The Gifts of the Magi is rehearsing on stage now, and we open in just a few days. This is juggling time. The addition of a set that twirls and glides as an extension of the story takes time. In our note session at the end of Saturday, Deanne Bertsch, our choreographer, flew me a paper airplane with requests for more time. Bill Hamm has musical nuances he needs to rehearse Monday. And I have a list of scenes, moments, transitions and more to work that can’t possibly fit into Monday. So, we’ll set out to do the impossible.
A show is a giant orchestration that involves so many details - all of which are important. And that’s what makes this time coming up to opening so exhilarating. Everything we do is exponential. It all adds up to more than the sum of the parts. The movement of a set piece becomes story - a physical manifestation of something going on in the heart of a character in the play. A staging problem must be solved, and it leads to a deeper understanding of the story. It’s like Michael Angelo’s sculpting of stone. He stated that the sculpture was inside, waiting to be released. Well, our stone consists of lights, sound, musical instruments, set pieces, and above all - emotional people in motion. And we’re in the process of pulling the story out of all of those elements.
In the end, it’s about the people who make the technical elements, the people who speak and sing the words, and the people who come to participate by receiving the story - the audience. The theatre is ultimately an orchestration where an audience interacts with performers who are staged in a living story-telling environment. Every audience becomes as much a part of the story as the performers themselves. It’s all wonderfully mystical and communal.
But we’ll have to wait for preview and opening to add them to our orchestration. Right now we have to alter the dance step that happens when the New York brownstone apartment scoots our street carolers up and around the stage during a traffic jam. Bill may have to rearrange the piano part that Sarah plays so that it times out for Soapy the beggar to arrive across the street, avoiding the cars that are whizzing by him, in time to catch the penny one of the carolers tosses him from the middle of the street where he is trapped with a woman he does not know, who has just slapped him after he saved her life from an oncoming cab. That moment could take a while. And we only have 34 hours of rehearsal time left before opening!