Farnsworth Chronicles, 10

We open The Farnsworth Invention in two weeks.  Yikes!  I can't believe it's almost here.  Returning to rehearsals after a long Easter break, the rehearsal hall runneth over with props, furniture and racks of 1920s-era suits, overcoats and hats.

Playing around during a rehearsal break
I have my particular spot - "the old man chair" as I like to call it - on stage left where I park my jacket and personal accouterments.  I'm slowly being swallowed by the increasing volume of stuff as we near that moment when we move from the rehearsal space into the performance space. When you have a period show with lots of actors and multiple scene changes, it's inevitable that you need lots of bits and pieces to bring it together.  Thank God for the Stage Manager (Steph) and the ASMs (Rhiannon and Marlena) who magically manage it all.

Costume Designer Tiffany Bishop has spent months searching used clothing shops, gathering the immense (and diverse) number of suits required to dress this large collection of fellas.  She also is in the process of building many of the period dresses required for the lovely ladies who are breathing life into this incredible Aaron Sorkin script.  Being behind the scenes of a major production for the first time in 6 years has renewed my appreciation for the gargantuan amount of work that goes into producing the final product.

I had worked through the script a number of times on our long drive to and from Saskatchewan.  Dylan was on book in the back seat, feeding me the lines of Jim Harbord, Water Gifford, Philo Farnsworth, and even Lizette Sarnoff.  After cruising through the play at warp speed a number of times, I went back to the script to ensure that was I was saying what is written.  I discovered a number of spots where I had taken some creative license, capturing the intention of the author but missing the mark on the language that is actually in the text.  I'm re-learning how difficult it is to break a habit once it's in place.

Doing the entire show for the first time in a week, I felt a little "choppy" as I readily shared during the notes that followed.  In many ways, this is the most exciting time in the rehearsal process for me, as remembering lines and blocking become second nature. Now I can focus on the character, his inner journey, choices, intentions, fears, passions and regrets.

There is always a fear of a show peaking too early.  I could be wrong, but it feels like this play is so rich that we'll be exploring its nuances right up to the final light cue on closing night.  I hope you will decide to join us for this fast-paced deconstruction of the race to invent television.  It's going to be quite a ride!


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