Volume 1 Book 9 Episode 8
of Living In The Bonus Round
the online diary of Steve Schalchlin
Life's a Beach (and then you open).

Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

Vicki sees something she likes.

An Online Diary of the
1998 Laguna Playhouse Production

featuring Jim Brochu, Amy Coleman, P.M. Howard, Michele Mais, Bob Stillman, Joey Traywick, Positoids, NuBiHes and lavish amounts of love.

Part Eight: "Tech Heck"

Laguna Beach.
The Day Before Previews.

There's a certain kind of atmosphere surrounding THE LAST SESSION that has won converts in each of its incarnations. It began in a living room, introduced in a nightclub with a cleverly hidden choir that came out of nowhere and workshopped in a little black box theatre on Melrose Ave.

Since I played Gideon in that production, though, it was hard to know if people were being affected by the piece itself or was the fact that they were looking at a man who was still being fed intravenously for 14 hours a day.

For those of you who are new to the Bonus Round, the picture on my index page is from that workshop production. When Mark Bakalor was designing the index page, he asked me what that was on my arm. It's a bandage I wore to protect the port of a tube that had been run up my arm and near my heart. You can read all about my epic adventures (which were really nothing compared to some of my friends), in Book One which ends on the last night of the run, sans bandage and tube.
The Zephyr had 88 seats on risers on three sides. It was like we were all in the pit together. (And "Jim" the engineer came out from behind the audience and crossed to the stage.) The next incarnation saw us in a real basement, the John Houseman Theatre -- 50 max? 75? Black cinder block walls. 4 actors on stools and a guy playing a keyboard. Jim Brochu in the booth. 4 performances.

The Currican was 70 seats but with a very professional sound system. Andrew Miller was a brilliant Blue Man Group performer who wanted something with passion. Bob Stillman came on board to take over the music (after a friend of his sent him to us), and a brilliant little ensemble moved from the 70 seat house to the 197 seat 47th Street Theatre.

Each time, the struggle has been to preserve the integrity of the music from house to house. The Currican was low and flat. It rocked. Some people thought we were too loud there. Truth is it kinda varied. But the goal was to make sure it was "clear." Loud or soft, it had to be clear.

At each incarnation, there was always at least ONE person who said, "I liked it better before..." And I understand that. In theatre the house is just as large a factor in the overall goings on as the cast or the book or the songs.

Andy Barnicle, Artistic Director here in Laguna came up behind me after the show last night and commented on how much he loved how we were able to also rock out the little 47th Street Theatre. It was tall and narrow with speakers up the side of the wall. His goal, overall for this production, apparently, is to see it rock out.

So, as we head into previews, with the cast settled into their roles and everyone getting used to the newer, bigger room, we find ourselves challenged to make this production just as effective as all the others. And it's not about production value. Just because we have a more lavish production does not mean we'll have better show. I have no doubt there will be those who will say they loved the Zephyr best or the 47th Street best or the Currican best. They always do.

Andy also said with a wink, "It's hard to hold the preview audiences, by the way. You can expect 50 to 75 walk-outs. We've just gotten used to it and don't take it as an indication of anything."

Wow, I thought. Such a challenge! I never thought I'd be gauging my success by how many people DON'T walk out of my show, but I guess it'd probably be the most HONEST gauge of how entertaining and compelling we are here at the Laguna Playhouse.

Anyway, we're late to get to the theatre but wanted you to give you this quick update and show you the new official production stills.

Gideon learns Buddy's little secret.

When You Care.

 The rest of them are at STILLS.


 We lose Shawn tomorrow. His grandmother is not well and he's going back home to comfort his mom on Wednesday. :(

We took some awesome pictures last night and will be sharing them soon.

Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

The official stills by Still Productions | Pics by Steve | Cast pics by Steve | Fun pics
LA Times Review | TLS fan club page with pictures | L.A. critics quotes page
"From Hate To Humanity" | TLS Fan Chat Room | BennyTour fan pics

All photos and text are © 1998 by Steve Schalchlin.