The weather in Chicago, which has been unseasonably warmish since my arrival last week, is finally starting to get disagreeable, and it rained yesterday morning. So what? Well, it happens that while rehearsals for the Court Theatre’s production of Satchmo at the Waldorf normally run from ten a.m. to four p.m., the specific starting and stopping times can change from day to day. That’s one of the reasons why Amanda Weener-Frederick, our omnicompetent stage manager, sends out via e-mail a call sheet after each rehearsal reminding us of when to show up and what we’ll be working on the following day.
Unfortunately, the call sheet doesn’t work if you don’t remember what it says, and so I marched out of Our Girl’s apartment sans umbrella (I neglected to bring one to Chicago) at 9:20 yesterday morning, having forgotten that Wednesday’s rehearsal started at eleven, not ten. I arrived shortly thereafter at the Court’s rehearsal hall, whose door, not surprisingly, was locked. As the rain pitter-pattered on my bare head, I emitted a twelve-letter word that is spoken out loud sixteen times in Satchmo. Then I turned around, stepped into a deep puddle, and repeated the word in question, only louder. Vexed well beyond belief, I made my way to a coffee shop two blocks away, only to discover that it didn’t have wi-fi. This time I kept my feelings to myself.
Having no good alternative, I sat down, ordered a café mocha, pulled out my MacBook Air, and started working on an essay about tap dancing that I’m writing for Commentary. Before I knew it, an hour had flown by. I paid my tab, went back to the rehearsal hall, told my tale to my greatly amused colleagues, and went back to work.
That’s how theater is made.