The Fabulous Lipitones Chapter Two by Bill Murphey

Posted on January 31, 2013

Well, January is done. It once seemed like an eternity before rehearsals would start, and now we're only about a month out. I'm really looking forward to working with Tom Key again, and with Glenn Rainey for the first time. There is a fourth role in the show which, last I heard, still hasn't been cast. I don't think I'm giving any spoilers here, since the graphics for the advertising and the blurb for the show on the website, as well as Tom's curtain speeches all mention that the fourth character in the play is a Pakistani Sikh! Finding just the right actor for the role is proving problematic. Tom has long been a proponent of casting actors who choose to make Atlanta their home. There just aren't as many Sikh actors who sing high tenor here in town as you might think. So the search has been expanded both geographically and culturally, and I can't wait to find out where it leads.
    Over the holidays, director Justin Anderson and I went to a Christmas concert at Johns Creek High School. It featured several men's choruses and a couple of quartets. Their styles varied, but each had incredibly tight harmonies and imaginative vocals that amazed and delighted me. It also kind of scared the crap out of me. These men have been singing together for years, in most cases, and the four of us will just have a couple of weeks to achieve the same sound. Having worked with Michael Monroe before, though, and knowing his work ethic, he's not going to let us get on the stage if we're anything less than ready. I also know Glenn and Tom well enough to know that they're not going to be satisfied with a half-baked sound either. And I'll put in some work, too, probably.
    It's time now to get started on my lines. I'm not a particularly fast study. I've always hated learning lines; it's never easy for me. Some actors roll their eyes when they get asked the inevitable question, “How do you learn all those lines?!” I think it's a completely valid question, and I don't have a really good answer for it. We all have different methods. It comes easy to some people; not for me. Repetition and rehearsal. I also write down all my lines on index cards. My cue (the line leading up to mine) is on one side, and my line is on the other. Flash cards, if you will. The writing of the line is my first step in memorizing, and the repeated running of them hammers them in. I can carry the cards around with me and whip them out when I have a minute. I started doing that a couple of years ago and it seems to help. If I can come into the rehearsal period already off-book – that is, with all my lines already learned – I'm going to have a much easier time of it, and can devote my energies to establishing dynamics with the other actors, developing my character, and learning the music. Precious time is lost if you spend too many rehearsals with your head buried in your script. We're going to have such a good time. I'm so ready to get started. You're coming to see it, right? Right?