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LESTER PEARSON
Swift caribou? No, that won't do.
A loon? (Aside) won't fly in Saskatoon.
A noble beaver on a rocky crag--
That's it!

CHORUS OF LEGISLATIVE AIDES
               --what, Mike?

LESTER PEARSON
(Pianissimo) A vision of our flag!

-from DIEFENBAKER! A Canadian Musical, by Darren Nichols and Richard Smith-Jones

 

Rehearsal notes, 4 Feb 07

Inform Richard that the stage is not in fact built to hold a chorus of thirty Mounties on horseback

Try not to think about why he's wearing that horrible scarf

Jesus, that's Darren's scarf; are they sleeping together?

Convince Darren that new fire safety regulations mean no more fucking pyrotechnics, ever

Forge fire marshal letterhead? Ask Anna

Personally destroy all pyrotechnic capabilities after hours tonight

Ask Richard what he means by "custom-built fog machine," ask re: budget

 

Rehearsal notes, 10 Feb 07

Inform them once AGAIN re: Mounties on stage

Nope, fog machines can't do that

Ask re: lighting/sound cues for finale

For example, according to script, final number begins with Diefenbaker alone downstage center, lit by a spotlight while he sings "Once Your Dief, Once Your Chief (But No More)" until the Angel of History is flown in over the audience, then blackout as they embrace.

But Richard keeps referring to the finale as "Springtime for Canada," which is not in the script, and seems to think it contains both a kick line and a rotating stage, which is not in the budget; clarify.

Also, ask Darren what he means when he notes in the script that the lighting cues for the finale "should be immediately obvious to anyone possessing the slightest familiarity with the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin."

 

To do, 10 Feb 07

Get quote for cost of stage reinforcement for the fucking Mounties. Ask Anna if

Include cost of hiring stagehand

I am not shoveling horseshit again

So help me God

Never, ever let Richard and Darren into the lighting booth alone together

Disinfect entire lighting booth

Buy more bourbon; forget everything you may or may not have glimpsed in the lighting booth this afternoon

 

Rehearsal notes, 17 Feb 07

Costuming note: if this is winter in Ottawa, why is Olive Diefenbaker wearing a fur-trimmed bikini?

Clarify: the RCMP does not actually lend out Mounties for stage productions; you need to hire actors to play the Mounties

They also don't just lend out their uniforms

Not even for a "patriotic musical experience"

Explain to Richard that

Explain again that

Bludgeon Richard with spare wrench

Provide tech budget for Richard's letter to Minister of Culture asking her to "loan out some Mounties."

 

Rehearsal notes, 21 Feb 07

Someone should talk to Darren about the duel--

Duels, plural

First of all, we don't have the budget for cannons

And while it's not my job to comment on historical accuracy, Pearson and Diefenbaker definitely did not settle the flag debate with a duel, and I don't personally buy the explanation that dueling is simply a metaphor for "manly struggle" in politics as in life

Also, why did they give that monologue to the ghost of Wilfrid Laurier, and why is he on roller skates? (Don't actually ask; just clarify union regulations re: liability and roller skates on stage)

Try to never again think of the phrase "manly struggle," especially in relation to Darren Nichols and/or Richard Smith-Jones

Try especially to forget that you overheard Richard and Darren giggling and repeating said phrase in a locked dressing room

Replenish bourbon supply

 

Rehearsal notes, 25 Feb 07

Schedule extra rehearsals for cast to learn new finale

Which is apparently now "Springtime for Canada"

Inform Richard that rotating stage is still not in the budget

Find or cut a maple leaf gobo

Clarify how fog machines actually work; am increasingly convinced that Richard is very confused on this

NO NO NO YOU CANNOT LOWER A HORSE AND ITS RIDER ONTO THE STAGE ON THE PULLEY SYSTEM

THIS IS NOT HAPPENING

 

Ok, let's give them five minutes and list some calming things:

Swans.

Properly coiled sound cables.

The bourbon supply you keep in the lighting booth.

Gaff tape, in bulk.

Competent electricians.

