Friday and Saturday brought the chorus to the stage

Friday and Saturday brought the chorus to the stage, 30 voices strong and packing a punch. Here they conjure up nighttime┬á mob revelry on the streets of Northampton in ‘The Swinging of the Bones.’ Thanks to Mallorie Chernin both for the photo and for her inspiring work as chorus master.

Halligan suffering a fracture

Things have gone so well so far – stunning cast and assured and visionary leadership on the musical and staging ends – that it was starting to feel like an opera production without drama, at least internally. That came to an end today with our Halligan suffering a fracture in his left foot in a stumble on the streets of Amherst. Most of the role does not depend on great mobility, with Halligan in jail or in flashback. An exception is when Bridie leads him back to Ireland for a six minute dance sequence. We’ll still have Keith’s magnificent voice, but the dance will need a plan B. Stay tuned to this space for developments.

Transformation of the day

This morning the motorcycle cover of Suzette our department administrator was reported missing from outside the hall. It seemed inconceivable that any of our lovely cast or chorus would have walked off with it. Following a fruitless search, it surfaced onstage, rolled up in a tight bundle as Finola’s baby. It’s been duly returned, but now we have to come up quickly with a replacement baby in time for tonight’s rehearsal.

Conductor and composer

Yesterday the composer got to stand in for our felicitous orchestra-pianist Jerry Noble, a good one-day solution at best. It must be conceded that the person who wrote the music has too many pre-conceived ideas and alternate realities to be a fully reliable executor of the conductor’s interpretation. Here the maestro sets things on the right course.

Daley and Halligan

A wonderful start – over the past two days we have worked through three scenes and gotten nearly everyone onto the stage. Amy Johnson arrives from Cincinnati tomorrow to complete the cast, then the chorus shows up on Thursday. The strange onstage friendship of Daley and Halligan is beginning to blossom, with a lot of bracing humor arising out of their predicament.

Rehearsals Start

Rehearsals start today! First we have a look at the latest sets and costumes and welcome our Production Stage Manager, Sam Gambaccini. Then it’s over to Buckley to put Scene 3, where Cheverus returns crestfallen form the Attorney General’s, then resolves to defy him by going to Northampton, onto the stage.

Four timps

Four timps in a box – the orchestra pit at the Academy is a tight squeeze, and we had a moment of anxiety the other day wondering about our plans to put timpani in the side box. The part is written for four drums, and as you can see, the covers fit. Furthermore, our timpanist Benny Koonyevsky has determined that three will do, if necessary. We’ll need three strong people to hoist them over the railing.

Giant tombstone

  1. Giant tombstone with scrim – actually rather light and airy.

Angel’s wing

Angel’s wing under construction at Smith scene shop.

Mannequin village

– Emily Dunn and her wonderful team of Beryl Brachman and Catherine Kotlowski have been busy this week. The look of the farming community of Northampton 1806 is taking shape…