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a few December thoughts on Improvement

December 14, 2018

We just wrapped up our December rehearsals for Improvement (it’s just two months away!). I had a couple thoughts of varying degrees of consequence this week.

1.) During Linda’s “Indifference Speech” in Scene 6, she says “Our common experience is that beggars on the street or madmen who rant and tear their clothing…”

I always want this line to be “…madmen who rend and tear their clothing…”, as if communicating that they REALLY destroy the clothing, they need two verbs to convey how much they do. Also good would be “rent and tear their clothing”, but that would be different of course.

2.) In Scene 11, Junior Jr refers to a drugstore with music (line 999) in which he says Mr Payne later in their lives. A drugstore with music. I brought this up a rehearsal – does that mean there’s Muzak, or that they sell records, or that, best case scenario, there’s a live band in this drugstore?

3.) In Scene 18, Aliza as Narrator II aka Now Eleanor says, “She says to herself whenever she gets trapped now in the ‘How many of us are there’ kind of questions you have to learn to keep your mouth shut about something that is only a part of you..”. This passage always makes me think of a book Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger wrote called Jews and Words in which they give an assessment of the utility of playing that game I’m often tempted to play that goes like “did you know [famous person] is Jewish?”. Admittedly the passage in Improvement conveys a little more threat based on identity. Nevertheless. Good book to check out, their section on Akhnai’s Oven is super and taught me a lot.

4.) When we rehearse, we have a click track at 72 bpm in our ear for the entire 90 minutes. You won’t hear it on the recording or in the audience, but when I get into it, it really reinforces the idea that to me, this is music to dance to. 72 bpm is the perfect tempo for dancing. “The Supermarket” for instance. Perfect. A lot of sections of Improvement, when you hear the click, are great dance music.

It might also be useful to know about me that if pressed on the question of what kind of music do you make?, my answer is that I make dance music. This is not apparent to a lot of people but it’s 100% true in my heart and in my head. So I make dance music in the sense that Improvement is dance music, which is the truest sense.

– Dave

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 29, 2018 12:01 pm

    This is Dave again. Just wanted to say RIP Amos Oz, having just mentioned him in this post.

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