Next to Normal – MTC – Day 14

I kind of missed the dancing today.  We’re into the section of the show that moves between the Goodman kitchen, where the results of Diana’s ECT become known to the family and her dealings with her psychotherapist about that.  They’re scenes that could be played sitting down, but of course, as truthful as that might be, it’s not exactly visceral in the Playhouse, or particularly interesting in dramatising the situation.

We started the day with a little dancing, to be honest.  Andy was cleaning the “Pyschopharmacologist” choreography with Bert and Kate (wearing her camel-coloured mid-thigh skirt) while I worked “Hey #1” in the Green Room with Christy and Ben.  We moved onto “Song of Forgetting” after that, making sure we clearly distinguished the world of that versus “Better than Before”.  What we learned is that the first song is all about coming to terms with what Diana has lost, where the second is about finding a way forwards.  Forward.  This leads me to a conundrum.  Why do Australians say “anyway” when they want to change the subject, but Americans say “anyways”?  I would appreciate a response on this.

Wandered down to the Malthouse at lunch to savour the sun bestowed upon Melbourne today.  We’d seen the first preview of their new show, Baal, on the weekend.  A remarkable production, visually stunning and with a lot of controversial material.  Nudity for days, with uncountable sex scenes.  Only made stranger by the presence of a 2 year old boy in the front row, bouncing on his mother’s knee.  At one point the lead was having sex with a random female, completely nude and the child said “Mummy, what are they doing?”  Best laugh of the night.  Though excruciating.

After lunch we moved through “Better than Before”.  As ever, we got caught up in the world of props.  We’d been provided a box of memorabilia for the Goodmans from MTC stock, standing in for family pics from the last 20 years of their life.  This was difficult to deal with because props are always impossible – what is easy-peasy natural in real life is always stagey and awkward on the floor.  Also difficult in maintaining focus was the actual photographs.  The song is basically “look at this photo of our daughter as a baby/oh remember our house?!” but the pictures were all from some weird Olde Hollywood stockpile, with the exception of one that was of a Hitler rally.

But we forged onwards and got through the next scene where Gabe makes his presence felt again and Diana returns to Dr Madden to express her frustration with her recovery.  Every rehearsal Matt and I thank the stars for Kate’s presence in the show.  She is calm, inspired, and gifted with the ability to make anything work.  She possesses all the qualities that Diana requires with the wry humour of a woman used to being entirely at home wherever she is.

Published by bryantandfrank

Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank make musicals. And other things.

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