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Main Ideas

 What is the main idea of the play? What does the title of the play mean? Back this up by
examining the title and quotes from the characters in the play.
I think that the main idea of the play is how the lack of meaning in a significant
relationship can deprive large swaths of your life of meaning. It’s such a blow to be put in a
situation where you ask yourself, “Did I mean something to them?”
This theme comes into focus only in one of the last dialogue exchanges of the play—
HARI: Walt.
WALTER: Yes.
HARI: I don’t hate you.
WALTER: Oh.
HARI. It’s just… I’ve known you too long.
The title of Sailing comes from the 15 minutes of reflection on a marriage leading up to this
point—they watch the boats sailing in the bay as the watch their marriage from the present—
when they adore the view, the times were good. But sometimes you’ll see a catamaran crash
and burn and someone will inevitably get hurt.

 Define the central conflict of the play


Ostensibly, the central conflict of the play is the squabbles of Walter and Hari’s
relationship, leading into Walter’s hate of humanity and Harriet’s attempts to calm him down.
In the subtext, I think the conflict is Walter’s attempts to make Harriet feel strongly about
him—whether that be love or hatred—and Hari’s struggle to keep Walter around her and with
her, despite her indifference. Walter is more afraid of the relationship having not been
meaningful, and Hari is more afraid of simply being alone.

 What is the high point or climax of the play?


The climax of the play is Walter’s speech about the death of human decency, the
environment, and the world as we know it. This is the most emotionally invested and urgent
the text gets and is followed by a period of respite and resolution as Hari and Walter talk about
their kids and what they lived for. It also is the crux of Walter’s action—trying to emotionally
move and effect Harriet in the most global and epic way possible.
Basics of the play and production history

 Genre of the Play


Drama
 Author’s History
Michael Shurtleff was a casting director (and apparently writer) who did prominent
casting work in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, as well as writing the bestselling book Audition. Over his
career working for David Merrick and later his own firm, Casting Consultants, he worked on
casting for hundreds of projects: Chicago, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Apple Tree, and
more. He wrote the plays Call Me by My Rightful Name and Sailing.

 Play’s production history (a summary of any newspaper reviews if available - include your
comments on what you learned from reading these reviews)
As per the Samuel French edition production history, the play was first performed at the
second annual Metropolitan Short Play Festival of New York City as a submission of the Corner
Loft Theater. I attempted using multiple media online and through the Wells Library to locate
evidence of this original production. I attempted to look up the Metropolitan Short Play Festival
of New York City, and found no results for a festival under that name. Samuel French’s website
referred to the festival in which Sailing originated as the second annual Samuel French short
play festival. Perhaps it was bought out and retroactively named. I’ve seen it also referred to as
the Off-Off-Broadway short play festival, with no records dating earlier than 1986. One Google
Books result showed a short play submitted to the Off-Off play festival in the 80s, held at a
certain Corner Loft Studio (Is there a connection?) and directed by Elaine Gold, who also starred
in Sailing as Hari in the Samuel French cited original production. Later, it was referred to as
Elaine Gold’s Corner Loft Studio, which to me sounds like the play just went up in someone’s
apartment. Through it all, even with searching the New York Times and New York Post archives,
there is not a word of text written on Michael Shurtleff’s Sailing other than that within the
Samuel French Acting Edition. Even from looking at Samuel French’s website (and short of
emailing a rights representative), it is unclear to me whether the play has ever been produced
since its New York Debut.
Given Circumstances

 Place (describe its look and outline why it is important - why did the playwright choose this
particular place?)
The play is set outside Walter and Hari’s country home. They are seated on a terrace
atop a bluff, looking out over an incredible view of the bay. There are boats sailing out on the
water. On one hand, Shurtleff chose the setting for reasons of plot—Walter commits suicide at
the end of the play by going out for a sail as a storm rises up. On a larger level though, it gives
the characters a fluid setting to observe and contemplate as they do the equivalent with their
lives and marriage. The boats, in a sense, are like their life choices.

 Time – including year, season, the day of the week, etc.