Your lucky wrench.

Hockey.

The ever-present possibility that certain men might be strangled by their own scarves and/or ties.

The increasing possibility that they might strangle each other.


(25 Feb, 2:30pm)

Note that rehearsal ended early when Darren ordered Richard to leave the theatre "and take the fucking kick line with him."

Ask if this means we're back to the original finale

But wait a few days before asking

Current plan: take Frank and Cyril up on their offer to get me drunk "anywhere that's not the theatre bar, anytime you need it, dear."

In fact, avoid theatre bar for rest of season; have seen Richard sobbing on pool table enough for one lifetime

 

Rehearsal notes, 26 Feb 07

Tell Richard that Darren cannot continue to work under these circumstances and simply cannot tolerate--Maria, I want to see every single word I'm saying transcribed right there in your notes, is that clear? Good.--Darren cannot tolerate this disrespect for the integrity of his artistic vision, and will not have Richard in the theatre until he hears an apology for his outrageous slander of this production and for his concerted efforts to undermine my authority with the cast, exclamation point!

Tell Richard that Lester Pearson will NOT, capital N-O-T NOT join the kick line, and that decision is final.

Tell Richard that Darren is trying to portray the depth, complexity, and inner conflict of a great Canadian, not simply parade the man on stage like those tarted-up Mounties that Richard seems to find so personally, underscore that, compelling.

Tell Richard that Darren is wounded, deeply wounded by his implication that the choreography of the horses' entrance from stage left is not theatrically significant.

Tell Richard that Darren needs his scarf back.


Tell Darren that Richard apologizes for his "overexcitement" about the kick line, and also in the kick line, and that he hopes Adam didn't hurt himself too badly in the fall.

Tell Darren that Richard is "so sorry for everything, it was a sex thing."

(Note to self: hire intern to transcribe messages in case of future artistic disputes. Replenish bourbon supply.)

Tell Darren that Richard was high at the time, and also very hungry, because Anna always used to be in charge of snacks in the office and now she's gone.

Ask Darren if he knows where the snacks are.

Tell Darren that Richard would like to meet him in the costume shop after rehearsal tonight.

(launder all costumes tomorrow, especially Mountie uniforms.)

_________

March 4, 2007 at 12:34 AM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

 

Hi Anna,

Hope everything's ok with you! I'm not even sure what you're up to-- you back from Bolivia? I know things ended up a little awkward between us and then there was all the fallout after Lear... I just had a little favour to ask, you know, if you happen to have a minute.

So, you know when Richard gets one of his ideas? And you try to tell him that there isn't the budget, or that it's physically impossible, or that it's too likely to maim the audience, and he just... doesn't listen? Did you ever figure out a way to deal with that? I don't mean to drag you back into all this New Burbage business, but I just thought, you know, maybe you'd have some advice.

Thanks.

Maria


_________

March 4, 2007 at 6:47 AM

From: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

To: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

 

Hi Maria,

Oh, it's so good to hear from you! And yes, I'm back in Toronto, doing some grantwriting for a little project or two, that kind of thing.

As for Richard... Oh dear. That bad, eh? Well, I usually tried to emphasize what the funders and corporate sponsors expected, but I hear the festival's putting on a new musical, and when it comes to musicals, well... I really don't know if anything can get through to him.

At least Darren would never let him get too close to the artistic side of the musical, so maybe you can play them off each other? That's what I always tried to do-- find their deepest insecurities, and drive your wedge right in! You should be able to turn them against each other easily enough.

Hope that helps!

Best,

Anna

 

_________

March 5, 2007 at 10:16 PM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

 

No luck- they're co-authoring.

_________

March 6, 2007 at 6:42 AM

From: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

To: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

 

Hi Maria,

Oh God.

-Anna


_________

March 6, 2007 at 11:27 PM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

 

It's called DIEFENBAKER! A Canadian Musical. (They insist on the exclamation point.)

_________

March 7, 2007 at 6:42 AM

From: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

To: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

 


Hi Maria,

Oh God.

