Friday, October 20, 2006


Andrew's day

Today was a busy day, and pretty representative, so I thought I'd lay it out:

Got to the rehearsal room at 10AM, put in the changes to the new number we're working on for Mother ("What Could Be The Harm?"), so that it could be copied and distributed to the actors for a read-through at 11. Then I put in the rewrites to the reprise that I discovered I had never written at the initial read-through, so that could be taught in the afternoon.

We got a few actors together to read through the new Mother scene a couple times, and we agreed we'd talk about it over lunch. After that, we realized we had a problem with "Money Talks".

"Money Talks" is a number for Colonel and Beany that Eddie and I wrote last January at our writers' retreat at TheatreWorks Palo Alto. It's a fun uptempo number that has gone through a couple versions, and that's where the problem comes in. The original version of the song was written in 3/4, which we discovered the first time we heard it in CA was not funny. So I reset the entire number in 4, with the exception of a slow 3/4 strut section near the end. This was the version we used at Carousel and at the Hartt School. In August, however, the consensus among all the other creative staff (except Karma, who wasn't at the meeting) was that even that much 3/4 was too odd, too off-center, and the number wasn't landing. So I gave in and spent several days coming up with a rock 'em sock 'em straight-ahead ending that was VERY show-biz-y. This was the version our actors here have learned.

Just before staging the number today, however, we realized that Karma had never heard the new ending, and was about to stage the number based on the old version. I played everyone the new, 4/4 ending, and.... everyone wanted the old version back. The show biz ending was too much pizazz, and they missed the "edge" and "quirkiness" of the original. Of course, now I had no idea what I thought, because I had given up my attachment to the original and moved on, and now I was hearing all my arguments for the original given back to me. So, after an hour of beating my head against the wall, I had written a version that incorporates both the 3/4 strut and a squarer tag, hopefully having my cake and eating it. People seem to like it... for now...

At the lunch meeting, we discussed the new Mother scene we'd read through, and agreed that although it's very sweet and theatrical, it pulls the story away from Ann for too long. Eddie and I agreed to find a way to keep Ann in the mix and shorten the whole thing.

Afternoon was spent with a run-through of everything that's been staged, then I switched hats and did a revisit to the end of the show, adding back some lines from a previous version, writing some new lines, all based solely on the table read, but which I think are smoother.

These rehearsal days, by the way, go by very quickly. I feel like I've just gotten started and it's lunch, then an hour later it's dark and we're going over the schedule for the next day.

See you tomorrow!

Cool, and fascinating... but what the hell is a "squarer tag"?
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