Year: the present (1979, that is)
Season: Summer.
Day of the week: unclear—probably a Saturday.
Time: I think it’s 2:00 pm

 Social Environment – what are prevailing social attitudes expressed in the play? What is the
social structure within the play? How do society and social morays affect the characters in the
play?
The morays of marriage in the 70s have a clear affect on the dramatic action in the play.
Both Walter and Hari spend time in the play directly or indirectly talking about their societal
role as a “husband” or “wife”—Hari has a responsibility to produce and raise children, cook
their food, etc. Walter’s role is to work and create a secure life for them. They tend to typify
their stereotypical gender in certain exchanges.

 Political Environment (does this affect the action or the characters?)


Especially towards Walter’s speeches at the end, we see the growing awareness of
ecological issues in the world. He references the buildup of trash and sludge in oceanic
environments and the extinction of endangered species. Although it affects Walter emotionally,
much of the energy sub-textually comes from his relationship with Hari, and the political
overtones act as a reference base on top of this action.

 How do the Given Circumstances affect the action of the play and the characters in scenes?
How are the GC’s meaningful and important to the play?
The entire conflict and energy of the play is based in the given circumstances of the
marriage. Hari and Walter have an immense amount of history as a couple and a defined
personality together. We can see in small moments within the beats the ways—from this
familiarity—they can predict every action the other one will take. The length and importance of
their marriage gives simple squabbles over food weight in the larger context of the play. Finally,
the boats and surroundings give Walter the means to kill himself at the end of the plot.
Play Breakdown
1. “Those Damn Winstons”—Hari and Walter argue about their thoughts on guests
cancelling at the last minute. This is establishing dialogue; the action is driven by the
history of Walter and Hari’s relationship and demonstrates an archetypical marital
scuffle.
Hari- Objective: Ruin the Winstons for Walter. Obstacle: Walter’s stubbornness
Walter- Objective: Teach Hari the wonders of solitude. Obstacle: The lamb leg.
2. “The Problem with Marriage”—Hari truthfully asks Walter if he wishes she were gone,
but the argument quickly turns to playful banter about the state of marriage. We see a
more positive side of their relationship and conflict driven by a mutual search for
connection.
Hari- Objective: Elicit an answer from Walter. Obstacle: Walter’s newspaper.
Walter- Objective: Deflect Hari’s question. Obstacle: Hari’s insistence.
3. “Getting Older”—Walter ponders his aging face a Hari reassures him. Walter is starting
to have a mid-life crisis in the simplest of ways, and Hari can sense the possibility of him
making a drastic change (even leaving her).
Hari- Objective: Reassure Walter about his age. Obstacle: Walter’s imagination.
Walter- Objective: Take control of the conversation. Obstacle: Hari playing along.
4. “Catamaran”—Walter notices a catamaran has gone over. There is conflict in Hari’s
downplaying of the serious situation, but the beat primarily establishes the image of the
boat in trouble, eventually playing into Walter’s suicide later in the play.
Hari- Objective: Placate Walter. Obstacle: Walter’s insistence.
Walter- Objective: Get Hari’s attention. Obstacle: Hari’s Book.
5. “I Want Meat”—Walter brings back the subject of the Winstons and Hari taunts him,
making fun of his pickiness and masculinity around meat. The dramatic action is rooted
in a shift of control—as Walter gets angrier, we see that Hari knows exactly how to get
his goat.
Hari- Objective: Toy with Walter over the meat. Obstacle: Walter’s anger.
Walter- Objective: Get his meats. Obstacle: Hari’s Coyness.
6. “Women on the Side”—Hari loses control as Walter gets back at her by monologuing
about the women that want to get with him. Action is powered by the reverse of the
previous beat—Walter knowing how to get to Hari.
Walter- Objective: Get under Hari’s skin. Obstacle: Hari is used to this.
Hari- Objective: Resist Walter. Obstacle: She’s jealous.
7. “Divorce?”—Walter suggests that they stop living together and Hari quickly lists out
reasons why that wouldn’t be feasible. This is the first time we directly see Hari’s overall
objective of keeping Walter around her, with it taking shape as a rational debate of
reasons.
Walter- Objective: Convince Hari she doesn’t need him. Obstacle: Hari is afraid of being
alone.
Hari- Objective: Convince Walter to stay. Obstacle: Walter is stubborn.
