| Banquo; Act I run-through; did you ever eat with one? - 12/15/07
Began my day with the toughest scene for me: Banquo’s ghost. It’s easy to collaborate with one other
person. To work with 15, you have to be a general. When 15 horses go their own way it’s nothing
like the Landowska story; it’s chaos or a stampede. * * *
Nonetheless, with Aaron putting the focus on the dramatic action and me watching the movement,
we got the first appearance fine. I thought of a great cover/sucker gag for the second appearance
and that’s funny and cool, too. And the final vanish that Matt and I conceived, once we got some
expert strangling help from Dale, is just killer. And after all this mayhem, with Macbeth running
around like a lunatic, even strangling a party guest, Lady M. remarks dryly, “You have displaced the mirth.”
Since it’s a party scene, we asked Kenny for party music. He tried some goofy lounge music, and some
classic horror music on keyboard, but we didn’t quite get where he was going. He’ll work up something
and show us. He may bring in an old wind-up 78 record player that he says has a great sound, and try it
far away in the wings.
It was mid-afternoon now, and Kenny wanted to see the “cage” he’ll be living in on the set. So I drove us
from the rehearsal hall to the scene shop. We wandered in and looked. Kenny seemed thrilled. He tapped
the wire cage walls, and I knew what he wanted to do, and grabbed a pipe. He whacked the walls of the set
Kenny Wollesen sees the musical potential in everything from bicycles to rubber gloves. While we were at
the shop, he asked Quinn if she could give him a hunk of 2x4 with a nail driven through it, with the
sharp end sticking out. She did, and Kenny was delighted.
I showed Kenny the floating dagger and he pronounced it cool. Then we picked up one of his typani
that had been mislaid in an electrical closet and went back to the rehearsal hall.
* * *
Now we did a stumble through of the entire first act, the big hour-long act. After only four days,
it’s possible to get a feel for the sweep of the first act. We cut down the opening battle to focus
on Macbeth. We have lots of changes to make. The great thing is that when you see it all together,
everything informs everything else, even if actors are still reading or calling for lines.
To me the high point was “Is this a dagger…?” Ian just played it real and perplexed. Quite beautiful.
A bit more general-like now, we used the last 45 minutes to nail down some choreography of the Banquo
ghost scene. Now the ghost had a very special sound. Kenny was using the nail in the 2x4 to scrape
around the top of a cymbal. It made my hair stand on end.
* * *
Cody (Macduff) invited Scott (Malcolm), Dale (fight guy), and Eric (4 characters) to have broiled
rack of lamb at his beach-town place. So I drove through the night on winding Jersey highways
in a light mist and found the joint.
Cody’s some chef. Grilled asparagus, mashed potatos, and perfect lamb. And Shakespeare. We talked
about Shakespeare for 3 hours. We talked about the Porter, and how his jokes, when directed at the
audience, suggest that each of the spectators is going to hell, just like Macbeth. We talked about
the art of cutting for clarity but without robbing the poetry. We discussed the problems with casting
Ariel in “The Tempest,” (Scott said Ariel needed to be a rock star). Cody and Eric talked a good bit
about not acting Shakespeare like Shakespeareans; just making the intention clear and true. Eric
expressed amazement that the cheesy Vegas half of the director team should be the fanatical Shakepearean
purist who knows most of the play by heart. Around eleven, stuffed, happy, and exhausted, I departed with
Mapquest directions back to the hotel.
Cold, dark, misty Jersey winter night. Diners. Seashore fried fish joints. I turned on the radio
and listened to a Japanese art band with an Italian name.
I love driving alone late at night with music on, especially in urban areas. I always feel like
Travis Bickel, except I don’t hate what I see. It’s all so beautiful, so sensuously lonely.
When light is low, your eyes don’t perceive as much color, so everything gets a film noir
look to it. You glide by pieces of people’s lives, rooms illuminated by TVs, street people.
The used car lot, clearly closed, with a cerise neon sign brightly announcing “OPEN.”
I wound around traffic circles and came straight up route 35 towards Red Bank. Fine rain sifting
and blowing. The trees on a wide, hilly lawn all covered with twinkle lights, Disney style.
“PEACE ON EARTH” in lights stretched across the street.
When I got into Red Bank, I realized I needed directions to my hotel and got the attention of a
young couple in a black SUV next to me. “Go all the way down to the end and turn left,” said
the young woman, happy to be able to help me.
I drove, the panorama gliding by. Just when I was about to turn left, that same black SUV pulled
up beside me. The male half of the couple indicated he wanted to talk. I found the window switch
in the rental car and rolled down the window. “We just wanted to say: be sure to bear right at the 7-11.”
I wondered whether they’d waited up or followed me, just to add that final, helpful detail.
Day off tomorrow. Sunday. I won’t trouble you with my goings on. I’ll sleep late, work out
(first time since arrival) catch up on blog, see a movie, work on Lady M.’s nightmare blood.
Sunday is the lord’s day, you know.