Wednesday, June 17, 2015

GOOD PEOPLE and Musical Inspiration

I've played around with music to help me "find" characters in the past, most notably my "Frankenstein Playlist." That exercise was pretty extreme, but it was helpful. I don't usually go that far, but I very often will find myself listening to music, being struck by a lyric, or an emotional response to a tune, that informs the project I'm working on.

My current project is at Redtwist Theatre, GOOD PEOPLE by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Matt Hawkins. We're down to the wire on this one, a few days before tech, and in the middle of those moments when every mistake, no matter how trivial, feels apocalyptic, and the connection to the characters feels more and more like trying to grab and hold running water. Which is pretty much the way everybody feels about every show they work on when you're getting this close to the point of no return.

It's hard to maintain your confidence, essentially, when the rubber hits the road, as they say, but the team is strong and committed. The Redtwist ensemble members, Jacqueline Grandt, KC Karen Hill, Aaron Kirby and Kathleen Ruhl, and the other guest artist in the cast, Kiki Layne, are doing excellent work, well worth of Mr. Lindsay-Abaire's tremendous script. Matt Hawkins is a open, collaborative director, always ready to react and adjust to discoveries on the fly. Assistant Director Scott Wolf, and our Stage Management team, Allison Queen and her assistant, Melissa Nelson, are organized and prepared.

The design team are about to swing into the hard part, as we head to tech weekend. I can't wait to see what Eric Luchen (Set Designer), Kathryn A. Lesko (Lighting Designer), Karli Blalock (Sound Designer), Allison M. Smith (Costume Designer) and Jan Ellen Graves (Prop Designer) have in store. What we've seen so far is terrific.

I'm proud of this show. I'm proud of being in it, and the work I'm doing. I can't wait for people to see it next week.

But, again...the triggers from certain songs. The way that you can hear a tune, maybe even one you know well, and it suddenly reflect something about your character, your show. I had a moment like that just yesterday. I've been listening to a lot of Rush lately, having just seen the R40 Tour last Friday night. I'll probably have another blog, at some point, about seeing one of my favorite bands for what is likely to be the last time, but...Neil Peart's lyrics once again reached out to me.

GOOD PEOPLE deals with class inequality, choice and opportunity. Part of the real fun of this show is how it grapples with many questions that I myself grapple with. I don't think that subsidies are going to be long-term solutions to the inequality in our country, and I do believe that people will have to identify their own opportunities, and act upon them to better themselves. Yet, it's very clear that opportunity is not a universal, and that acting upon those opportunities isn't as easy as it seems for a lot of people. The show asks these questions.

It's also VERY funny, and tells a cracking good story. It's not about preaching, it's about showing us people within these questions, and telling their stories. It's the best kind of storytelling, where the story is first, and it happens to illuminate these issues.

Anyway...long way around to this song:

Half The World

Half the world hates
What half the world does every day
Half the world waits
While half gets on with it anyway

Half the world lives
Half the world makes
Half the world gives
While the other half takes

Half the world is
Half the world was
Half the world thinks
While the other half does

Half the world talks
With half a mind on what they say
Half the world walks
With half a mind to run away

Half the world lies
Half the world learns
Half the world flies
As half the world turns

Half the world cries
Half the world laughs
Half the world tries
To be the other half

Half of us divided
Like a torn-up photograph
Half of us are trying
To reach the other half

Half the world cares
While half the world is wasting the day
Half the world shares
While half the world is stealing away

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