8. “Disappear”—Walter continues to mess with Hari by suggesting he screens her out by
picturing himself naked on an abandoned island. Though Walter’s attempt creates a
sense of conflict, in the end it only amuses Hari.
Walter- Objective: Taunt Hari. Or even amuse. Obstacle: She’s still mad from the last
beat.
Hari- Objective: Brush off Walter’s folly. Obstacle: The captivating imagery.
9. “Oblivious”—Walter backpedals by justifying the merit of his attempted obliviousness
towards Hari. He tells a story about his time in the military, arguing in the subtext that
ignoring each other makes them stronger as individuals.
Walter- Objective: get Hari to understand why he blocks people out. Obstacle: Minor
missteps in the speech can hurt Hari (thin ice).
Hari- Objective: Dissuade Walter from ignoring her. Obstacle: It’s rooted in how he has
lived his entire life.
10. “What We Lived For”—Walter lovingly brags to Hari about the life they had built
together and the children they raised together. The action is defined by this reasoned
and “inspirational” pitch. This fits with the arc of Walter’s overall conflict: fighting for
their marriage to mean something to Hari.
Walter- Objective: sell Hari on the successes of their life together. Obstacle: She resents
he did not raise the kids.
Hari- Objective: Check Walter’s enthusiasm with reality. Obstacle: Walter’s rose-colored
glasses around success.
11. “Mother”—Walter rages against his Mother, ranting to Hari about the injustices of her
growing older and making stupid choices. The action is an inverse of the usual while
remaining in line with Walter’s objective—even if the external reality of their
circumstances has made their marriage a mess, there is still meaning in a negative
direction, arguable better than mediocrity or indifference.
Walter- Objective: Rant to Hari about his mom. Obstacle: Hari’s aversion to the
bluntness of his descriptions of her.
Hari- Objective: Get Walter to look on the bright side. Obstacle: Walter’s situational
anger.
12. “Fuck It All”—This is a long but consistent beat that encompasses Walter’s two longest
monologues: the grocery store speech and the “I hate human beings” speech. It’s the
peak conflict and action in the play. Walter reaches the peak of his urgent appeal to Hari
to empathize with him and feel something about him in some way or another, while
Hari tries to calm him down.
Walter- Objective: Get Hari to empathize with his pain. Obstacle: She’s a much more
passive person by nature.
Hari- Objective: Calm Walter down. Obstacle: He is REALLY riled up.
13. “Should I Have Loved When I Did?—Walter relaxes, trying to open up to Hari about his
feelings. Hari tries to judge his emotional state—there is an uncurrent of conflict from
the difference in their intentions. Hari’s attention to Walter is to keep him stable,
Walter’s attention is a search for a deeper kind of love.
Walter-Objective: Confide in Hari about his insecurities. Obstacle: Hari cares more about
the marriage than his personal insecurities.
Hari- Objective: Confirm that Walter loved he. Obstacle: Walter is stuck in his head.
14. “How Did We Get Here”—Hari and Walter finally disagree about the basis of their
marriage, bringing the central conflict into focus. Hari delivers a blow to Walter by
saying she married him to prove to her mother she could get a husband. There is a truth
to the action here—they are discussing their marriage at the most basic terms while in
pursuit of their core objectives.
Walter- Objective: Restore the love in their marriage. Obstacle: Hari never married him
for love.
Hari- Objective: Tell Walter straight why she married him. Obstacle: This truth could hurt
him.
15. “How to Drown”—Walter fights with Hari over a sailor’s right to refuse help when he
might down. He seems to be gearing up for his suicide. The conflict comes down to a
basic “I’m right, you’re wrong” struggle in the runoff from the previous beat.
Walter- Objective: Win the boat argument. Obstacle: the boat clearly needs help.
Hari- Objective: Convince Walter to help others Obstacle: He’s worried about himself.
16. “I Don’t Hate You”—The final gut-punch of the scene: Hari’s insistence that her
relationship with Walter is defined by utter ambivalence. In Hari’s mind, this is an
attempt to assuage Walter’s fears about the relationship, so he doesn’t leave. Walter’s
efforts though have not been rooted in the fact of their marriage but the meaning of
there lives. Walter sails off to his death.
Walter- Objective: Get Harriet to say she loves him or hates him or anything with
meaning. Obstacle: She doesn’t care.
Hari- Objective: Put Walter’s fears to rest. Obstacle: She doesn’t realize how much it will
upset him.

