Tony Award-winning playwright/Offender David Henry Hwang (M. BUTTERFLY) is currently in previews for his new play KUNG FU, which has its World Premiere at the Signature Theatre in New York on February 24 and has been extended to March 30. This is his weekly blog series giving our readers a glimpse into the rehearsal process for KUNG FU. Read previous entries here.
This past Tuesday, we had our first preview: the first performance of our show before a paying audience. The actors were amazing, and earned a standing ovation at curtain call. But this is no time to rest. On the contrary, this is when the real work begins.
We’re in the most intense part of the process, when the creative team learns from audiences what is and isn’t working. While the opinions of individual patrons may or may not be correct, the audience as a whole is rarely wrong. If we think something is funny, and the audience doesn’t laugh, it’s not their fault, it’s ours. Maybe the line doesn’t work. Maybe the actor isn’t delivering it effectively. Maybe the staging is sabotaging us. Or the lights. Or any number of other variables. So we listen to the audience every night, and continue making changes, in all areas.
Including lots of rewrites from me. Each morning, I come in with new pages, which the actors learn in rehearsals that afternoon, then they perform the revised version that evening. The next day, that process begins all over again. This will continue, through eight performances a week, for the next three weeks.
Here’re some actual new page reports from our fantastic stage managers, David H. Lurie and Jillian Oliver, who run rehearsals and performances, keeping all aspects of our production running smoothly.
Tuesday, February 4
-New pages 7-11A, 19-20, 36-37A, 54-54A, 58-61, 116-118. Changes to the script were made to 9-11A and 37.
Wednesday, February 5
-New pages 28, 66, 67, 83, 86, 87, 106, 107 were distributed today. A change to the script was made on page 30. New page 88 was distributed after the performance.
Since I’m preoccupied with rewrites, this week’s post will feature pictures by the actress and award-winning photographer, Lia Chang. Lia visited rehearsals and our Lunar New Year celebration. Tonight, we’re incorporating a new final scene for our Preview #3.
The following photos are all by Lia Chang: