Runthrough went very well last night. I was in the Cherry Lane, and I spent a lot of the run experimenting with levels and acoustics...the theater has great sound, and I found I can pitch my voice down to conversational whispering and still reach everyone. It's a great tool, but all the experimenting and variance took some of the tension out of the run--it ran sharp, and the moments landed, but it didn't have the right frisson of hyperness and precision that makes it really sing. These are things I'm happy to work out before previews start, and the show is showing the right combination of strength and flexibility...I'm suspecting it will continue to evolve as it always has, changing every performance. Playing without a script is a little like doing tightrope without a net, and while the penalties for failure are very high, the extra danger pays itself off in discoveries and increased alertness. Once you try it, it's hard to go back.
This is on my mind because I ran into a guy last night after the show who asked if any of the show was "real." I thought he maybe didn't believe something specific, but it turns out upon questioning that he just assumed I was an "actor" and made the whole thing up. I told him no, I do shows about my own life. He was shocked to discover my name really was Michael Daisey, that I did work at Amazon, etc. He still couldn't believe that the show had no script, and asked to look at the outline, which I normally feel shy about but I was so thrown by his disbelief that I showed it to him. He said, "This is written all crazy!" and I explained that it's just talking points, and that the show evolves and changes, etc. More than anything he couldn't believe it turned out it was real. I think I blew his mind.
Across my sleepy street this morning a film crew is setting up to immortalize something at the church across our street. I am still amazed at the amount of filming I encounter in New York...I bet it is even more prevalent in LA, but the density of NYC means you run into it daily. I wonder what they're filming?