Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Calvin Berger: First Day of School

First day of rehearsal. It’s a show about school-age characters, and the journey there felt like riding the bus to the first day of school. There are lots of method actors, but I might be the world’s first method writer.

I don’t have kids, but I would guess that the pride I felt seeing the show reach this next step was akin to what parents feel seeing children reach milestones. Walking up George Street for the first time and seeing our beautiful new logo hanging outside this reputable regional theatre… Hearing artistic director David Saint praise the Dream Team of creative minds we have assembled (I couldn’t agree more!)… Seeing the army of warm and hospitable GSP employees so eager to help make the show a success. I felt like a proud parent… “my little [show] is growing up!” (bites bottom lip, chokes back tears)

A special moment for me was David Saint’s welcome speech where he said I remind him of his good friend Jonathan Larson (the late composer of RENT). Jonathan is my personal hero. I keep a picture of him above my piano. I don’t feel worthy of a pimple on Jonathan’s big toe (then again, I did write a show about insecurity), but hearing any comparison from someone who knew him was surreal and special. Thank you, David!

In rehearsal, Kathleen spoke brilliantly about our internal self-perception and the external image we try to put forth, a prominent theme in the show. How appropriate, I thought, as just last night I pondered trying to look “writerly” for today’s meet-and-greet, with a vest, or maybe the ol’ t-shirt/blazer combo. Luckily, I nixed that idea.

The cast members are each magnetic in their own ways. All are wonderful and quirky, and none are boring. They managed to make this difficult music sound exciting and lovely on their very first day. Their vibe is fun, positive and warm. This goes so far in making the audience root for these characters.
We are definitely off to a great start!

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