Four days into blocking and we ran the first hour of the show. I warned the designers who’d turned up to watch that it would be more of a stumble-through than a run, and really didn’t expect too much. The morning was spent with Ed finding a shape for “Run With the Tide”, his first solo. This was one of the first songs Matt and I ever wrote, and one of the few that’s music first, then lyrics. As a result, it feels very obvious and “I want” now, and the challenge is to make it feel like it’s constantly moving forward. It’s quite an exhilarating song, and Ed sings it beautifully, so we focused on what every single section was specifically about. Usually the family stay frozen for the intro, then exit – but this time we kept them onstage throughout the song as Luke works out his arguments with them. Matt had the idea that we start to build the idea of Sydney around Luke, rather than after he leaves. By the end the song felt very propelled and exciting.
Next was the breakup song – Adam and Ed did this so beautifully that hardly any work was needed on it – a real musical highlight and they lock into emotion easily. Straight after that was “Luke’s Epiphany” – a song that has a great melody, but again is very much my 21 year old lyrical self (music first, again). Through the same sort of examination we’d done that morning, and bringing the family on earlier, we focused it.
Last before lunch was one-on-one work with Ed on “When I Was a Kid” – one of the standout songs of the show, and probably the most often sung (beside “Brand New Eyes”). We talked it through as a monologue, helpful for such a conversational song, then Ed had at it. Beautiful again.
Post lunch we did the coming-out phone call that we’d missed a few days earlier. The rewrites that built the relationship between Harry and Luke were really helpful and I kept the song simple. Jo’s design, which enables the Flannery kitchen and warehouse to almost overlap helps this song immeasurably.
Then the run. After a rocky first scene, with many a line-slip we picked up pace into the Sydney scenes, and the show really started firing from Zach moving into the warehouse. From that point on it felt beautifully paced and discovered by the actors. The designers were amazed that we’d gotten so far in such a short time. We held a brief production meeting where we solved a major issue with the video art projection, then Jo took the actors aside to talk costumes.
Then Luke came home. The need to meticulously work every sentence in this scene meant that 45 minutes wasn’t really enough, so we shall return…