For those of you keeping track, I am just starting the rehearsal process for the play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. I’ve got a good cast, which is trick number one. But this Christmas break I am planning on blocking the show.

For you theatrical neophytes “blocking” is the term we use for the action of moving the actors around the stage. I might say, “Okay, Sir Laurence, now please cross to down left, turn to the audience, and then you may begin your speech.” Then Sir Laurence, in theory, writes the note “X DL” in his script next to the line he should move on.

That’s blocking. The scuttlebutt it that it’s called blocking because directors of the Victorian age, like W.S. Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, used blocks to represent actors on a model stage to see how they wanted the actors to move.

Well, over the last two days I have gotten as far as page two. I am absolutely stumped by this show.

I have general spaces for specific things, like a witness box and a judge’s bench. I also have areas marked for easy blocking. That means I can say things like, “Ms. Close, if you could please move to mark B, that would be lovely.” But I look at the script, and the way it’s written has rendered me utterly blocking impotent.

To top it off, as I was writing this post, I received an email from one of my actors pulling out of show. Apparently he has to move suddenly. Yes, my head exploded.

For some reason, I have a sordid history of this kind of thing happening to me. This is now my fourth show where an actor has either not accepted a role or has pulled out early in the process. I have had all kinds of unplanned crazy-making shit happen to me while directing shows, and, quite frankly, it’s becoming a bit tiresome.

So, in the next few days I need to not only plan the blocking of a really tough show, but I will also need to find a new actor.

I was hoping for a relaxing break.

Oh well…