onstage. Very difficult. And for our rehearsal day it means re-cueing the entire show. So apart from a detailed clean of the Dreamboats choreography with Veronica, and some great notes and adjustments from Rae, the day and night were entirely devoted to sound and lighting.

This was all very time consuming, and by the end of two five hour sessions we were not even half-way through the show. So tomorrow we will not have a dress rehearsal before we see our first audience! It’s hardest on the new crew. As a cast, we all have this play firmly in hand (though it has been wonderful to be reminded of some details as we work through), but the crew has NO IDEA how this madness fits together into a 100 minute marathon. We will keep slogging it out tomorrow and see where we land.

We end the day abruptly, and on a bad note: three of our actors have come down with severe nausea and… accompanying symptoms. We finish a little early to get them home and to bed. Jet lag, I assume. Or maybe they picked something up on the plane. Nasty, any way you look at it.

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