Monday, October 06, 2014

What I'm up to this week

Here’s the latest installment of the development of my play, A OR B? as it goes from script to full production. We begin previews on Wednesday, October 15th at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. Tickets are still available. Would love for you to see it. But if you’re not nearby I understand. So if you’re 4,000 miles or more away from Burbank you’re excused.

Today’s the day we get to build our sets in the theatre. The previous production ended last night. And since my play is set in contemporary Manhattan and not the old west we can’t use the same sets.

But that meant that until today we were working out of the rehearsal hall. I’ll be very interested to see what the play looks like for real. In a rehearsal hall you have no idea of theatrically, lights, sound, music, effects – y’kow, those little things like mood and magic. Imagine a royal wedding in a harshly lit gym.

By now the actors, Jules Willcox and Jason Dechert, have pretty much memorized the script so I’m driving them nuts by continuing to change things. (Once a TV writer always a TV writer)

But even if you add just a couple of new jokes a day – after a few weeks that’s a lot more laughs. 
The hard part is not coming up with new jokes or fixes to moments that are still fuzzy; it’s dealing with Final Draft. I still don’t know what I’m doing in revision mode. I’m sure any current thirteen-year-old could master this in ten seconds though.

Last Thursday we had our designer runthrough. The sound, lighting, wardrobe, prop, set people all get a chance to see the full play and preview what they’re in for. I told the cast not to be expecting laughs. This audience is watching to see where to place lights and how many olives are needed in the martinis. We did get a surprising number of laughs. I now have deemed those jokes bulletproof.

After the runthrough we held a production meeting. I’ve presided over many of these as a TV director and producer but for this one I was pretty much lost. Technical issues of lights and scrims, etc. I’m glad the director has a vision for all this and the tech people seem to be on his wavelength. I was able to answer the olive question however.

But all that goes into play today. As a writer I never get over the amazement that I dream up something in my head and seventeen guys are scurrying around with hammers and buzz saws making it actually appear.

Today is also the first understudy rehearsal. Our stage manager, Dale will walk Lori Marinacci and Josh Covitt through the blocking. Again, I can’t thank our understudies enough. I just hope what happened to Sutton Foster happens to them. She was the understudy for THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE on Broadway and wound up winning a Tony. (Although, realistically, I think the chances or Lori and Justin winning Tonys for this play are hampered by the fact that we’re in Burbank.)

Long hours and sawdust awaits. I look forward to sharing it all with you next week. Thanks for following the saga, and again, would love for you to see the final results.


Dodgerdog said...

We have tickets for November 1! Can't wait.

blinky said...

Yes but you got your wish for the Royals to win! (Go Giants!)

AlaskaRay said...

Please let me know when it comes to the Kennedy Center in DC and I'll be first in line for my special free pass. Good luck with the show (oops, I mean break a leg).

jbryant said...

Very cool. Hey, have you thought about pitching a series version of A or B? to NBC as a companion show to A to Z? Sounds like a natural. :)

George said...

I have a Monday question for your "Foundations of Comedy" class. A few days ago you mentioned the problems with "Selfie". As it stands now, I don't see the show as being fixable. So my question is: How would they structure a sitcom based on Pygmalion set in the modern time? It might make for an interesting discussion.

Johnny Walker said...

Sounds very exciting! I'm jealous that you're spending your days working a project like this. Sounds like lots of fun. I hope you're enjoying every minute (in between worrying that the audience will like it, natch).

Congrats and good luck for opening night! Wish I could come and see it.