December 23, 2006

The Vertical Hour

Julianne Moore"right"/ />All this week, I've been working on The Vertical Hour. I've been doing other things as well but as far as work is concerned, that's where I've been. Since the previews, the director Sam Mendes changed a couple of things. When I first saw it during previews, Julianne Moore opened the show with a stunningly boring and terribly soft-spoken monologue which just didn't work. Mostly everyone complained that they couldn't hear her in the beginning and often that week, I would hand out headsets in the dark to people who decided after missing her monologue that they needed them for the rest of the show. Now, Bill Nighy opens the show with a monologue from later in the play and they moved her monologue to the middle of the first act. It works much better. Although I don't understand the purpose of the monologues at all. They don't really add much to the show.

He does well on stage. No matter how he's directed to stand, he always manages to turn and face the audience whenever he delivers a line. Julianne Moore however, follows her blocking blindly delivering lines stage right and stage left causing ever so many complaints from the audience. I must have heard the following 100 times this week.
"Why doesn't she project?"
"She doesn't know how to project."
"I can't hear anything she's saying."
"Every time she turns I miss what she's saying."
"The acoustics in this theater are so bad."

The acoustics at The Music Box theater are fine. It's the sound design that's bad. Why do they NEVER MIKE the actors in straight plays? I will never understand the logic behind this. If I were a playwright who'd managed to get a play staged on Broadway, I would want the audience to hear every word. But no. Instead. Some old fashioned notion about stage plays holds true. People pay upwards to $200 for tickets to some plays. Every effort should be made to make sure that these customers are getting their money's worth - and NOT RELY ON MY COMPANY to make up the deficit.

And it would also helped if Julianne Moore would learn how to project. Everyone else in the play with her manages to make themselves heard, in spite of the miking situation, except for her.

Did I mention, it's a really good play?

The second change may or may not be Ms. Moore's costumes.

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