Farnsworth Chronicles, 3

I'm not sure what the better metaphor would be to describe the blocking of this production of The Farnsworth Invention: building a puzzle or playing a game of chess?  Watching director Claude Giroux move the actors around the set for seven hours yesterday, I would suggest it's a little of both.

In the show, you have a lot of people (the cast is 21 large) playing multiple roles, moving multiple set pieces and executing lightening fast costume changes.  Trying to map that all out at the very beginning of a rehearsal process is a job that requires infinite patience and resolve.

The stage manager sits at a table, diligently capturing all the notes of when and where people are supposed to move, as her version of the script truly become the road map for the production.  And just when she has everything marked down, a slight adjustment is made and she has to reorganize it all.

Cast members wander about with script in one hand and pencil in the other, jotting down reminders of when  they are supposed to enter and from what entrance.  All of this is done in the rehearsal hall at Keyano College with the outline of the set and various staircases taped out on the floor, replicating the scale of what will be built on the mainstage; we won't move on to the actual set for about a month.

David Sarnoff
My job in all of this is remarkably easy.  Being one of two narrators (of sorts), I do more observing than anything else, watching this memory (and apology) play out in front of me.  In the rush and excitement of becoming "the world's first communications mogul", David Sarnoff made choices, some of which cast shadows and doubt on his character and integrity.  In many ways, this story is a coming to terms for Mr. Saranoff, a deconstruction of guilt, an exploration of what might have been.

I survived my first long rehearsal day since 2006, as we managed to block the first half of act one.  I grabbed a piece of floor during the lunch break, folded up my winter jacket for a pillow, and laid down for a 10 minute snooze.  After that, I was good to go for the rest of the day.  I am my father's son; there's nothing that a little nap can't fix.


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