1 p.m. NPR is here and we recorded Aaron’s reactions to seeing the dagger hallucination for the first time.
He got all “Whoa, dude,” on us, and that made Matt and me especially happy. Noticing that the plexi
mirror created sideshow distortion (“I’m not really that fat, am I?”) Aaron okayed replacing the plexi
with real mirror. Duane’s work on the dagger was perfect, and the blood now flows perfectly and looks
like rubies. Jamy Swiss was visiting and his unalloyed compliments (Jamy is a hard critic who demands
perfection) meant a great deal to me.
2 p.m. Another run of the Sisters with Kenny, all recorded by NPR. Aaron had the Sisters make their
Ts terribly crisp and I pushed for their voices to stay lower in pitch and more masculine. Both these
things made them clearer, less affected, and more unearthly.
At the rehearsal studio Nate (P&T Director of Covert Activities), his mate Erica, and New Yorker writer
Adam Gopnik were observing. Nate and Erica just beamed and seemed thrilled by the combat scenes,
and Adam sat curled like an ampersand, studying the whole scene.
2:45 p.m. Out, out, damn spot. First blocking rehearsal on the taped-out set. It’s a hard scene
to envision without the set. We agreed that blocking this without a real staircase seemed very uncertain.
The beauty of staircases is their problem, too. They take time to walk up and down.
3:30 p.m. For the first time we ran the final Macbeth/Macduff duel with both dialog and fighting. It’s
quite astonishing. The fight goes from sword dueling to hand to hand combat and back to blades.
It’s brutal and relentless. As always, the cheesy Vegas guy (me) argued for not trimming the poetry
that builds to the fight. Aaron – who’s immensely conscientious about not letting the pace flag –
gave it a chance and liked it.
4:15: Scene I. Facing the problem of integrating the intensely intricate opening battle with the opening
lines of the Weird Sisters. For the first time since we’ve started working, I “crowded” Aaron as he worked.
He gently took me aside and alerted me and I was grateful. I think it’s pretty amazing that in more than
a week of rehearsals, this is the first time that either of us has thrown the other off. I’ll see it won’t
5 p.m. Banquo’s ghost. This was the high point of my day. I’m not the hero here. I’m just an observer,
watching a brilliant director work director magic on a scene that magician magic had failed to solve.
We needed (yes, I’m trying not to spoil surprises) a group of people to move to a certain location to
facilitate a trick. Wandering into place looked phony.
Aaron got an idea. He found in the lines a conflict that could be escalated to a degree of shocking
violence. Crowds move in response to violence, and suddenly everybody very naturally ended up
where they needed to. Result: We now have the Banquo ghost problem solved.
Just watching Aaron is an education. He has a genius for infusing the text with staging ideas that
are explosive and convincing. He can take a scene that in another production would be two actors
standing and talking and find in that dialog a physical story that you’d never see when just reading it.
Which brings me back to my axiom. Always see Shakespeare (well-produced) before you read it.
7:00- 9:30 – we worked two hard scenes in parallel. Aaron worked some of Mac’s later scenes of frenzy
and “Tomorrow and tomorrow…” while I worked a nutty adaptation of a scene originally between Lennox
and an unidentified Gentleman. My scene involved hanging severed heads, but I’m not sure if it does
the job. Aaron’s involved lots of passion and madness, but it was hard to judge because Ian had just
worked an exhausting day of combat and hard lines. So the day ended with a series of unanswered questions.
Afterwards we went to Aaron’s house to look at pictures of special effects contact lenses. Again
we were left with unanswered questions. And so the day started well, reached an exciting climax
with Banquo, and kind of trailed off at the end.
Ah, well, still a great day overall. I wish these days would go on forever. This is one of the most
joyful times of my life.