Our HUGE and CRAZY Project: Blog installment #4
What? Two post in three days? Surely not! Read on to find out the thrilling conclusion that began in the now classic "Our HUGE and CRAZY PROJECT Blog Installment #1" and continued in the equally iconoclastic " Blog Installments #2 and #3"...
So there we were over 100 pages deep in transcribed interviews. At this point we were already getting that "Shouldn't we be done by now?" sort of feeling and we still had to somehow shape these sprawling 100 plus pages into a managable, performable script. We had no idea how to go about it. We sat down with our director and after reading the interviews and tried to figure out how to crack this ethnographic nut (mmmm....ethnographic nuts...). And after many hours of brainstorming and talking things through we finally mapped out the throughline of the script and ended up with about 100 different note cards with different pieces and parts of the interviews and other texts we spliced in, written in different colored ink which we arranged, rearranged and then arranged again. It was at this point that it really hit me how how much this process is like making a collage. A little bit of this, a snippet of that all arranged and hodgepodged into place.
So then, our note cards numbered and in a coherant order we then made a massive 77 page script based on that map as a guide. It was a doozy as far as length and probably would have taken about 5 hours to perform...But then we began the editing.... and whoo boy this was crazy. It felt like I was back in school and had a huge paper or something to finish. And we had to work fast because we were hoping to get into rehearsal as soon as possible. In the end it took a week and a half of solid everyday work. There were some days where I literally worked from morning into the wee hours of the night. Like 14 hour days in front of the computer, cutting, copying, pasting rearranging shifting for hours and hours. For days my body had that nervous "Why are you doing this to me Ryan?!" sort of feeling. During this editing whole process Jacqui was amazing, picking up shifts for me in the box office, encouraging me when I was going crazy, she was great...(The reason I was doing most of this editing was because we decided that it would be easier for just one person to be in charge of this initially editing process because one person would have a better handle on keeping a consistent throughline.) And then finally 77 pages were whittled to 46 and then down to a manageable 25 pages. Whew! Also by this point we had figured out a title for the play: A Rattling Sound: Stories of Thorns and Helicopters. The title comes from a section of Ezekial 37, the story of the valley of dry bones, which we spliced thoughout the script.
And then...rehearsals finally began! This is where things got really fun. After all those hours with just words, words, words it felt like a treat to actually put the thing together on stage: blocking, character work, warm ups, creating different moments all the normal rehearsal stuff. It was cool. And to get to do it together was pretty amazing too. During all of this too we're working on all of the publicity, media releases, e-cards, posters, postcards...the whole shebang. (Here's the link to our online media release and poster if any of you want to read it)
So then finally towards the end of rehearsal all the technical elements came into the mix. It was so weird/cool, it really made it feel like "real" show if that makes any sense. Just to have a lighting designer, sound designer, and stage manager all enter into the picture with their different gifts and ways of looking at the play was great and it really took a huge weight off Jacqui and my shoulders. With our the last show we put up in the fall we had done everything as far as the tech and it was exhausting so it was such a relief to not have to worry about that for A Rattling Sound, not to mention the fact that their designs were also amazing.
So there we were...after months and months of work we had a show...and then last Thurday night...WE OPENED!
That's right two nights ago was finally the big night!
And everything went really well. After our final bows we went off stage and we were busy hugging and sort of dancing around ...when we realized that they were still clapping! So we actually went back out for a second bow, we couldn't believe it. The audience wasn't huge but the people who were there were great and gave us some really encouraging feedback. And we sunk into our beds that night with a tired but contented feeling, just thankful that we got to do this and that God gave us so many gifts along the way: getting to meet so many new people, hearing some really amazing stories, getting to work together and tons of other things that I'm sure we'll still be realizing for awhile...But that'll come later, for now we'll just concentrate on the rest of the shows we get to do. So wish us luck and pray for us if you remember!
(Cue triumphant music! Cue the release of many doves!)
(Cue Jon Stewart)
So...uh, thanks for faithfully tuning in to this little ahh...theatrical saga...ahh...feel free to fire any questions at our intrepid ethnographers that you have buring inside you: How are Jacqui and Ryan feeling about tonight's show? Will there be a video of this thing? What are the costumes like? What is their favorite pre-show snack? Is the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon show as good as the early 90's original? Ask away and if they come to mind keep this couple in your thoughts and prayers...Oh yeah and don't forget [insert witty George Bush joke here]!
(Cue winnning, sardonic smile...and then...lights out)