Characters (Complete for each character in the play)

 Background – education level, employment status, social status, etc.


1. Walter—Although the text is vague about it, Walter, “made a success out of [his]
business,” maybe a small business he founded or co-owned. He was in the military at
one point. Those are the only details Shurtleff gives about Walter’s background. I’d
guess that Walter is college educated and upper middle class, mostly by the fact that he
has run a successful business and acts slightly entitled about many things.
2. The only mention of Hari’s background in the play is her speech about her mother telling
her she would never marry, giving some evidence of that relationship in her life. She’s a
housewife, so her position within society moneywise is shared with Walter. Her social
status in the household is lower given gender roles in the 70s.

 How do these affect the character’s actions in the play?


1. Even in his valid depression, Walter acts entitled about multiple subjects over the course
of the play. His tactics are blunt and aggressive, especially in his monologues. He
demands meat and brags about their possessions and the life they have built together.
His marriage with Hari has an impact on his depressive state towards the end of the
play.
2. Hari’s actions on Walter are all filtered through her role as a wife. As society considers
her naturally more passive, she must be less overt in her actions. Where Walter yells
and rages about the world, she uses “stealthier” tactics to get Walter to stay: guilt,
reasoned discussion, etc.

 Physical look and type


1. Walter—Meaty. Perhaps like Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter.
2. Hari—Tiny and mousey. Perhaps like Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter.

 Character’s Ultimate Goal for the entire play


1. To keep Walter in her life. It’s that simple.
2. To connect with Hari, get her to empathize with his pain. He also has to prove to
Hari that their relationship meant something.

 Where does the character begin and how is s/he changed by the action of the play – a
character’s journey through the play
1. Hari starts in a place of general security in her relationship with Walter, but ends the
play losing Walter and more aware of how she felt about him over the course of their
marriage
2. Walter begins in a place of confidence in his action and control over Hari, but in the end
realizes that she is unaffected by his life with her.

Language of the Play

 Imagery--How does the playwright use Imagery in the language of the play? Are there
compelling overarching images discussed or used in the play?
There are two prominent sources of Imagery in Sailing.
1. The imagery of the bay, water, and ships is used to reflect both the joys and the
hardships of their marriage. There are moments of compelling and positive imagery of
the bay. Each has a moment of vocal admiration—Hari’s on page 6 and Walter’s on page
10, each while they are discussing the success of their marriage and the life they have
built together. They also frequently use the imagery of the catamaran going down,
connecting to Walter’s suicide and the failures of their marriage.
2. The imagery of the grocery store and the escalator in Walter’s final monologues. Both
situations are less effusive than the first source; all Walter does is describe a social
situation. Both visual descriptions though are effective in their simplicity and tie into
Walter’s hatred for humanity and fear of ambivalence.

 Rhythm--How does the rhythm change from section to section of the play?
The rhythm at the top alternates between quick arguments and banter to slower,
contemplative discussion—almost on a beat to beat basis. As the scene carries on, the torch
gets passed to Walter and the pacing gets quicker and angrier, split into chunks and uncertain
thoughts.

 Word choice--How does the playwright use word choices to create the world of the play? Are
there words in the play that need a definition? Are there any words you don't know or are new
to you? If so, list and define them.
All the words in the play makes sense to me. Shurtleff uses heightened adjectives and
phrases to establish tone—this will be discussed in detail in the next question. The play needs a
higher drama to it to give the ordinary moments of the relationship the heightened conflict that
Shurtleff is aiming for.

 Structure and Character – how has the playwright created the dialogue? Does the playwright
make different language choices for different characters? What can you learn about the
characters from the way they use language?
Often, Shurtleff heightens the language in Sailing—of course, this was pretty common in
the 70s. Lines like “Marriage is a terrible state”—especially the use of the expression “terrible
state,” give the text an artificial drama and impact. As we talked about at the workshop day, it’s
important to work with the actors to figure out how to play this kind of text. Walter uses
aggressive words and phrasings—“I want meat!” “Defying me!” “I wish she didn’t exist.” This
plays into his tactics towards Hari and his place as the stereotypical man of the relationship.
Hari’s text is more tuned towards optimistic imagery (the bay descriptions, the “life-force”
monologue about why we have children) and often, subtle (or unsubtle) sarcasm—“Sorry. I am
getting to be a terrible nag. It’s the way wives get, and I hate it, and why do I do it?”

