Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stanby, Mackenzie - Chapter 5

Day two of rehearsals was much like the afternoon of day 1 – long and boring. The monotony of running the same parts of the play over and over and over again made it hard to stay awake, and Mackenzie found herself caught asleep on her feet a couple of times, forgetting to reset the props, having the scene start, and then the actors having to mime their actions, with Frank glaring her down.

Bret had been right about the costumes. At lunch Mackenzie raided the costume shop for a cloth tape measure and a couple of old measurement sheets that some costumer had left long ago, and she was managed to fake her way through some of the rudimentary measurements required.

Bret’s props were bang on as well, and Mackenzie wasn’t sure how she felt about taking credit for something that she’d only partially done, but Frank and the actors barely seemed to give the props a second look. Instead they just picked them up and started working with them like they’d always been there.

Now sound? How was Mackenzie supposed to know that by the start of rehearsals tomorrow that Frank wanted the sound track finished and ready to go? Mackenzie knew a very little bit about costuming from her community theatre shows, and she had learnt a lot on the last show about props, but she didn’t know the first thing about the sound system. She had called sound cues before, and she’d heard Marvin calling sound cues, but beyond that she didn’t even know how to turn the sound board off and on!

When Day 2 mercifully came to an end all Mackenzie wanted to do was hit the bar with Frank and the actors, or better yet without them, but she knew that was a luxury she couldn’t afford, so she reset the props for the morning, pulled costumes for the fitting, wrote up a schedule and posted it for the day and had just finished sweeping up the stage when Bret strolled in.

“Are you ready to do some sound, Macky?”
“I’m starving.”
“Then let’s get started over at Sammy’s. Bring your prompt book and a notepad.”

Sammy’s was the greasy spoon next to the theatre that was run by a Polish Immigrant family. It was always open late, and it was about the only place in town where you could order a banquet burger and large poutine at 11pm and nobody would judge you for it. While they were waiting for their food Bret and Mackenzie went through the script, making a list of all the sound effects.

“You’re also going to need scene change music for in between each scene, and for the tops and tails of each act,” said Bret.
“How do you know –“
“Let’s just keep our eyes on the ball here, Macky. You see that line there, where Dan says ‘Hear that one old girl mooing away last night?’ That means Frank will probably want the sound of cow mooing to start long before he says that line, like right from the half when the house opens.”

After supper they went back to the theatre, up to the booth and sat down at the computer, where the two of them searched the internet for the sound effects, and the theatre’s library of music for scene change and other material.

“Did Frank say anything about underscores anywhere?”
“Frank hasn’t said anything to me about sound. How do you know this is even what he wants?”
“Well, actually, I don’t know what he wants. In fact even he probably doesn’t know what we wants for the show yet. But what he needs right now is a CD that you can use in rehearsal so the actors can hear the sound effects and music and get used to them. Later on he’ll probably want to change a bunch of stuff, which is why I’ve put it all into a neat little folder on the desktop of this computer so that next week Juan can quickly find it and be half done instead of starting all over from scratch.”

After a couple of hours of cutting and pasting they had a CD burned and labelled and ready to go for the next day’s rehearsal.

“I wonder how the set is coming,” Mackenzie asked. “Do you think we should go over and check on the guys before we go home?”
“No,” said Bret. “The guys won’t still be working this late. You should get some sleep, because tomorrow Frank is going to hit the roof when he finds out how much work is still left to be done on the set.”

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