In the dimly lit theater several people stand on the bare stage watching the director who faces them. On the floor is a labyrinth of masking tape representing where furniture and set pieces will be. One of the actors has a pencil poised over a blue 4 x 6-inch book that contains the words she and the others present will bring to life in a few weeks.
The director speaks:
"OK, Brodie...cross left to the platform and hold downstage a step. Lloyd, counter right."
The director has just described a quick movement that will translate into about two seconds of the play's action on opening night.
Tia Odium, who plays the title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," now recites her lines, as she takes two or three steps to the. audience's right and stops in front of the taped lines on the floor, writing "X-L, hold DS of plat." in the little blue book as she walks. Jim Breslin, playing Teddy Lloyd in "Brodie," takes a step to his right as she passes.
That's just the beginning. Only after this technical direction is understood by the cast can the actual rehearsal begin.
Each actor must become completely familiar with his character, his movements and his lines. So familiar in fact, that each word and movement literally convinces anyone watching that this is the first time this have ever happened.
Over and over and over again...some actors in leading roles will stay on stage between two and four hours during rehearsal if a critical scene is being worked on. Then come the "tech" rehearsals as they're called, where the actors spend the rehearsal time standing under scores of hot lights, while the stage crew adjusts and focuses them to achieve the desired dramatic effects.
Finally, dress rehearsals begin. These rehearsals are treated as actual performances by the cast and crew, and are usually done with full costume and make-up. The tension mounts with each formal run-through-as do the superstitions.
The majority of the work is behind the cast and crew of "Brodie" now, but the opening night jitters still await. All the hundreds of hours of work spent in putting this production together will be put to the test next Friday night.
And so, in the time-honored tradition of the theater we leave the following wish:
Break a leg, "Brodie," you've earned it.