Rehearsal Schedule and Rehearsal Reports


Ellijah and Riley called for All Rehearsals
Work planned is in reports
Rehearsals on the 27th and 29th are actually on the 20th and 22nd the calendar is wrong.
Nov 4th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Ellijah & Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 6pm
Break Times: 6:55 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 8pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): N/A
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. First readthrough
2. Table work & discussion
3. Second read with switched roles.
4. Fun icebreaker games
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Nov 8th: Continue blocking
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Schedule first showing (@myself)
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
I feel good! They are getting a good handle on the material. Elijah will need to work on
controlling his youthful energy for Walter. We’re on schedule. Riley and Elijah are getting along
well, so rehearsals should be smooth in that regard.
Nov 6th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Elijah & Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:15 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): N/A
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Organic Run/Discussion
2. Blocking thru pg. 9
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Nov 8th: Blocking
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Elijah look over and mark Walter’s “grand proclamations”
2. First showing is on Nov. 14th. No need to be off book but please familiarize regardless.
3. Riley look into how Hunchback will affect future rehearsal times? It probably won’t.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
Good rehearsal. I planned to get half of the material blocked, and got to the technical
halfway point, but the text gets a lot denser as the scene proceeds. I wish I could have blocked
more but auditions this weekend made it hard for me to prepare the blocking, so I ended up
taking a more organic approach, having them run the scene and then inserting myself to set
choices as rehearsal went on. It’s minute work, and I’m going to have to put more time into
prepare the smaller scale blocking when they’re sitting down. I’m worried about stakes at the
moment, but we’re still chipping away at the material so I’m not worried.
Nov 8th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Elijah & Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:20 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): N/A
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Run & clean previous day’s material
2. Blocking through pg. 16
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Nov 20th: Blocking and prep for first
showing.
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Off Book date is set at Nov. 27th
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
Elijah is finding great choices and action, but I’m worried about Riley. Part of the
problem is on me—Walter is naturally easier to direct, so I’ve been giving Elijah more attention
and telling Riley I’ll get to her later. She seems to be floundering for something to do. I’ll put
effort into finding that. I’m still behind my blocking goals but we’ll have half of it ready for the
first showing. We should be able to finish the rough blocking by the next rehearsal.
Nov 13th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Elijah & Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:15 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): N/A
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Run portion for the showing tmoro (pgs. 1-6)
2. Polish 1-6
3. Run 1-6 again
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Nov 15th: Blocking and prep for first
showing.
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. I’ll see you guys at 9:30 tomorrow! You will get notes by text after.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
Behind schedule on the blocking, but ready for the showing tomorrow. We’re still
tussling with the language in the script. I’ll see what Ansley has to say about it tomorrow. There
was a really cool natural moment where Elijah interrupted one of Riley’s thoughts right at the
beat line, “pulling” her into the next beat of the scene. It’s in line with Walter’s character, so
maybe I’ll instruct them on doing more of that.
Nov 15th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Elijah & Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:15 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): N/A
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Discuss showing.
2. Finish blocking scene
3. Stumble scene
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Nov 20th: Beat by Beat work
influenced by showing notes.
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Write down and remember this blocking, especially in the end monolouges and once
Riley starts moving for once.
2. Look at Ansley’s doodle to start scheduling final performance. Does Saturday after break
work for you guys?
3. Newspaper and Book are the only props.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
I was on schedule at this one and feel like we’re back on track to give a solid
performance. The showing wasn’t the hottest (at least in my hypercritical mind). We’ve fallen
into the trap of seeing flaws in the script and distancing ourselves from it. I finished the blocking
of the scene and over the weekend I’m going to mentally woodshed ways to help them connect
to the script. I started working with Riley today on finding sense of place while still paying
attention to and connecting with Walter, and she seemed to really improve from that work.
Nov 20th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Elijah & Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:30 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): N/A
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Work beat by beat—beats 1-8
