BIRDS OF PARADISE, 2015 FringeNYC participant

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Production Diary #2 - A Blocking Good Time

First rehearsals are always a special day in any production, when the cast and director sit around a table and read the play aloud, then talk about it. Because of scheduling we eschewed tradition a bit and jumped right into blocking, but it was no less special.

Yes, blocking. The time-honored theater practice of telling actors when to move around and do things on stage. At this point you would normally see pictures of Hallie Schwartz (Emma) and Patrick Truhler (Archie) at our rehearsal, furiously jotting down notes in their scripts with number 2 pencils while I have my "far-off visionary" look on my face pointing at things to illustrate the above comment, but in my zeal about finally being at our first rehearsal, I neglected to take them. Irony, it seems, can be a cruel mistress.

However, here's another publicity photo to tide you over:

Photo Credit: Lizzie Harrell
Don't they look adorable all confused and in love and whatnot? That's from the first scene of the play, where we started blocking last night. We used Shetler Studios, a wonderful rehearsal complex in the heart of Broadway, where my last play BUFFALO HEIGHTS was performed.

(A computer simulation of me falling on the subway.)
For three hours we toiled over the blocking for scenes 1-6 in a small 9' x 11' studio at Shetler. The air conditioning was a welcome relief (it was still a humid 84 degrees when we left around 10pm), and on the way home I lost my balance on the subway and fell into a stranger's lap. 

But amazing work was done! I left filled with pride and confidence that I had the right cast in the right place at the right time. Like the 18 or so percent of bird species that migrate each year, we too are embarking on a journey that will take us to a warm, wonderful paradise. 

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Production Diary #1 - Press Photos and Bar Trivia

L to R: Patrick Truhler (Archie); Adam Harrell (Director); Lizzie Bell (Photographer)

Actors Hallie Schwartz and Patrick Truhler paid a visit to our makeshift studios this week to begin production on BIRDS OF PARADISE. Since no production photos of the show exists (video only), the first step was staging some photos that could be used to promote it.

Trivia selfie! Hallie Schwartz (Emma) on the far right!
Hallie and Patrick braved the awkwardness of striking a pose over several hours, and over the course of our discussions it was decided that all superstar pop singers will eventually reach a phase in their careers where they do a music video that is simply them standing in front of the camera singing. It's science.

After we burned through some digital film it was off to the local watering hole to get some primo bonding
time in with the cast and crew, and as luck would have it, it was trivia night. Our team name was "Birds of Paradise", naturally, and although we were riding high in first place at halftime, the spirits snuck in our heads and stole our brains, leaving us in 3rd place when it was all said and done. Word of advice: the country whose name literally means "Nation of Bengals" is Bangladesh, not Bangalore (I bring shame to bar trivia).

Any-hoosiers, we got some great production photos, all of which will be made available on the website soon as soon as the digital photo elves spread their retouching pixie dust. And we've got show dates, more production diaries, logos, posters, and more in the works. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!