20 November 2008

The Rest is (Yes, Still) Silence


{This entry is a continuation of 11/18/08 & 11/19/08...}

Well: Maybe not every single moment. Though I am having more waking ones than sleeping, at the moment. Yesterday was a lo-o-ong day (that's a three-syllable "long," right there) and I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night. In addition, some of that time had to be devoted to the closing reading of Burning Leaves (Hi Tom), a play that, in my opinion, certainly deserves what devotion it gets (Hi Tom). I'm afraid my reading may have suffered a bit from my multi-tasking and the lateness of the hour. But more on that in a later entry (Bye Tom). For this sleep-deprived moment, it is all Whoopsie Daisy, all the time.

Yesterday was not full of time in which to play out my ideas. I could come-to-think-of-it have retreated to the back hall of my daily workplace for some tumbling and hat tricks but, then again, perhaps it's best I didn't. The copier's back there, and my discovery mid-handstand would have been inevitable. ("O hai.") So my rehearsal was limited to my imagination. This turned out to be a good thing. I'm always craving organization, and it isn't a compulsion that always benefits my creative pursuits, but it just so happened that at this stage of the game that was exactly what was needed. So after venting on yesterday's entry, I brought up the dreaded blank MSWord(TM) page and set about getting down the ideas from the prior days' rehearsal and them what have introduced themselves since.

It was, in its way, tremendously comforting. Too comforting? Perhaps. It is always easier to theorize a performance than to confidently prepare it for presentation. Still, I had the prior night's practice fresh in my body, and managed to keep my perspective about what I can and can not do. I even have tentative music to use. As soon as I got home Tuesday night I sat at my computer and sought out instrumental music that would support what I had thus far in my imagination. With these things in mind, I started to outline, chronologically, step-by-step, a scenario for my performance. It was a bit like working on my clown screenplay, in the best ways, and I was reminded of Buster Keaton's assertion that a good movie ought to be able to be expressed in a few sentences, to fit on a postcard. Simplicity's hard for me when I'm gathering ideas, but easier when it comes to writing it all down. One thing leads to the next, to the next, and to the next. Particularly in physical comedy.

By the end of my "work day" (HA!), I had a complete outline, subject of course to revision, and raced up to the venue to try and catch the final half-hour or so of Melissa's rehearsal. Even getting quite lucky with transfers, I just made it for thirty minutes' worth of time. I walked into the warmth in time to see about the final five minutes of Patrick running his contribution, and it set me at ease anew -- the space is so familiar, and here was my rehearsal partner from the night before filling it very naturally. We can do this. I came to realize, in fact, that a sense of community had already permeated the space; it just took me awhile to catch on to it. Suddenly I realized I was not, in fact, flying solo. We were all in this together. I can already tell that is going to make a world of difference from my experience with EAT's Laugh Out Loud last Spring.

My brief time in the space was spent enlisting the aid of one of Melissa's dancers (I have discovered I need another character), getting a new lay of the land and sketching through my show for Melissa's benefit. Patrick and Zoe Bowick were also around for that and, though I was really just outlining most of the sequence, some positive responses from them helped my self-esteem tremendously. Melissa, of course, is just the most supportive colleague ever. It's her way, and I think it explains why she works so durn much. What I didn't get done in the space was: a run, technical details or even really a reading on just how possible the piece I imagine will be. Here's a short list of things I must do tonight to be ready for tomorrow:


  • Buy, then rig to behave the way I need it to, an artificial daisy.
  • Collect string lights.
  • Finalize costume.
  • Rig props.
  • Finalize, download and burn a disc of all sound and music cues.
  • Practice all tricks and acro as much as possible (already using elevator rides for hat-trick practice).
  • Run entire sequence several times.
  • Stretch.
  • Stretch.
  • Stretch (some more).

All of this from (or in-and-around) the comfort of my apartment, 'cause I'm not shelling out for another rehearsal space the day before tech and, frankly, I need the comforts of home at this point. I sacrifice space needs for psychic ones. Fortunately for me, I have no other commitments tonight, and the place to myself for a few hours. Lots is still only going to be done in the space, during tech (the day of the performance), for me. Which is all to say: No longer eyeing oncoming traffic as a method of escape from this assignment; still experiencing pangs of sheer terror.

Keeps me sharp!

2 comments:

Greg said...

"oncoming traffic as a method of escape"

Oh, I'm so glad to hear you are past considering THAT!

Jeff Wills said...

It's a vital stage of the creative process. Comes right after "reveling in own unappreciated genius," before, "well, this will have to do."