There was no crying, but there was a lot of laughter at the table read. For the first time, all the actors got together in one room, along with writer/producer Tina McCulloch, director/producer PJ Hammond, production designer Karen Elizabeth, and Director of Photography Michael Jari Davidson. Sound recordist Beni Harper and makeup artist Davida Gragor could not make it.
In addition to our wonderful and funny cast:
Shannon McDonough as Laurie
Jennifer Neales as Suzanne
Laura Vincent as Kai
Chris Whidden as Barista,
we had the talents of Tricia Brioux and Andy Fraser reading the Subconscious Voices of Laurie and Suzanne.
PJ first had the actors read the script WITHOUT the Sub Voices – only the real people. Chris, whose Barista character has no lines, read the stage directions.
Then another read – the script only runs 10 minutes – WITH Tricia and Andy doing an absolutely hilarious job as the Sub Voices – self-criticizing, encouraging, dry-humoured. After that reading, Jen (who performed in The Drowning Girls, which Andy produced for Alumnae Theatre in 2012) exclaimed, “I’m so funny in my head!”
We also tried it swapping around the real/Sub pairs – that was interesting! For the film, Shannon and Jen will record their own Sub Voices. PJ also intends for there to be some unscripted interaction between Laura (her Kai, the head barista, is not having a good day) and Chris as the male barista, who has a crush on her.
After these reads, PJ requested some input to help her find “the button”: the perfect ending, which worked so well onstage with the Subs played by separate actors, but was not translating so well with the film script. After only a couple of suggestions were thrown around, Andy came up with something that Tina LOVED: the up-to-now-silent Barista (Chris) gets the last line: “You know you just said that aloud.” (or something like that – it will depend on his placement in the shot). Chris’ character (who did not appear in the stage version of Aloud) will also now have a name. “Something ‘millennial’-sounding”, requested PJ. Tina asked Chris to suggest a name. There are a few possibilities being considered…
It was a very good day. Tissues were not needed.