The Script Evolves

posted by Director Traci Brant

Last Thursday, Jim was in the house to watch rehearsal.  Even though we've worked with Jim and he is a close friend, I'm not gonna lie, it's still a bit nerve-wracking.  We made a bit of progress during the rehearsal, but the real work came after the actors were gone.  About 10pm, we sat down with Jim and went through the script page by page for re-writes and to talk through any problems.  It sounds like an arduous process, but actually we had a fantastic time.  Jim is so open to input, yet very sure and passionate about his story.  A lot of the changes were focused on tightening up scenes.  What can the characters say with fewer words?  What is unnessary to the story?  What dialogue is just not working?

We took a hard look at the story telling making sure to clarify key plot points.  It's amazing what a difference a few short line adjustments can make.  Jim was interested to find out what's working and what's not working as well in rehearsal.  We looked to him to explain some intent and to verify that we were on the right track with regard to tone and the emotional journey of the characters.  At nearly 1:30 am, after quite a few laughing fits, we called it a night.  

Over the weekend, each of the actors met with us to go over their script changes.  For the most part they were very accepting and even encouraged by the adjustments.  Everyone was prepared for this difficult process when they accepted their roles. They are already deep into the task of line memorization and now they must adjust to the script changes.  Really tough, but totally worth it.  Some of the changes actually came about based on their feedback.  They let us know when the phrasing feels out of character and now they have the opportunity to see their input make a difference in this new play.  Jim is enjoying a long-overdue break in Las Vegas now, but he's still very much a part of the process. We chatted with him several times today bringing feedback from the actors on the new changes. He will join us again on May 13 when we do our first rough run-through of the show.

In addition to script work, we finished 95% of the set, made lighting notes in preparation for a meeting on Monday, had a chat with our Sound-Man, obtained a 20 inch turtle shell, and completed a costume plot. Whew! Long weekend ... lots of work, and lots of fun!