Thursday, March 5, 2009

All Shook Up: Part III

Today is opening night. Part of me is really excited. This night has been months in the making. Everyone involved - actors, musicians, dancers, choir members, backstage crew, directors - is ready. There are the regular nerves but I don't think anyone is panicking. (Something new and different for a dramatic production!)

The other part of me doesn't want opening night to happen. The sooner opening night happens, the sooner the whole experience is over. This has been such an enjoyable group of people to work with that I'm going to be kind of sad when it's over. I will definitely enjoy each and every performance and all the little surprises that come with, but the final show will be very bittersweet.

In related news, the preview performance last Sunday went well. (Well, the sound guy messed up the microphones and missed a few sound effect cues, essentially wrecking the whole audio aspect of the first act, but everyone on stage was a pro!) In one particularly terrible series of events, the lead character's head mic cut out and then, when he was handed a traditional hand-held mic, it too wasn't turned on all the way. Plus, acting and performing choreography with a hand mic is slightly more difficult. Finally, the guitar strap holding the instrument across his back snapped and the guitar dropped to the floor. I was having a heart-attack for the guy from up in the lighting booth, as were the other directors, but he just kept moving like it was part of the gig. The second act was amazing.

I also have to commend the actors for somehow pulling off the incredible feat of not being distracted by or committing homicide during the show. Some of the audience members at the preview performance brought very young children with them and allowed them to congregate immediately in front of the stage. It seemed that the only time an adult would appear to grab their young charge was when the kid actually reached the top step. So, unless they were literally sitting on the stage, it was okay that they were attempting to engage the actors in a screaming contest.

I was attempting to keep my frustration to myself, but when the students in the lightning booth with me started to express their rage, I had confirmation that mine was justified. Juli went and moved some kids out of the aisle before a scene involving a character that enters through the audience. I threw small bits of paper down on Josh in the back row to have him move the kids off and out of the way of the steps as half the dancers would be spontaneously sprinting off the stage in that direction at the end of the next number. Being that the auditorium is dark past the stage, the conditions were ripe for accidentally trampled children.

Here's hoping tonight there will be perfect sound, good lighting, perfect notes, remembered cues, no wardrobe malfunctions, and an absence of small children. Oh, and a show that goes on forever and ever!

(To Be Continued...once more)

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