Today was our first two show weekday. It was a rainy day in Manhattan, which is in some ways a bonus for us-- what better place to be than inside a warm theater on a dreary day like today? We were coming off a huge (and hugely responsive) house on Tuesday night (due in part to the promise of free booze post-show at our "40 & Under" party), so I'm sure it was a bit of an adjustment for the cast to play for a smaller, more subdued matinee audience. However, the actors didn't seem too thrown. The audience, though smaller, was quite attentive and appreciative. Unlike some plays, the laughs in GRACELAND seem to come at different places in every performance. Ellen writes very few traditional jokes with set-ups and punch lines, however the play is full of humor.
Each audience has it's own personality; some are drawn to the dark humor of Sam's character, others to goofiness of Miles, others to the interplay between the siblings, and so on... For the actors, the unpredictability of the audience response is both challenging (tough to know when you should be ready to hold for a laugh) and exciting (keeps you on your toes, so to speak). At this stage in the preview process, the play is pretty much set in terms of text and blocking. The next few performances are all about refining the rhythms so that the actors can feel uber-confident for Monday's opening night!
Jenny Mercein is the Assistant Director for GRACELAND.