I head out to North Carolina Tuesday to start rehearsal for Midsummer with the Summer Youth Conservatory. Am coming out a week early to hunker down with Joe and get many hours of planning in on NicNic. Cast list just went up, and I’m chomping at the bit. I believe the final cast that went up was “Casting Version 10.” The breakdown costumes sent back was color coded much like the homeland security codes at the airport. Orange alert – character has one line for this change change. (Yup – should be fun!) Red alert – this actor plays two characters in this scene. (Oops, time to recast the Dotheboys Hall boys.) As with traveling these days, there just doesn’t seem like any chance of seeing blue or green on the board. Fantastic cast and brilliant designers – I can’t wait. Anne Bogart once said in a class in grad school that the director’s job is to strew rocks in the path of the artists around you. Overcoming obstacles is the road to great work. I guess that means in one sense this job is easy. 6+ hours of play, 25 actors playing 150+ characters – we won’t be able to throw a rock without hitting a … rock.
The most exciting part of this whole thing is the opportunity to work with the entire company. This will be my sixth show on the Paul Green stage, but this one is special. The large-scale shows I have done have been the most important and life altering. I grew up in Minneapolis a block away from the Guthrie Theatre, and had worked there on and off for four years when we put Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V on together in rep. It was an incredible exercise in company building, and I left those productions with lifelong friendships. It is where I met Joe! The chance here to work with pretty much everyone in the Center For Dramatic Art – guys like David Adamson whose office I’ve walked by a hundred times but never really met – excellent.
Need to be exceptionally productive in this pre-production phase. Among the tricky issues: which scenes can rehearse simultaneously? How exactly does the set work? Co-directing – GO. We will keep as much open as possible, but if Joe is staging Ralph’s office in Part One, and I’m staging a scene in his office in Part Two, we’d better know where the door is before we begin…
Busy several months ahead. In two months I get married, (hi Wallis!) in four months we’ll be in rehearsal, and in six months I’ll be back in Los Angeles and Nicholas will be running in Chapel Hill. Here we go!