So it's true? They ARE sleeping together? I mean, that's what I heard; you know, it's a small world and all and I didn't believe it at first, but honestly, it all makes sense--

And it's horses, isn't it? I mean, in the production? I always had a few questions about Darren, you know?

-Anna

 

_________

March 8, 2007 at 1:05 AM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

 

THIRTY MOUNTIES ONSTAGE ON HORSEBACK

A HORSE LOWERED FROM THE CEILING ON A REINFORCED PULLEY SYSTEM

FOG MACHINES PRODUCING CLOUDS OF RED AND WHITE FOG SHAPED LIKE MAPLE LEAVES

A FUR-TRIMMED BIKINI

THREE DUELS

ONE OF THE NUMBERS IS CALLED "SASKATCHEWAN-NA, YOU BETCHA WANNA (VOTE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE)"

THEY KEEP TRYING TO SNEAK INTO THE LIGHTING BOOTH TOGETHER AFTER HOURS

WITH DARREN WEARING ONE OF THE MOUNTIE COSTUMES

 

_________

March 8, 2007 at 6:48 AM

From: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

To: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

 

Hi Maria,

But fog machines can't do that, can they?

-Anna


_________

March 8, 2007 at 7:02 AM

From: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

To: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

 

Hi Maria,

I mean, I didn't mean to discount the rest of it; that all sounds perfectly horrendous. But that fog machine thing was just going to drive me crazy until I asked!

-Anna

P.S. Do you have a free night to come to Toronto? I think I need to buy you a drink.

 

_________

March 8, 2007 at 4:36 PM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)



Shit, I wish I could, but the horses are arriving tomorrow and we have to turn the parking lot into a stable somehow, and I'm fairly sure Richard hasn't bothered with any of the permits or anything--

Oh, fuck that. I am a competent professional, and I am not shoveling shit for Richard Smith-Jones ever again.

I'll drive over tonight.

Maria

_________

March 8, 2007 at 5:48 PM

From: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

To: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

 

Hi Maria,

Oh, good for you!

You know, that's pretty much what I used to tell myself every morning when I worked at New Burbage-- like one of those affirmation things they always tell you to repeat into the mirror. Well, in my case, the shit-shoveling was mostly metaphorical, but you know.

See you soon!

Best,

Anna

_________

March 8, 2007 at 6:03 PM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Anna Conroy (anna.conroy@gmail.com)

 

MOSTLY metaphorical?!

 

_________

March 9, 2007 at 2:14 AM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Richard Smith-Jones (executivedirector@newburbage.ca)

 

deaR BIG DICK

I hope i.m not INTERRUPTING anthingn in the lighting bpoth or Claire's dressing room or anywhere ELsE but I am DONE with your horseshit, literal and metaphorical, DONE. Ftom now on you can tell someone else to build you a fog machine or beg the government for spare Mounties or listen to you sing JESEUS DO YOU EVER STOP SINGING. I’m in Toronto, with Anna, DRIKNING, and I’m going to work for her now, because she is starting her own company and you can GO FUCK YOURSEFL or whoever else you want bwaucase it!s not my lighting booth anymre, you jackass.

And one moer thing: how does a sleazy, sniveling, rat-faced, little middle manager dropped into a festival in a forgotten spot in the ass end of Ontario decide to write a musical--

THE WORST MUSICAL I HAVE EVER SEEN, MIGHT I ADD, AND I WAS ONCE ASTAGEHAND IN A COMMUNTY THEATRE PRODUTCION OF STARLIGHT EXPRESS--

Don’t asnswer that, whatever, Anna is buying me another drink because I suer as hell need it after years of your bullshhit, and you can tell Darren to go fuck himself, too. I QUIT.

FUck off,

Maria

_________

March 9, 2007 at 10:57 AM

From: Maria (stagemanager@newburbage.ca)

To: Richard Smith-Jones (executivedirector@newburbage.ca)



Dear Richard,

I realise that my previous email was rather unprofessional, and I regret that. However, my resignation stands.

Best of luck with previews.

Maria