The actor took it up with the stage manager after rehearsal, and was referred to the authors.
“These new playwrights always have to learn at our expense,” he said, importantly.
“Can’t be helped. We have to use playwrights, however irritating they are,” remarked the stage manager.
Day after day they assembled at the same hour and slowly built up the structure of the play. Many nights Jarvis and Bambi worked on new scenes, or the rearrangement of the old ones. The first act was twisted about many times before it “played” to the stage manager’s satisfaction. New lines had to be introduced, new business worked out every day. It was hard work for everybody except Bambi, and she declared it was fun. No matter how trying the rehearsals, nor how hard she had to work, she enjoyed every minute of it. They soon discovered that Jarvis had no talent for rehearsing. In fact, the mechanics of the thing bored him. When a new scene was demanded quickly, his mind refused to work. It was Bambi’s quick wits that saved the day. After the first few days she was the only one to be consulted and appealed to by everybody.
“I can’t see that you need me at all in this business. I’m no good at it.”
“Yes, you are, too. You saw where that new scene in the third act belonged at once.”
“Yes, after you wrote the scene.”
“But this is why we need each other. I didn’t see where the scene belonged at all. If we both could do the same thing, we wouldn’t need to collaborate. Thank heaven, we don’t have the author underfoot interfering all the time.”
“I don’t believe she would interfere.”
“Heard anything from her, lately?”
“No, she is waiting for the production, I suppose.”
“And then the deluge! I may lose you to that story-writing female yet!” she teased him.
“Don’t!” he protested, quickly.
“I won’t,” she retorted, meaningly.
In late March the date of the production was set. It gave Bambi unbelievable pleasure to read the announcements on the billboards, and to stand in front of the three-sheets in the foyer of the theatre.
She wrote Ardelia full directions in regard to packing the Professor’s dress clothes; she told her the train they were to take; she worked out every detail, so that nothing might be left to the sieve-like memories of the principals on this foreign journey.
She ordered a new frock for herself, and succeeded in getting Jarvis measured for new dress clothes. Then she threw herself, heart and soul, into the last few days of work at the theatre, helping to polish and strengthen the play. The night of dress rehearsal came, and with it a new development for her consideration and management.
Dress rehearsal was called at midnight, as two of the principals were playing in other theatres. There was an air of suspense and confusion on the stage, where the new sets were being put on, which threw Jarvis into a cold sweat of terror. It only added one degree to Bambi’s mounting excitement. She and Jarvis made their way to the front of the house, where Mr. Frohman, the leader of the orchestra, and a few other people interested in the production were assembled.