The 12-hour rehearsal

Late in the rehearsal schedule for “Bruce, The Musical”, we had a particularly long day of rehearsal – it started at 10 am, and was scheduled to continue until 10 at night. Although some of my fellow castmembers said this was not unheard of, it was longer than I’d experienced, so I thought I would keep a “mini-diary” and take pictures, to show just what a ten-hour rehearsal day is like. Now, weeks later, I’ve finally had a chance to put down, in words and images, just what that experience was like.  10 am: Arrive right on time at the Russian Hall. Dave, Mikal, Anna and Steve are milling about, but the door is still locked. So much for promptness! 10:05 am: Jay, our director, arrives along with Jason in his white pickup truck. The Russian Hall caretaker lets us in. Inside the hall, we get a first look at a bunch of the authentic bar furniture that will grace our set – including the bar itself. It’s certainly authentic-looking… and heavy. The Bar Arrives On stage, the “drop” – the painted backdrop that was being painted on the floor of the Main Street studio – has arrived and is in place. The 10:15 am: Jay talks to the assembled throng, and the “drop” is revealed to have a special feature: it’s on a roll! One side is visible during the first act, and during the break it’s “scrolled” around, revealing the other side. 10:30 am: The cast gathers in a circle for an “Italian run” of the entire show. An Italian run is where we run through the script as fast as we can, disregarding most any acting or inflection in place of sheer speed. It’s a good way to drill the dialogue and lyrics deeper into our brains. And there’s inevitably some good laughs to be had in the incongruously flat way we go through some of those lines and songs. Italian Run   Bruce, the Musical There’s even a little boot-rivalry between Anna and Danielle…! (I chose to remain scrupulously neutral.) Bruce, the Musical 11:55 am: End of the Italian run – it took an hour and 25 minutes. (Later, the actual show will run 2 hours and 15 minutes, not counting the intermission.) A little break. 12:15 pm: Back into the circle for notes from Jay. I’m concerned about some unresolved issues around bringing of and taking off of props, so while Jay talks, I make this handy diagram: [DIAGRAM PHOTO HERE] Jay's comments 1:20 pm: About an hour’s worth of notes and discussion, and now it’s lunch time – hooray! I join Steve, Mikal, Anna, Rebecca, Danielle and Dave for a ride to Sitar, a great Indian restaurant in Gastown. We arrive mere moments before a sudden downpour drenches the sidewalk outside… and tuck into a tasty Butter Chicken meal! Bruce, the Musical Steve reveals yet another arcane skill: naughty napkin origami! Or is it just a microphone…? Bruce, the MusicalBruce, the Musical 2:35 pm: Back to the Hall, I join Dave Campbell and zi paris and go over the revised new version of “The Mighty Roach” with musical director Bill Sample. He’s changed it so that, instead of almost all of it being sung in unison, each of us gets a verse to ourselves as a solo. It seems much better this way! Of course, this also means that much of the choreography we’ve worked out for “Roach” is now irrelevant. Anna to the rescue with some new moves! Bruce, the Musical Bruce, the Musical     Bruce, the Musical 3:30 pm: Our first-ever look at the roach costumes. Wow! More elaborate than I’d dare to imagine! Long cloak-style “wings” and hats outfitted with additional insect-y flaps and big bug-eyes. Very cool! Dave, our publicity man, took some photos of us. 3:45 pm: On stage, we start running Act II. I was pretty exhausted – and actually quite thirsty! – at this point… but there wasn’t time for a breather or a drink as I was suddenly called on stage to run through the big Harry Rankin dance number, “Action”. I gathered up what energy I had and had at it. We ended up doing this highly energetic, athletic, jumping-around number a total of three times. It was 5:35, I was well worn out… and glad to have a break. 5:45 pm: Back to running through the show – from the top of Act II right to the end. That meant of course another round of “Action”… which is getting better and better (as is the rest of the show) as we work out the fine details. 6:30 pm: Dinner! No need to scrounge for sustenance, as a stack of piping hot pizzas appeared as if by magic right there in our auditorium. They disappeared fast! Dinner time Jay’s wife arrived along with Bella, the friendly dog and unofficial show mascot. As the outside light faded and shadows grew deeper, a quieter, more low-key atmosphere settled in on the Russian Hall. Zi pulled out his guitar and expertly plucked out some beautiful melodies that echoed gently around the room. Bruce, the Musical   Bella inspired some of us to follow her lead… Bruce, the Musical Bruce, the Musical 7:00 pm: A bunch of castmembers clustered around for a chatting and joking session. With Steve Maddock joining in, and young Maddy and Sylvan safely out of earshot, it was a virtual guarantee that the humour would not be for the faint of heart – or the prudish. Luckily that doesn’t seem to describe anyone involved in this production! I have to say, it was pretty riveting… and hilarious! Cast gab session  Others took the opportunity to catch a bit of well-earned rest… Bruce, the Musical 7:30 – 10 pm: Back on stage for more running of random scenes, including the Roach song – which is looking really good considering how last-minute some of the choreography is!  We certainly are all working together to create something special – pitching in with whatever needs doing. Zi is seen here helping to sweep the stage… Bruce, the Musical Finally, 10pm rolled around, and this long but productive day finally came to an end. We really do have a show – and in a matter of days, we’ll be presenting it to a real, live audience. I can hardly wait!

4 thoughts on “The 12-hour rehearsal

  1. I love that you’ve documented your long day of rehearsal – especially with the photos! Thanks for giving me a chance to live a day in the life of Bruce The Musical. I do have one query… wouldn’t it be a “12 hour” rehearsal if it was from 10am – 10pm? :P

  2. hey, thanks for sharing that! what fun! exhausting but fun, I’ll bet ;)
    nice idea to journal it out so you can ‘relive’ it yrs later…”when I was a young unn…”

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