Much Ado Actors Blog: Settling In

Notre Dame campus is like a little village. Deb met us in the morning and took us on a working tour of the area. We started with some admin, in a building with a dome. Upstairs there were huge murals of Columbus, and vast panelled hallways, gigantic crowns in display cases, and mosaic flooring. I was curious. “How old is this place?” “Oh, it’s really old. Maybe the 1860’s.” Victoria was on the throne in England. Dickens was publishing Great Expectations. It doesn’t feel so long ago somehow if you’re in England, but here there is a short, intensive period of history and growth, and somehow it does conspire to make something from the 1800’s feel old.

We then got tax sorted out, by Becky and Lindsay. I was smitten. Anyone that can do numbers is a source of wonder and amazement to me generally, so when they said “Hi, we do tax,” I had no choice but to say “cooooool.” For which they quite rightly laughed at me. “People usually have a very different reaction when we say that.”

Then off to get American Bank accounts opened, at a Credit Union. I’ve not done a great deal of research, but Credit Unions look like a good idea. More idealistic than building societies. And they seem to be working.

Then to rehearsing. We have a new companion in the room. Ryan. Lovely Ryan. Not used to having anyone who can help us out we are still banging our heads against prop issues. Ryan is very wry. “You know, guys, your life would be so much easier if you just let me do stuff for you.” He has a point. We let him. Now we have props.

The room is good, despite some annoying pillars in the playing space, but as far as I’m concerned it’s useful to get used to playing in all sorts of different places, and dealing with all sorts of obstructions, since we’ll be moving around a great deal over the course of this job. With the deadline approaching there is a little more tension in the room, but the work is getting done, and we end the days having moved forward, and made discoveries. Members of the faculty are able to come in and out and see what we’re up to, and their feedback is pretty much universally helpful. These guys know their Shakespeare and are happy to express what they have witnessed and what they didn’t understand, in order to help us clarify and tighten the show we are creating. Talking with them after the showing was terrifically valuable, as I certainly don’t know exactly what this tour will entail, as yet. The idea that they imparted to me was that we might be the first Shakespeare that many of the audience have witnessed, and almost certainly the first pro Shakespeare. We can’t afford to lose them, or bore them. So I certainly started thinking about cuts. We have been very complete in our approach but that’s fine because now we know what we can drop, and we know, when it’s gone, whether or not we miss it. The issue around excessive cutting is diplomacy, but I think as a company we are both close enough and robust enough to put up with it. After all, here we all are companionably squinting while sipping beer together from the same flight at The Evil Czech Brewery.
Yep, that’s right. Evil Czech Brewery. It was Taco Tuesday. How could anyone resist? All the actors, lots of the faculty. Huge amounts of food. Beer. All of us have been up every morning to run since. Oh, the food. This is no country for celiacs. But that’s for another post.