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Off, book!

A couple of days ago, when my Director asked if we had any production or schedule type questions, and I asked for an off-book date. She said that we should definitely be off-book by the 26th. That is Opening Night, you see. A little joke.

My preference is to have a deadline, some date to prepare for, after which any actor clutching a script will be scorned and derided. I have been in shows where actors were simply Not Allowed to clutch a script after that date; I don’t approve of that. So, I suppose there’s some sense in being unwilling to declare a deadline you are not going to enforce. Still, there has to be a time.

Now, as for myself and the Duke of Buckingham, we both carry around a folder. And, in fact, it’s the same folder. Although, presumably, what’s in the folder is a trifle different—the Duke probably would not carry around a printout of everything he is going to say for the next two hours. He might, if he could, but most likely he does not.

So. I found myself, at that rehearsal, carrying around a prop notebook with an actual script. And although I am mostly off-book, I mean, off-book enough to be off-book, but not yet off-book enough to get all the lines exactly correct, the temptation to open it up to the correct page and take just a little peek was overwhelming. Just, you know, while somebody else is talking, open the folder and glance down at the page and back up, refreshing my memory that I address the Queen as Madam not Highness or that it is for shame if not for charity and not vice versa. And we’re not past some deadline for off-book-ness, so it’s not, you know, cheating. There’s no scorn or derision. There’s only the beginnings of the formation of a bad habit.

Therefore Your Humble Blogger, being a Good Lad, has transferred the sides to a new folder, a new blue folder, and put a bunch of random pages out of the recycle bin into the black folder I will be carrying properly. I will probably want to make up something that looks good (for mid-70s values of good) before we go up, but the key thing is to get the book out of my hands so I get used to being without it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,