|Dennis Pearson, me, David Babich, Troy Metcalf, Annie Abrams, Emyli Gudmundson|
After extending for two weeks, GOING GOING GONE ended its current run yesterday. It was a truly remarkable experience. We were getting SRO crowds almost every performance. And the only reason that we’re closing, if I’m being honest, is that the new Equity mandate goes into effect on December 14th and suddenly even a hit Equity-waiver show makes no sense financially. (That whole situation is a travesty and may kill small theatre in Los Angeles, but that’s for another post.)
Hopefully I can find more homes for the play, and if possible, I will try to use as many people from this current production as I can get. After the final performance we had a little wrap party complete with a cake that misspelled GOING GOING GONE.
Oh yes, we had our little bumps in the road. All live shows do. The night of our first preview the air conditioning went out. Several laughs suffered by people having heat strokes.
The play’s theme is our need to be remembered. At one point I have a discussion on being remembered for something other than your major accomplishment. My example was Arnold Palmer. World-class golfer but will best be remembered for the drink. I had two pages of great Arnold Palmer jokes. On the Sunday night of our tech rehearsal (only days away from opening), Mr. Palmer passed away. I suddenly had to scramble and write a whole new scene. I want to thank George Foreman for staying alive these last few months.
We had one very cool stunt where a foul ball destroyed one of the reporter’s laptop computers. A Rube Goldberg-like contraption was erected so the ball would be released on cue. Happy to say “most” of the time it worked. There were a couple of other minor technical glitches along the way, but hey, live is live.
Basically, everything went swimmingly. Our reviews, for the most part, were raves. There’s one critic who just hates everything I do, but who doesn’t have one of those? At least she’s not a relative.
the rehearsal process with a series of posts on this blog so I won’t go into that again. But the hard work paid off. By the third week the actors really locked into their characters and settled into a nice groove. Most of the time they’re all on stage at once. The audience obviously focuses on whoever is talking, but I recently decided to watch the actors who weren’t talking. They were totally into the moment, reacting to what was being said, following the action of the field, doing their work-related tasks. I was as impressed with that as their performances.
I’m always fascinated by a live audience's reaction. Depending on the night, they could be raucous, somewhat subdued, or a mixture of the two. And lines that get big laughs one night get nothing the next while others that didn’t work the previous night go through the roof night two. On some nights certain straight lines get huge laughs. Don’t know why but I’ll take it.
Friday night audiences tended to be less boisterous. I think that’s because it’s the end of the week and they were tired. Saturday nights were usually the best, and Sunday matinees were a wild card. I had the best and worst audiences during Sunday matinees.
For one audience we had a nine-year-old and an eleven-year-old in the first row. Not sure they got all the jokes. I hope they didn’t get all the jokes. We also had some industry folks come and with luck that could mean some work for the actors. I think a couple have already gotten auditions based on casting people or producers seeing them in this play.
I asked the actors how they felt about the play closing. After months of rehearsal and memorization and really growing into their roles, what is it like when a show is over and you no longer get to play that character? Troy Metcalf said there had been shows he absolutely loathed. He hated everything about them. And yet, when they were over he said he was always “Mildly depressed.” So for shows like ours, he said the next few weeks would really be tough. The other actors agreed. Next weekend, when they don’t have our theatre to go to they said they’d really feel it.
For me, it’s time to go to work to try to find it another home.
I am completely indebted to my amazing cast – Annie Abrams, Troy Metcalf, David Babich, and Dennis Pearson, along with our voice-over cast of Howard Hoffman, Harry S. Murphy, and Darlene Koldenhoven. My director, Andy Barnicle has now done two plays for me and I hope does every one I write in the future. I’ve said it before, I’m a director and I’d rather have him. Producer Racquel Lehrman put together a terrific team, stage manager Emyli Gudmundson somehow kept everything together, and Lucy Pollak sure got the word out. As all these strangers would fill the theatre every night I kept wondering, “How did these people even know about this?” And a special thanks to playwright extraordinaire, Wendy Graf, for being my LA Theatre Scene guru.
I was able to record a performance so I have that along with the memories and poster (which is too large to hang anywhere). On to the next production, wherever that may be. If you have a theater, call me.