Next to Normal – MTC – Day 13

Don’t bother combing back over the entries for days 1-12.  They were during the Gastro Crisis of 2011 where the only thing I could do after rehearsals was talk my stomach out of returning it’s contents the wrong way.  But I learned that work, rather than being a task that cruelly dragged me from my sickbed, can actually be a great distractor from playing Camille.

But I’m back.  I went to the gym this morning, I’m cooking again and, best of all, the thought (and act) of drinking doesn’t make me go “meh”.  Or go worse places.  Today began with a run of Act 1, to consolidate and show our set and lighting designers (Richard and Matt) how the show was working in order for them to complete or begin their jobs.  The run was clean, lots of good work, but it’s very early on, and won’t really take on it’s proper shape till we’ve had a chance to work through all of the scenes in detail again once Act 2 is blocked.  Plus, we have safety boards up on the second level until the actors get used to the second level.  Safety is good.  I’m glad for it’s existence.  The boards, however, cross right through the centre of the upper level.  So anytime an actors plays a scene at centre, which tends to be a common place in theatre, they have a safety board IN FRONT OF THEIR FACE.  This is why I tend to take myself up to the second level rather than assess it through the board.

After the run we began “Wish I Were Here”, the opening of Act Two.  This song is really tricky in a number of ways, beginning with the fact that it’s often in 7/8, one of the hardest time signatures for actors to feel, that it contrasts Natalie’s clubbing and drugging with the most unique element of this piece, Diana’s ECT treatment, and how to dramatise/choreograph that and that there is often 6 different harmony lines going.  Andy was in to work this and he did some brilliant work with finding a movement language that wasn’t manic or too “hippy-love-in” for Natalie and Diana to use.  We have a hospital gurney for the scene, with Matt and Gareth doubling as medical staff and we explored the possibilities of that within the space, with a couple of great images.

Over lunch we sat down in pairs to film the MTC promotional interviews.  I did my least favourite thing on any show, giving a synopsis.  Even though I’ve been doing this since 1999, I still hate trying to bring a piece down to a few clear sentences, though you learn a lot about where you are in the process every time you try to.  Anna, our accent coach, came by to do some work with the cast while we continued on with completing the number.  It took longer than I’d anticipated and scheduled, though really as long as it needed to, if I’d considered that it involved the entire cast, mini-scenes, two levels, ECT, drugs and a gurney.

Published by bryantandfrank

Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank make musicals. And other things. www.bryantandfrank.com www.mybrilliantcareermusical.com www.deanjamesbryant.com

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