Prelude to a Kiss

Washington Street Players
November 2009, Holliston town hall

A set of dress-rehearsal pictures from tech week

Click each small picture for its full-size version, and use your browser's "back" control to navigate. The big pictures can also be bulk-downloaded using this linear list of filenames.

A large acting area was used, including the stage and several diverse floor areas. My job: to try and turn the sparse settings, looking positively drab here under town-hall house light, into the different environments the play takes place in. Because of the large diversity of areas and needing to isolate them in a reasonably believable way, I used every light in the place with a couple of extra hacks thrown in on top and things are still a little on the dim side -- enough for the human eye to see, but certainly not Broadway-bright.

This leads to the next problem: with relatively little light in each area, camera exposure times need to be on the order of a half-second, which is an eternity when an actor never stops *moving*. Especially when the opening scene is dancing at a party. This is an example of how about three-quarters of the shots look and had to be discarded -- I've picked the most salveagable 70-some out of over 300 here, and a bit of creative fixup work had to be applied to many to get them tolerably viewable at all. So you'll see quite a bit more motion-blur through this set than I wanted, but that's life with a point-n-shoot even when it's in full manual mode.

Synopsis: boy meets girl, and later, boy goes to visit girl at the Tin Market where she bartends. Peter and Rita have the highest proportion of lines by a large margin.

Wanna come back to my place? I get off in about seven minutes.
and the relief shift soon shows up to take over.

At several moments Peter "breaks the fourth wall" and narrates his inner thoughts to the audience. A different lighting look was used for this, a more front/back straight-on spotlight style in an attempt to 1> be noticeably different, and 2> try to disappear or mostly dim out the rest of the set. Blocking was done in a way that he'd always be able to easily step into one or two "special spots" and be in his fairly narrow isolated bits of light.

A pleasant evening stroll, chatting about politics and such ...

... back to Rita's apartment, a cozy little nest.

Hey, this is great!

One thing rapidly leads to another, and ...

... soon we're basking in the afterglow.

Discussions about life, kids, philosophies ...

... and dirtiest fantasies, soon leading to more hanky-panky.

A couple of weeks later: a nice dinner at her place ...

... and serious discussions of marriage.

[Kiss scenes are some of the few times they actually hold still!]

Time to go meet her parents.

[Where we're finally on the actual stage...]

Peter explains his microfiche-management duties.

... so that's like a database, right?

Peter passes scrutiny, and they all get along quite well, even getting into some personal details...

This is the only scar you'll ever see in the shape of a saxophone!

A while later, wedding preparation at the parents' house ...

Don't look! Aaah, you looked!

and the ceremony itself.

[There would have been way more light on this from SL, but one of the extra dimmer packs hadn't gotten properly plugged in at the beginning of the evening...]

Say "bullshit!"

Meanwhile, the old man wanders in, quietly helps himself to some bubbly, and amid a bit of confusion asks to kiss the bride.

[None of the leadup pictures to which were actually usable...]

Something very odd occurs during that ...

General chaos ensues, with most attention focused on the old man and Rita just looking sort of shell-shocked.

The aunt makes sure the couple is okay while the others are heading down the street after the old man trying to make sure he's okay.

The old main hightails it into the distance and everyone comes back; problem resolved, we think.

Peter describes the plane trip to Jamaica, and his first hints that something is very different. The script cleverly has him changing to his vacation garb at the same time.

... down to the pool that morning, as husband and wife.

You're my puppy-puppy.

Do my back.

Rita, or rather the old person with a new lease on life, describes all the adventurous things she wants to do ...   with you on my arm.

Peter tries to keep up with the suddenly tireless and fearless Rita,
... but nothing felt   ...   nothing felt.

I'll have a Long Island iced tea
which mysteriously stumps both the Jamaican waiter and Rita the supposedly seasoned bartender. Hmmm.

It's so beautiful here!

But Peter's mind is much more occupied with forming many more test questions.

But Rita doesn't *want* children! And your father's a dentist, not a surgeon, and you don't *have* any brothers or sisters!

She tries to divert his attention to looking at the moon and just drinking life in, which is still uncharacteristic...

You're just ... not ... you!

Somehow they get through the rest of the honeymoon and return home, with a brief rendezvous at the parental homestead.

Peter gets back to the office; his business partner doesn't offer much help on theories about swapping souls.


You've been reading her journals, haven't you? ...
I'm on to you!

Despondent, Peter heads for the bar ...

... where he coincidentally spots the old man.

Do I know you? You were at my wedding, weren't you?

Peter has luckily found Rita's brain again, and they catch up on what happened and what to try and do about it.

Except that Rita's body has bailed out of the apartment and gone back to her parents' house, leaving only the father picking up some stray belongings. He is unconvinced that anything is wrong with her, and that all the difficulty is Peter's fault.

... and she's lying to you now, Dr. Boyle!

This of course complicates matters quite a bit.

Some research is in order: a call to the old man's daughter Leah in an attempt to get more information ...

Here, it's your daughter!

No no no I don't want to talk to her

The call is somewhat inconclusive but at least they know that the old man has a history of wandering off...

More discussions on life, and the progress of one's personality through the years...

For passage of time, Peter describes how they spend the next two weeks together ...

... as the old married couple.

The parents have been unreachable the whole time but finally return from wherever they went, and Peter manages to schedule a meeting.

You know, Peter, they're never the same. They're always changing.

A tender moment with whatever part of Rita is here, despite appearances, as the lights fade...

Despite risk of disapproval from Dr. Boyle, Mom nonetheless brings her daughter over for a talk.

Come on! Tie his feet!

A forced kiss fails to restore things.

Peter, give me the knife. Or ... just put it down. Put it down.

More introspective thought about what happened and the motivation behind it begins to lead closer to a solution.

(both)   If I could just get inside.

Weirdness occurs again ...

... Rita!

... like an old suit ...

You're a good kid, but you're not my type.

[I didn't *mean* to make him look like "Stumpy", that's just how the arm swinging happened to get captured...]

You're the miracle.

Curtain call

_H* 091108