Finally, at long last, yesterday we began building our set! Bruce K and I started with the roof. I know that hardly seems possible – but it was the most complicated of our tasks. We designed and built a roof that sits on 2 walls which are adjacent to each other at a right angle. The walls are part of a building which serves for exteriors for outside scenes and interiors for inside scenes. It is a clever design that I saw a version of on the internet from a Naples FL production of the show. 

Bruce K paints the most excellent roof piece for Almost, Maine

The difficulty is in the cantilevering of the ridge piece so that it will still support the rafters. We had sort of built it in the planning and cutting stage, but had never had the thing together and when we constructed it, by the grace of God – it held!

How it stays up is a closely guarded secret!

Bruce K painted it black. Then we moved it off the rolling platform we used to size it and started covering the rafters with tar paper. Next we will cover it with a white masking paper so that the snow (quilting) we will put on top of it all will stay whiter looking. Quite a process but the effect should be impressive.

So the building has begun! I am so glad to get started. We will need every minute of time we can squeeze into the project to get it done as we have planned.

We also built on the scenes – at rehearsal last night. It was the first night that the actors were “Off Book”. They have memorized their lines, but they are never quite there at first – part of the process. We went through about half the scenes and some were in surprisingly good shape for that new situation. I try to be kind to actors in this circumstance. Actors work hard on memorizing and it doesn’t come easy – especially the transfer from homework and car recitations to the rehearsal stage. It takes time. I always tell them way in advance what day they will be off book. It’s a target on the schedule.

Actors get pretty frustrated sometimes with the complications of turning the written word into something that just comes out of their character’s mouth. There is no easy method – everyone has their own way. In my method I have a special time and area of my home where I can get it done most easily. I most always learn the lines in the primary stages by getting up early and after getting a cup of coffee getting directly into the process. I find if I think about anything else before starting it will diminish the effect. I also have a quiet room with no other disturbances that I sit/lie in. Finally I work in 40-60 minute periods. I’ll work a page or two, get another cup of coffee. Take a break and start again. Once I have sort of learned the lines I can go into most any quiet place and run them. I almost always have to say them aloud and I have to be in a quiet environment. I have seen actors sit in a busy room learning lines and I really do not see how they do it.

More set building and scene building today. It’s getting done, slowly – but that’s the way I expected it to be.