Boy, did that ever work out well. A marvelous cast pulling my bunny out of a hat after a single read-through Wednesday night and an hour and 1/2 of entrance & exit cue-to-cue rehearsal that had to stop twenty minutes before curtain, with audience just beginning to arrive.
Wow. I have attended, been part of, observed, and suffered through many, many sit-down and staged play readings in my long life, but I have never before witnessed an audience applauding a cast for two or three minutes, after. For several moments, there, I wondered when it was going to end. What a thrill!
For the author, this kind of experience is beyond price. Sitting in the back, listening and watching both the performance and the members of the audience, I found what worked and what didn't work.
The first act worked, even with the extra time it took because of having to read stage directions. The second act worked, as well, with one tiny, teeny, super-important little hitch: it was too long, and not just because of the stage directions.
I was surprised to find that, in the moments before the final scene of the script was to be played, that the play had ended. The final scene was revealed to be redundant. I have to admit a mental double-take, because I’ve always thought those last moments before Bosworth were darned good. But something happened between Bill Durham and David Fruechting in the minute before that suddenly sent the last scene out the window, for me.
I was gratified to hear my instinct confirmed later in the evening by fellow director Caprice Spencer Rothe. It stewed around in my head, in front and in back, all day and evening on Sunday and I woke up this morning knowing that my final scene was gone and I had, suddenly, without the stroke of a pen or battering a keyboard, instantly cut 15 or 20 minutes from the play. That felt really good.
Later in the afternoon, brother Bob called and shared the same thoughts.
It felt even better, this morning, when daughter Patti called to tell me she thought the last scene wasn’t necessary.
Great minds, and all that.
It is, however, not gone with the baby and the bathwater.
I have a couple of phone calls to make to confirm the date of the reading of the other version of the play. The one that’s not an adaptation, the one that contains only my work.
If all goes well, there will be a reading of KING’S GAMES: A Memoir of Richard III, on Saturday, June 22, 2013, the 530th Anniversary of the day Richard was called to be king.