(from left to right: the back of John Hildreth's head, John Brewster, Rudy Voit, John Mobley, Gillian Bellinger, Janna Sobel and Mary Jo Bolduc)
I sat in on two first rehearsals yesterday. Basically, the agenda for both rehearsals was to read through the show based on the director's casting and order of scenes and then set a rehearsal schedule.
John Hildeth's was at 12:30 at Second City. John has assembled a cast of veterans; Gillian Bellinger (who I met at ComedySportz, is part of LOL Theater and who wrote the show Cougars), Mary Jo Bolduc (an old friend from WNEP, ComedySportz and Teatro Bastardo), Janna Sobel (who was in a SC writing show of mine last year), John Mobley (Also a writing show alum and a student at Columbia), Rudy Voit (another writing show alum) and John Brewster, the only cat I didn't know from before auditions. Gillian is also in Lillie Frances's 365 show, Mary Jo is also in Jen Ellison's 365 show, Mary Jo and Janna are also directing a 365 show each. The men are all slackers in this group.
The readthrough went very well. I haven't read many of the scenes since I posted them long ago. It was nice to hear them and ferret out the typos. And, of course, fun to hear the cast laugh and have a good time. Only one scene struck me as needing to be fleshed out more and I was able to turn that around a few hours later.
Don Hall and I were meeting for dinner and then heading over to Steppenwolf to catch Endgame, which I highly recommend. So, I stuck around Second City and worked on rewrites after John's rehearsal. While there, I ran into Dunbar Dicks who informed me that his cast was all together and that they were going to do a first readthrough IN FIVE MINUTES. Awesome. I gathered my things and headed to the classroom they were meeting in.
Dunbar took the opposite approach of John's. He cast all newbies. Everyone in his show is a current or former training center student and, for most of them, this is their first scripted show in Chicago. They seemed pretty jazzed about it. I didn't know a single person, which is unusual and kind of cool. They did great at the readthrough. Had I not known they were new, I would not have guessed it. They all had nice timing and even in the throes of a first time cold read, made good choices.
The best thing I walked away with out of both rehearsals is feeling assured that the scripts were in good hands. And, surprisingly, that not much rewriting needed to be done. Even scenes that I didn't feel strongly about when I posted them, seemed pretty good.
The interesting thing about hearing the scenes read in their two-week blocks was hearing recurring themes. In John's show, there seemed to be a lot of sexual content. In Dunbar's, there's a lot of cannibalism and things being killed, like the Easter Bunny. I guess I'm a horny vegetarian animal rights hypocrite.