On the Road With Laramie





Mercedes Herrero, Mark Berger, Kelli Simpkins, and Scott Barrow — exhausted and waiting around

Twenty minutes of a 12-hour tech rehearsal might go like this. Our stage manager, Samone Weissman, says, “OK, let’s take it from Jonas Slonaker’s line, ‘It really broke my spirit when they refused to print my letter.’ Greg Pierotti, is that where your chair is supposed to be?” “No, sorry.” I move my chair six inches to the right. Moisés Kaufman speaks over the god mike (a microphone that can be heard throughout the theater): “Gregsky, move the chair back. It’s better in the other place.” I move it back. “Thank you. Kelli, Mercedes, will you please shut up and focus. Thank you.” Samone: “And on my go please ... and go ahead.” I start to speak, “It really broke my spirit ... ” “And hold please, sorry, we are going to need to start over. Hold a minute.”

Then we wait around for five minutes while we hear a whispered argument happening at the tech table. The light levels go up then back down. An original sound cue is played. Then an Emmylou Harris song. Then another country song by someone I don’t know. Moisés  says, “Gregsky, move your chair back to the other spot again.” I do. Nothing happens. Someone says, “Standing by,” so I get ready to say my line again. Nothing happens. After a few minutes, Jeremy Bobb, who is hilarious, starts talking in a funny voice. People start to laugh and lose focus. We break off into side conversations. After another minute, Samone comes on the god mike and says, “Guys, could you focus, please, we really have to get this done.” I get all diva-ish, “Samone, we’re waiting on you guys. We are ready when you are. I am just waiting for your go.” “I understand that, Greg, but we are just a few minutes away from a break, and we need to get this done, so if you could all just keep it together.” Jeremy Bobb yells, “Keep it together, people!” in his funny voice. Everyone laughs. Samone says, “Standing by.”

Moe Schell, our long-suffering costume designer, who has already been clothes shopping six times today, comes onstage with a new sweater and says, “Kelli, we want to see this look on you — can you put it over that shirt?” Kelli starts to change into the sweater and Samone says, “Moe, we’re ready to go and waiting on you.” Moisés on the god mike: “Moe, how much longer do you need? Can you do this later?” Moe says, “You just told me you wanted to see this.” Samone says, “Actually folks, we need to take a 10-minute break. I’m sorry, Moises. We are on a 10. Ladies and gentlemen, it is 8:55, and we will be back at 9:05. We will resume with Jonas Slonaker’s line, ‘It really broke my spirit when they refused to print my letter.’ And after having stood around for 20 minutes to no net effect, everyone heads downstairs to eat chocolate.

Tags: Theater