Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

02 June 2004

Danger, Will Robinson

I should warn all who read this daily Tower of Babel that this journal will probably consist (at least for a month or so) of daily rundowns of rehearsal and my frustrations, however limited.  I promise to try to stay positive about the actors, but we all slip up sometimes...

Yesterday was my anniversary at American Accounting Services.  My ninth anniversary.  Today Nancy had flowers sent to me and Steve took us out to lunch.  I kind of felt like Thai food.  Well, Nancy suggested this joint up the street that we hadn't been to before and so we walked up there.  Place was crap.  I don't remember what this place is called, but the food was bland, and the meal was really cheap.  Normally, Nancy and I have Steve take us to nicer restaurants with cloth napkins, but we had never been here and so how were we to know?  Cheap and crap.  I wasted my free meal, but ah well... it was still, nonetheless, free.

I love it when I am busy at my work.  I like the work that I do at my accounting job, and I hate having to pretend that I'm busy when I'm not.  Today I was busy all day, and it positively flew by.  Hooray.

Made the drive out to Long Beach after that to meet with John and Nick.  They were supposed to meet with one another around 5:00p and then go over their ideas with me when I got there at 6:00p.  When I got there at 5:50p, John was there sitting by himself.  Nick wasn't there yet.  When Nick got there, they sat down and John said, "So what are your ideas for the set?"  "You were supposed to bring me ideas," said I, not shocked, but not happy.  "I know, but I just kind of wanna know what you think and..." stammers John.  Grrr.  We finally went into the space and I got a lot of good stuff out of them.  They had some really nice ideas for the set and a lot of them are gonna work.  I am very happy with the set.  I think it's gonna be really cute.

John started giving me directions again.  La, la, la this.  La, la, la that.  William Hung (I'm not kidding).  Once again, he used the phrase "go further with that."  I started to just disagree with him.  I don't want to start going "Ok, ok, ok," with him.  I want him to get in his head that I'm gonna do what I want.  I don't want the show to be silly.  I want it to keep its intelligence and be funny.  I think I can do this.  I don't even know where he's going with the William Hung reference, but I am not going to have references to television like that in this show.  I think I'm better than that.  Call it snobbery, but I don't even watch television: I'm not gonna spoof it in my Shakespeare show

Brittney called and said she was going to be late.  I was, of course, pissed, but then when she got there barely 3-4 minutes late, Petruchio was still not there.  Brittney and I went over a lot of stuff.  She brought questions for me.  We talked.  It was great.  Petruchio was a good 15 minutes late.  I try not to criticize actors to their faces, so I didn't: with Brittney or with Rick.  He smiled, I hoped all would be well with him. 

It was not to be.  My instincts about him were totally on.  It's so amazing how much you can really tell from an audition.  John's statements about "That's Petruchio. That's Petruchio" haunt me now, sometimes.  I know what I'm doing and most of the time he doesn't, I am really beginning to realize.  Rick is not the right Petruchio for this show.  At least he wasn't today.  I do not doubt my own abilities.  It may be that he can be molded into a Petruchio that will serve my turn, but if today was any indication...

He disagreed with the very first direction I gave.  I phrased it a different way.  "It's not in his character," he said.  (I felt my cheeks burn.  You have no idea what your character would do yet, man!)  The third time I spoke—after his second disagreement—I said, "Well I want you to try this."  It was no longer a suggestion, and it was obviously me telling him what I wanted and he was quiet after that.  There was no more belligerent behavior.  All was well.

Well, we'll see.  He loosened up a lot once Matt started talking.  I gave them another speech about having fun and playing the comedy and he seemed to kind of take that and relax a little.  I looked for reaction on his face when I mentioned we were setting it at the beach, but didn't get one.  Maybe he already knew.

I let most of the actors go early and kept Zuriel and Matt to work on their monologues.  Zuriel needs a good teacher.  I'm not that guy, at least I don't think I am, but I can help him out a little.  Matt is so talented, people.  Does everyone get this?  I hope they do soon. 

Petruchio shook my hand before he left for the night, and I'm going to assume that means he acknowledges my authority.  I may be over-dramatizing the evening.  I should ask Matt what he thinks about it.  He may not have got any of this from our interaction.  But I felt tested by this actor, and I'm sure, tonight, I passed his silly little test.

I have things to give this guy.  I wish people would know I'm not out to get them.  Brittney, for all her faults, always knows I have her best interest at heart.

And I am reminded by this little test of wills with Petruchio that actors are sensitive, highly egocentric human beings who need care and love and attention.  I must not give them bombast or screams or harsh words.  I must always treat them with respect and gentleness.  That is the way to tame a shrewish actor.