Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rehearsal #9: Final Dress

Ok, it wasn’t technically a dress rehearsal, as we didn’t dress, and we didn’t do a whole show, we did two mini shows, but it was the last rehearsal before opening, so we’ll call it final dress.

It went… let’s just say that’s why you have a final dress. I was in the second of the two mini shows we did. Somehow, I forgot how to improvise. I went out to start the second scene with the intention of being a doctor performing surgery. Two chairs were left onstage from the previous scene (LESSON #1: if you bring charis out for your scene, bring them back at the end) which I set up into an operating table position and started miming a scalpel. But then realized I was alone on stage and therefore couldn’t be doing surgery. (I should have pulled someone out with me and whispered to them “performing surgery”.)

Then I thought, ok I’m doing an autopsy on the guy who died in the first scene (atypically for this show, someone died in the first scene; ideally no one should die in this show), but somehow that didn’t work in my mind because Dave A, who died in the first scene, wasn’t lying in front of me. So then I just randomly called over my shoulder for Carol to come in, not having a clear hit as to who Carol was.

Molly came in as Carol. Did I mention Molly and I had played two patients at a small-town doctor’s office in the first scene and that her character had no name in the first scene? Well, she came on as that character. OK, great. We’re those characters. One mystery solved. But what the hell was I doing miming a scalpel?

So I made the blindest of blindest offers, keeping in mind that Molly couldn’t really see what I was doing from back stage. I said “Carol, could you …” and motioned towards what I was doing. She said “ok,” and took the mysterious space-object scalpel like object out of my hand and began cutting in about the same spot I was, and asked “in strips and cubes?”. A-ha! We’re in the steakhouse. (As we left the first scene, I had said “let’s go get a steak” referencing the steakhouse mentioned by David Norfleet when he told us about is town. We were doing Marshfield, WI, where he grew up.) Eating at some sort of counter type thing... and for some reason Carol was in the next room.

Did I mention my name was Stan in the first scene? Well it was. Bryce comes in as a doctor. A doctor in the steakhouse? Ok. Keep in mind we haven’t actually mentioned the word steak or named where the hell we are. Bryce comes in as a Doctor saying “Don’t worry, Stan’s going to be just fine.” He is, of course, attempting to name the dead guy from the first scene Stan and bring him back to life. But I’m already Stan. So Molly and I react like, of course I’m going to be fine.

Then Bryce makes the offer that Dr. Marcie (Tara) from the first scene isn’t really a doctor yet, she’s just a student. Well, he wasn’t really making that offer, he was reiterating what he thought was an offer Tara had made in her song from the previous scene where she sang that she still felt like a student. (IMPORTANT LESSON: not only should one never make plot offers in songs, one should never infer plot offers from songs.)

Then Tara arrives and precipitates a classic improv moment. Realizing that we have yet to name exactly where the hell we are and that, clearly, Bryce is in a different place from Molly and I, she ties everything together by making the offer that we’re in a slaughter house and that Molly and I pay our doctor bills by giving her meat. A-ha! That’s what the hell is going on. Finally.

We all almost broke.

Ah, yes. Improv. There’s nothing quite like those moments of discovery on stage. And, it’s those kind of train wrecks that are the reason we rehearse so much. Better to do those in rehearsal then Friday in front of an audience. WE OPEN FIRDAY! My play dates are posted in the sidebar on this page under my picture if you want to see me perform.

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