Sunday night rehearsal:
Tonight's only four hours, some Equity thing, “Daylight Rest,” I guess. I don't know. I'm new to Equity. Nearly 40, and having made my actor living thus far without joining the guild, I'm a bit behind in terms of how this whole union thing works.
I'd spent the day rehearsing something altogether different. I went out to
But Sunday night is at the Goodman. THE GOODMAN. An involuntary grin or involuntary nausea makes an appearance whenever I think about it. We're running Act II, according to the call. It's shorter in runtime compared to Act I, but more complicated for me in terms of The Professor's prop sets, sleight of hand, changing into a chorus girl, etc.
I had run my beats at home, trying to remember my dance steps to the “Harp Ballet” so I don't break Mara Davi's face with my foot, and I STILL can't get the “Long Island Lowdown” steps: standing up onto the chaise with the uke, getting the “Three Musketeers” number down, etc, etc.
"Don't screw it up, Brennan," I tell myself on my bike ride from the
I walk in ready for action. As always, I get a little nervous entering that rehearsal room. Everyone is at the top of their game. Stage management is impeccable, the musical director Doug Peck is precise and positive, the cast is PRO. Half
The ever calm, clear and organized
Henry is awesome. What a leader. The type of leader I want to follow. His voice only rises in volume when he is excited about what we're doing. And years fall off when he gleefully gives us fun and funny and beautiful things to do onstage. He becomes a kid. He is also thoughtful, intelligent and a good listener. I want to make him happy. I think we all feel that way.
So, Henry speaks. Solemnly. My apologies for not remembering his exact words, but to paraphrase:
"I decided instead of running Act II tonight, we'd drink beers and watch Marx Brothers’ movies."
A cheer rises. Ed Kross bounds forward to hug Henry. I'm still figuring it's a joke until I see the actual beer, the actual TV and DVD player, and am eating the actual organic chocolate truffles Broadway veteran Stanley Mathis has brought for us.
The lights go down, and I sit with Paul and Ora and the rest of this unique and massively talented cast and crew, and we laugh and clap together through Night at the Opera and Day at the Races, inspired by the genius of these long-ago artists.
We are working very hard on Animal Crackers, picking up new skills, playing multiple characters, singing, dancing, prat falling. What a perfect way to spend our evening rehearsal, celebrating together, and learning from the folks we are playing in this refreshed version of a classic film and play.
I am lucky. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
I'm enjoying the work we're doing now, and look forward to September 18, to play with these amazing folks to a packed house.
Hooray, hooray, hooray!
Photos of Molly Brennan and Henry Wishcamper in rehearsal by Eric Y. Exit.