A variety of extraneous complications today. I somehow injured my foot (on my morning run? it’s possible, maybe even likely, although it didn’t start hurting for five or six hours after I’d finished), and it’s been exceedingly painful today. I’ve been limping around like Walter Brennan in The Real McCoys…maybe it was Jim Naughton’s Brennan imitation yesterday that brought this on.
Also, after having gone to the trouble of arranging for my mail forwarded to this cottage from Berkeley for the duration of my visit, I learned this evening that mail is not delivered to this cottage. So I have to wonder what’s become of it. And how I get my hands on it. There aren’t only solicitations from every Democratic candidate in the entire country, plus personal pleas from President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Minority Leader Pelosi. There are also bills, and very occasionally residual checks.
The glamorous world of theater. Sore feet and lost mail.
But the rehearsals continue to be absorbing. The piece is very challenging for an actor. Aside from the simple question of memorization — in terms of sheer length, the memory required of the sole person onstage is genuinely prodigious — it also makes emotional and technical demands. Because Gabe, the protagonist, is bedeviled by events and feelings he doesn’t want to confront, much of what he says takes the tack of approaching a difficult subject and then skittering away to something else. There’s subtext that can explain these zigs and zags, but they aren’t always obvious. Jim, an actor whose technique is matched by his intelligence, wants to be able to command the missing logic. He’s supplied most of it on his own, but today we deconstructed some of the more random-appearing divagations. It was a stimulating exercise, forcing me to try to recall what I was thinking when I first started writing the play. Since I’d proceeded as much by instinct as strategy, it was an eye-opening an exercise for me as much as for Jim and Keira. There were things I could have readily explained at the time of writing, but that I had to grope and thrash about to explain now.
This morning, before the rehearsal began, I paid a little visit to The Bookstore in Lenox, where I’ll be giving a reading from and signing of my new novel All Our Yesterdays at the end of the month. The owner turned out to resemble the characters in the novel, a baby-boomer former radical. And a lovely man. Amusingly, he was more impressed by the blurb from Sam Brown, the organizer of the Mobilization to End the War, than he was by the blurbs from Robert Reich and Jim Lehrer, which previously have commanded the most attention. Now, if only his clientele resembles him, I might even manage to sell a couple of books.
A huge thunderstorm and downpour has begun while I’ve been writing this. Good thing I don’t have anywhere to go.
No patriotic respite for us tomorrow. Our rehearsal starts at 10:00 AM.
Tags: All Our Yesterdays Berkeley Berkshire Theater Festival Berkshires Cedars James Naughton Jim Lehrer Lenox MA Matt Tannenbaum Robert Reich Sam Brown The Bookstore