August 10. . . Murals, Madness and GASP!

August 10. . . Murals, Madness and GASP!

We need a cool photo for The Studio@620 to use on their website for the Madness reading. The amazing dance photographer Tom Kramer volunteers his services, our choreographer Paula Kramer says we need people peeking out of a forest, and Helen Hansen French suggests the lovely Palm Garden in Northshore Park.

Not many of our large cast can make it to downtown St Pete at 8 a.m. on a hot Tuesday morning, but the intrepid Eugenie Bondurant, Helen Hansen French and Tonia Krueger brave the heat and gamely pose in the palms with Paula and I as Tom directs us.

Actors and dancers are great sports, standing on one leg and lying in the mulch. Paula has a striped umbrella and Eugenie just happens to have a big yellow ball in her backseat, so those become props, along with the pile of hats and scarves that Paula’s brought.

Thanks to everybody’s willingness, and a couple of palm branches Paula talked a maintenance guy out of as he was trimming, Tom gets some lovely shots and the umbrella looks lovely backlit by the morning sun.

Paula and I go through the first half of the Madness script, scouting for props – and of course make changes to the movement as we’re working. For a script I thought was very simple and low-tech, there are more props than I realized – bolts of cloth and ladders and umbrellas, red silk ribbons and a brandy glass.

I’m struggling to schedule a table read so that everyone can meet each other and our dancers and musicians can hear the script. But with 7 actors, 4 dancers, 2 musicians, a director and a choreographer, it’s tough to get everybody in the same room at the same time. After many emails, we find a date when almost everyone can make it. It’s a relief that with some juggling of schedules, our workshop cast is set.

In the meantime, Matt and I are writing scripts for the next St Pete Arts Alliance mural audio tour. Once again, it’s the most challenging writing assignment I’ve had, trying to describe huge abstract murals for visually-impaired visitors, and for anyone who’d like to find out more about the stories behind the artwork.

Helen Hansen French and I meet Margaret Murray on the steps of the Museum of Fine Arts to reconnoiter before bringing Air-Earth-Fire-Water to the MFA for an outdoor show during the SPF Festival in October. Helen gets terrific new ideas about the staging as we explore the wide front steps and giant pillars, and the lovely arcing colonnades on either side.

We get jazzed about museum performances, and talk in the parking lot afterwards, buzzing with ideas.

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