Monday, August 25
5:30am – Wake up an hour earlier than planned, due to heavy rain. Four hours of sleep.

5:45am – Longest sustained thunder clap I’ve ever heard. Start to be convinced that my flight will be delayed for days. Might never make it to Chicago.

8:30am – At the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. Sky is clear, if hazy. Can make out the Minneapolis skyline from my seat at gate H7. That’s a god sign, I think.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had more of an interest in being on time for anything, even with the fact that I can hardly keep my eyes open. Sometimes I wish I drank coffee.

We start rehearsals today. Production meeting. Meet and Greet. Table read. I’ve been a part of these before. Never on this scale before. Never as the guy who wrote this thing on which we’re all here to work. I might have to give a speech or something. Not a speech. An address. A welcome. In keeping with the wrestling theme of the show, I’ve got visions of a Paul E. Dangerously extreme manifesto to the ECW troops. I’m not quite the general here though; even if I was, I can’t imagine I’d make such a speech. You feel like you want to set a tone though.

I’m more The Emperor than Lord Vader in this. Sounds bigger and more obnoxious than it is. It’s not my job to lead this mission. I sit back and oversee, to an extent. I sit back and sit on my hands, keep my mouth shut. To an extent. It’s a quality control job from here on in, really. Eddie can take care of things. The cast has most text-related things already under control. The challenge is getting it all up on its feet. The challenge for me is letting that process unfold without feeling the need to control it. Trust.

(8:39am – Receive this text from Aaron Carter, literary manager of VG: Aaron here. I’m picking you up from airport. Text when u get outside and I’ll drive up and powerbomb you.)

10:55am – Off the plane. Heard a snippet of “Keys (It’s Alright)” from Passing Strange on NPR’s Studio 360 via podcast – there really couldn’t be a better song for right now.

2:30pm – Production meeting. Set model. Costume mock-ups (including some of the most appropriately offensive stuff you can imagine). Lots of discussion about lights and effects for the “elaborate entrances.” Video screens. Actual wrestling ring ropes have already been purchased. Each wrestler has his own logo already designed. At one point, the director asked the sound designer what his plans were, and the sound designer said “well, the script says the sound should be loud and obnoxious.” It’s all pretty much what I hoped it would be. (Pictures should follow at some point. I hope.)

I was asked to say a few words. I was unprepared. There might be video of this. It will be far less inspiring than Paul E.

4:00pm – First read. The whole play ran about an hour and forty five minutes, which is a little too long, and only going to get longer when we add the production elements (and laughs, hopefully). Part of what I’m going to have to do over the next month is find places to trim. Should be all internal cuts – I don’t think we’re getting rid of anything structural at this point. The script is pretty much what it’s going to be.

7:00pm (roughly) – Wrestling practice. I cannot express how giddy I was about this. The five guys in the cast, plus our assistant fight choreographer, are throwing themselves on the mat, working on collar-and-elbow tie-ups, learning to sell the simplest of moves. In the play, Mace talks about wrestling being a dream job, like a literal dream job, the thing he dreamed about on the floor as a kid. I’m not going to lie and say that I dreamed about this as a kid, but man, it’s definitely some kind of dream come true.