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Nov 22nd: Beat by Beat work
influenced by showing notes—beats 9 thru 16
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. REALLY GoOD WORK TODAY! I WAS SAD EARLIER BUT NOW I’M HAPPY
2. Let’s start figuring out how to transport the 2 chairs to Griffy.
3. Saturday doesn’t work for Ansley so we’re looking at Friday morning now.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
This rehearsal was a breakthrough, especially for Riley. We broke down the play beat by
beat and focused on the essentials: Hari doesn’t want Walter to leave. She figured out how to
diversify her tactics and switch gears and we were able to find humor in some of the more
overdone moments of writing. This is the first rehearsal where I’ve started to see a satisfying
end product come into focus.
Nov 22th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Riley
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: none
Rehearsal End Time: 5pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not): Elijah (Car Issues)
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Elijah was unable to get to the building, so I ran lines with Riley and left
MEMORIZE YOUR LINES OVER BREAK.
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Dec 3rd: Run
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
Elijah’s car issues were unavoidable but placed us behind a rehearsal. I’m going to trust
the 2nd half of the scene as runs approach—Elijah takes on much more of the action, and the
tactics are much more aggressive and self-explanatory. Let it percolate over break.
Dec 3rd
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Riley, Elijah
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:30 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not):
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Run the scene once to get in the swing
2. Run w/ notes
3. Mess around with last page of script and the “I don’t hate you” bit
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Dec 5th: Run again and work stuff
that is wrong.
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Lines were good. Thanks to you guys for hard work w/ that.
2. We were outside today! Practice projecting it was rough today
3. I need to find an IDS copy.
4. Kate Glaser stopped by and watched. She thought it was good.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
It was our first outside day. I’m starting to realize the extent to which we’re going to
need to work on projection. That and getting off book for the first time made the runs a little
limp, but I’m trying not to be too hard on it—as they get comfortable with not having the
scripts in their faces, the hard work will show.
Dec 5th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Riley, Elijah
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: 5:15 (5 minutes)
Rehearsal End Time: 6pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not):
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Run Scene w/ Notes
2. Work on Elijah’s monologues and set blocking
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Dec 10th: Dress rehearsal!!
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Really, Really good run today. Y’all were super connected.
2. Elijah keep working on what we did on the monologues. Root yourself more on the
grocery store one and set that blocking. The wandering can distract from the story at
times.
3. The scene will no longer be performed at the reservoir. We will be doing it on class on
the 11th.
4. The table is cut and the last few beats will now be sitting on the ground. It looks kinda
cute. Play age when you sit down.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
The run today was the first time I saw the whole play in sequence and liked it as a whole
product. We started off rehearsal by screaming in the courtyard (supported of course) at the
top of our lungs, using the echo of the space and makes the lines big enough to fill it. We
combined this with starting a line-through at a sped-up pace with the courtyard screaming. It
really acclimated them to the space and helped the pacing and flow of the scene. The biggest
challenge right now is the loose nature in Elijah’s blocking near the end. There are parts where
his natural pacing works, but there are others where I’m trying to set it and it’s not always
working. We made some headway just by drilling the tricky sections.
Dec 10th
Title of play: Sailing
Director: Ben Ballmer
Who Attended Rehearsal: Riley, Elijah
Rehearsal Start Time: 4:45pm
Break Times: none
Rehearsal End Time: 5:30pm
Late or Absent Actors (indicate if they were excused or not):
Rehearsal Breakdown—What work did you accomplish?:
1. Warm up
2. Dress!
3. Decompress and leave early
When is your Next Rehearsal and What Work is Planned?: Dec 11th: perform! Yes!
General Notes (set, props, other notes or reminders):
1. Dress was a step back. You guys lost the connection and pacing you had been nailing. It
wasn’t overtly bad, just felt a little off.
2. Go over your lines tonight and remind yourselves of the basics of each beat.
3. Who’s in control in each beat?
4. How are you getting to the total objective?
5. Then just let it sit. It’s gonna be great tomorrow.
Director Notes—Reflect on the work done. What were your goals for the rehearsal? Did you
accomplish those goals? What do you need to do at the next rehearsal? What challenges are
you experiencing? How is the work with actors going? Are you on track, behind, or ahead of
schedule? Do you need to change your rehearsal strategies? In rehearsing, what have you
learned that will add more detail to your analysis?
As I mentioned in the note above, the dress was a little off. I didn’t work it afterwards
though. I don’t want to overprepare and psyche them out, and all they need to do at this point
is relax into the lines and the scene. I’m going to run an exercise to check in with each other
before the scene tomorrow—that should help keep them focused and connected.
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