Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ah, Blocking.

After a long blocking rehearsal yesterday, Angie and I came home and behaved quite shamelessly infantile by eating hotdogs and tater tots and watching cartoons. 

Now, make no mistake, when I say 'cartoons' I don't mean The Jetsons or Josie and the Pussycats.  Oh, no.  We had netflixed a few films that we'd never seen, only heard about.  The first was an absolutely wonderful little movie called 'Up.'

The film is unapologetically manipulative.  And that's not a knock.  I like films that are unapologetically manipulative.  Serious film people apparently don't.  I think that's a Scorcese-influenced line of thought, however.  I don't see anything in the world wrong with manipulating an audience. 

'Up' is a small film, animated, of course, about an old man who has lost his wife, his passion for life, his reason for living in the complicated world of today and so decides to take a trip to South America in memory of his daredevil, late spouse.  He ties thousands of balloons to his house and just floats there on the winds.  He accidentally takes a young boy scout with him.  Zaniness ensues.  And that's about all I can say about it without spoiling the whole thing.  Except to say I cried three times during the movie.  That's a lot for me.  And I laughed out loud a lot, too.  It's a quirky little movie and I recommend it highly.

Back in rehearsal today.  Not a lot to say about these rehearsals.  We're blocking.  And blocking is blocking.  Not terribly exciting.  Certainly necessary.  But it is what it is.  Everybody does it differently.  Ron tends to veer toward the 'trial and error' approach.  When I direct, I like to speed through the blocking and then start fixing, molding and shaping.  Others I know have an 'organic' approach.  That is to say, let the actors do what 'feels' right.  That can be a bit risky because sometimes you have actors that don't like to work that way.

I have, on occasion, worked with a group of top-flight actors who, quite literally, block themselves.  And if one is blessed with the right actors, often times they come up with blocking that's better than what was initially planned anyway.  Usually takes some real veterans to make that work, however.

Back to the drawing board today.  Blocking and discussing.  I was a little amused yesterday because Kelly (playing my wife in the play) was offering lots of input (all quite sensible, I might add) and at one point looked at me and said something like, "Do you have an opiniion on any of this?"  I had remained silent up to this point.  The truth is, I did have an opinion, but what I didn't have was an insight into Ron's overall concept yet.  So to add my two cents would be entirely based on what I wanted to do.  So it's all moot at this point.  It doesn't matter what I want.

So more of the same today.  It's all part of the process.

Angie is sitting in temporarily as AD (assistant director) until someone can be hired for that job.  The former AD had to step out of the project because of conflicts.  I think she's having fun doing it.  She's been out of the theater biz for a long time (she's been a casting director for film and TV for many years now) so I think she's kind of amused to be doing it again.  When she first moved out to Southern California a couple of decades ago, her first professional job was with The Old Globe Theater in San Diego.  I don't think she's really dabbled in theater work since then.


See you tomorrow.