The latest and in a fascinating series of dispatches from inside the rehearsal process for Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, written by the show’s director (and Cal Shakes’ Artistic Director) Jonathan Moscone.
Thursday August 13, 2009
Last night: first preview. I was oddly calm. I’m usually not. Those who know me were a bit stunned by my apparent mellowness. I don’t know why I was like that. But I think it has something to do with the feeling of amazement at this play, this script. Beckett is brilliant. It seems WAY OUT THERE, but in reality it isn’t. It’s very real. Almost painfully real at times. And the poetry of his sparse language is a genuine pleasure to listen to.
But none of this would matter without Patty and Dan who took the play to a whole new level last night. It was full. Of life, humor, passion, love, wit. I was taken aback. I would have expected tentativeness on the part of the performance—after all it’s the first time in front of a group of people. But no. No no. Patty took to like a fish to water. If that is the right phrase. She paced herself beautifully and found new stuff even in performance. Wow. Cannot believe her. She is astounding.
Dan has apparently so little to do in the play, but his effect is devastating, especially in the last scene, which may be one of the great pieces of writing ever. It’s impossible to describe. It needs to be seen to be felt, to be understood, to be affected by.
I look forward to tonight, perhaps a little more nervous than last night cause it went so well. I’m a little “waiting for the other shoe to drop” kind of person. Maybe it’s my Catholicism. Or just my neuroses.
That’s a funny word when you see it written.
Favorite line from the play: “Put a little jizz into it.” Jizz. Ha.