Wednesday, September 03, 2008

living at the Ohio

I've been waking up every day since Saturday and walking over to the Ohio Theater to get The Invitation ready for friends, family and strangers to look at.

First public performance is Friday, come on down.

There's a real joy and serenity in putting together a new piece with a group of dedicated, focused artists. It's a quiet joy, like a long Christmas morning with family or a summer evening when you're outside and you don't have anywhere to go and you don't want to be anywhere else than where you are and the sun takes its time setting.

When you're a few days out and the crew is still finishing the set and someone's up there painting something and someone else is up on a ladder tying something off and they're making each other laugh and the 70s rock and roll is playing from the booth, the director will usually sit out in the house, third or fourth row, notebook in his lap and just stare at the stage.

You see the whole show, you see the actor's moves and you hear the lines and you track the rise and fall of the argument and it all gets very simple.

You scrawl down a note, stare at the stage for awhile longer and then scratch it out and stare some more.

And then you stand up suddenly, walk onstage and move a chair four inches downstage. You stand on the lip of the stage, eyeball the chair, check it against the back wall, walk back to your seat and look at the whole thing and nod.

All of these small, ultimately inconsequential adjustments and decisions you make before the actors show up add up to very little at the end of the day, but doing them mindfully, making those small choices with all the time in the world gives a balance and a strength to the whole project that is almost unnoticeable, but unmistakable in the finished project.

Truth is, if you have a good script and you cast brave actors with strong physical instruments and you're working with a smart, hard-working design team with a few sets of good eyes and you're able to get the actors to talk fast and be mindful of the rhythm of the language, it doesn't matter whether that chair is four inches up or downstage.

But it's a good feeling when you stare at the stage for awhile longer and move the chair back to its original position.

Ann and Rose both got the TMMQ right. Ann because she got the right answer, The Passenger, and Rose because Rose's pick is always right, doesn't matter if it's factually correct.

Oh, and Joe Lieberman is a worthless sack of shit, in case anyone was wondering.

A worthless, phlegmatic, constipated, morally bankrupt, lying sack of shit.

That's you, Senator Lieberman.

God bless and good luck with those memoirs.

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