Today was my birthday. And as Simon pointed out over the God mic at the end of rehearsal “there has been more effort put into celebrating Dean Bryant’s fucking birthday than getting this show on!” Which was lovely. And semi-true. It was a bit overwhelming. The tech started with the Divas flying in to do “Raining Men”. Same old, same old. But as they hit their mid-point, the music changed. I was like, oh God, we’re behind and Jeff is vamping – great start to tech. But no, they began the time-old strains of “Happy Birthday”. Having three of the hottest voices serenade you from the stage of the Palace is about as good a gift as you could ever ask for. But there were tons more. These guys really know how to celebrate (the official party on Saturday night proved that without doubt – hi, sunrise!)
The day started for me with rehearsing the Benjis. Ashton joined us today, he’s 7 and a half. Luke is 9, so I asked him to mentor Ashton – you know, show him the blocking, teach him the accent – do my job, basically. The two of them together have so much energy they could power the bus. I’ve never been off on so many tangents while trying to discuss a very basic scene. But they’re both incredibly quick – Luke still had the accent and blocking down pat from Toronto, and Ashton had learned the whole script over the weekend. And can mimic an Aussie accent to perfection. We had an amusing moment, where I felt every one of my 34 years.
Dean: Ashton, can you add a word here? “Elvis? Will you do Elvis PRESLEY for me?”
Ashton: Ok. “Elvis? Will you do Elvis PRECISELY for me?”
Dean: No, it’s Presley. It’s his surname.
Ashton: Whose surname?
Ashton: Who’s Elvis?
We then worked the show meticulously, since we’d broken the back of it last week. “Raining Men” is being refined beat-by-beat for storytelling, as well as lighting. Simon redid some of the Black Stump blocking, to suit the new rewrites that we’re road-testing. It was much slower than we’d been so far, but now is the time for it. We should pretty much work through at this pace till Wed eve. Then the band gets added to the mix.
Oh, and Ashton got teched into his first scene. On his first day of rehearsal. That’s fast!