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September 13th, 2009

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10:01 pm
There's a moment in every creative process (well, every successful creative process) where it becomes readily apparent that your little beast or baby or whatever it is that you have been working on has passed from the Conceptual and is turning into Reality. And not only that, but it's becoming Reality and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop it. That train is rolling, man. You might have been the one who got the engine warmed and primed and started on its way, but there ain't no handbrakes from now until the end of the project.

The giddiness that accompanies such a revelation can be exhilarating. Over the course of the past 48 hours, I have gotten to know this giddiness well enough that I've given it a name: It's the "Shit Just Got Real" moment. It has tremendous impact on you, this moment does. It can drive a person to use profanity in an awed tone, so there you go.

And I had thought I'd had this moment for the Big Broadcast of 1938 on Saturday when we did our second Somerville Theatre walk-thru. We stood on the open and empty stage, plotting out mic spots and band placement and imagining Foley table positions and figuring out what to do with the room we've got on the wings in front of the proscenium, especially since it's far less room than we'd estimated. We toured the Somerville's dressing rooms (which put the Orpheum's to shame) and made sure everybody got to see the load-bearing piano in the former orchestra pit (they boarded over the pit in the 1930s and decided not to move the baby grand out of the way first) and I went and claimed a bunk of my own (seriously, if I can only pull rank once as writer/director/actor in this show, let it be for this bunk -- okay, seriously, if I can only pull rank twice, let it be for this bunk and a favor to be named later...)

Later on when everybody was up in the lobby, I hopped back on the stage to think some more things out. I felt just as I did back when I was a kid at church, and I'd sneak back into the sanctuary when the service was over and hop up to the lectern on the altar and put on my own show for an empty house. (It was okay; Dad was the minister. Being a Preacher's Kid had its privileges, not the least of which was having the run of the place.) I stood at a good spot to drop a mic, turned to my right and gestured with my upstage hand at the spot exactly where the band should be. Perfect. The house lights were up and the place was empty and that's exactly when the thought hit: This is where you're going to be in a month and a half. Right here. Well, okay, maybe a few feet to the right. And there's gonna be people onstage with you, and there's gonna be people out there watching and listening, and it's all really happening.

I would say that this was the moment where Shit Just Got Real and for the next thirty-six hours I truly believed that. Up until then I was still wandering about in the Conceptual, still sitting on the T train stuck on the Longfellow Bridge in July 2008 (the original proof of concept is dated 7/22/08) and thinking up this nutball idea about a show which, if we worked it juuuust right, could mesh very neatly with Neil's wish to finally do War of the Worlds in 09.

Turns out I was wrong about that moment. The Shit Just Got Real moment actually occurred this evening during a special event at our rehearsal space where we watched a dramatization of the Welles broadcast of 1938 as well as a few episodes of Remember WENN (and wasn't it a treat to see everybody enjoying the show! Rupert Holmes needs to be vindicated here.)

The Putnam Sisters, my singing trio, had just gotten their hands on the newly-composed commercial jingle for our sponsor Byfar Coffee Syrup. After a rehearsal upstairs they came down and sang it for the rest of us and suddenly there it was in three-part harmony (and feelin') and the harmonies were tight and the jingle was catchy and everybody cheered at the end. That was the true moment of reality for me. Back on the stage, okay, sure, there was at least the feeling that you knew where you'd be in six weeks' time, but it still was all imaginary. Suddenly here I was listening to the actual jingle for the actual fake product that we'll be selling in the actual show. A piece of this little universe had really been created and here it was, all there for us to experience.

That's real. And boy is it thrilling. You'll pardon me if I use only one letter to describe that thrill:
Golly, but that was fun. Anyway. If you'll be anywhere near the Davis Square area and have a free evening on either October 29, 30 or 31st (or even a free afternoon on the 31st) then you have no reason to not come see these little universes we've created, with all the parts and all the jingles and all the destruction that'll occur. The project is well and duly Real to me; what matters now is making it Real for you.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
Oh I gots a mission for you by the way. Expect communiqué within 24 hours.
[User Picture]
Date:September 15th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
Ready to spring into action!
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Date:September 14th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
I felt the same way you did. That was such a classy move on Jess' part to have them singing as they came down the stairs. The harmony was just beautiful.

Yeah, after this weekend I feel like there's no turning back. The great thing is that everyone seems more excited and more energized about this show than any other we've done, maybe even the Orpheum.

Now we just gotta sell the show and fill those seats!

[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
That is perhaps one of the most perfect feelings in life. It clears the balance of any amount of toil and angst. There was ample reason all along.
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
I find my balance clearing happens after the show during one form of post-mortem or another. It sometimes gets lost in that "Now what do I do with all these sudden free weeknights?" panic but easily comes back once we get ahold of the recordings.

But you're so right about that vindication, when it comes. It's such a relief. I like how you've phrased it. Ample reason all along.
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
I'm feelin' it! We're gonna put on a great show!
Date:September 14th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
I'm so excited to be a part of it!
[User Picture]
Date:September 15th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
I love that moment. I've had it a couple of times and I hope to get it again.
[User Picture]
Date:September 15th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)

Awwwww shucks!

That moment was JUST as "this-shit-IS-fo-real" amazing for us Putnam Sisters! We just glow when we sing these songs in rehearsal (even the ominous martian sounds). We were so psyched to share our complete and utter enthusiasm with everyone! And even though we're all rehearsing separately right now, before we know it we'll all be altogether, rehearsing like crazy, having a blast, performing our hearts out, and loving every minute of it.

p.s. I never use this word but it's never been more appropo: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

[User Picture]
Date:September 15th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
Now to find and bottle the syrup. Muahahahahaha.

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