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2012/09/19: First readthrough

September 20th, 2012 josepharagon Comments off

Survived the first readthrough! Great group of actors. Some of those songs I was hearing sung for the first time

From the read, we could tell that Act I is solid, but Act II could use some tightening up. The Act II opener needs a bit more drive to it, and some lyric tweaks to the Finale are in order. So nothing serious so far, just touch-ups

We had a short design presentation before the read. ¬†Our set designer, Beth, told us about the metal mezzanine we’re borrowing from Sheridan College’s production of Sweeney Todd (which Adam directed), and our costume designer Melanie had some sketches out, which Adam said looked like they were straight from a Ralph Bakshi cartoon. However this show turns out, at least it’ll look cool.

The afternoon was spent staging “Worse than Death”, the opening number. It’s being choreographed by our associate director Linda Garneau. Not really dancing, but some very cool and subtle movement. Linda and Adam worked on the Sheridan Sweeney together. When I saw that production, there was one neat move that consisted of just a small quick head turn. Doesn’t sound very exciting, but when thirty people turn their heads en masse in perfect synchronization, it’s downright creepy. And they’re using a similar style for “Worse than Death” — small but potent minimalistic movement.

Busy day tomorrow. Looks like we’ll be tackling a whole lotta scenes.

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2012/09/18: First full-cast rehearsal

September 18th, 2012 josepharagon Comments off

I arrived in Toronto on Sunday. Adam (Brazier, our director) had already rehearsed a full week with the four principals (Evan, Eddie, Trish and Jan), and today was our first rehearsal with the full cast.

It was nice to finally meet them — all 14 of them. Along with our creative and production teams, as well as some Theatre 20 admin staff, there was a small army present today. We didn’t do a full readthrough because Evan, our Burke, had a film gig. So Jason (Jestadt, our musical director) used today to teach everyone the large group numbers, namely the openers and closers of both acts. Today’s takeaway: the large numbers are lyrically very dense and lyrically very bleak. The company spent all day singing dark, angry mob songs with lines like “Kill him! Hang him!” and “Die, villain, die!”

At the end of the day, Jason had to assure everyone, “There really are lighter moments in this show. Just not in anything we’ve sung today.”

First readthrough tomorrow. Gonna be interesting…

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My Production Blog

September 18th, 2012 josepharagon Comments off

bloodlessposter*Sigh…*

All right… Due to the pestering of my ever-persistent friends, I have decided to write a running blog detailing my Bloodless experience here in Toronto. This blog will not appear on my main page. If you want to see it, go to my WordPress blog at www.josepharagon.com/blog. Yes, I’ve had a WordPress blog all along, but so far I’ve used it only as a convenient way to post news, and never as — y’know — a blog.

I’ll try to post as often as I can, but I can’t promise to post every day, since I may be otherwise occupied with things like… oh, maybe working on my show. And I can’t promise it’ll be entertaining either. But hopefully it will satisfy everyone’s curiosities.

So click here and be amazed!*

* amazement not guaranteed

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Countdown to Bloodless

September 10th, 2012 josepharagon Comments off

t20It’s happening! Rehearsals for the Theatre 20 production of Bloodless: The Trial of Burke and Hare are starting, and I’m off to Toronto for a month. Much has happened since my last post (yeah, no kidding Joseph, your last post was in January)…

We’ve had two workshops — one in mid-April and one in August. The April workshop was three weeks long, and I got to work with many of Theatre 20’s founding artists, as well as members of their Emerging Artist Ensemble. That was an amazing experience. We workshopped Act One, and presented it in a formal reading, which whetted everyone’s appetites and generated some excitement. In August, we worked for a week with the wonderful and talented students of Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre program, and hammered out Act Two. Needless to say, the script has changed significantly from its previous incarnation. Scenes have been switched and revamped, old songs have been cut, new songs have been written — I even deleted a major character (sorry, Josh). But I believe it’s all for the better, and although there’s still a little more writing to do, we’re in great shape to launch into rehearsals.

There have also been some changes on the production end since I last posted. First, the dates have changed. The production runs October 12-28, 2012, with previews beginning October 9. Second, you’ll notice that Colm Wilkinson has handed over the directing reins to Theatre 20’s artistic director Adam Brazier. This is actually a good thing, because Adam and I get along famously and we’re on the same page almost all the time. But Colm is still on as our creative consultant (”Colm”… as if we’re buddies or something), and he’s given us some invaluable guidance so far.

So that should get you up to speed. If you’re going to be in Toronto this October, be sure to check it out. Visit Theatre20.com for tickets and information.

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