Saturday, July 19, 2008

Climb Every Mountain

Okay, wrong musical.
I've been negligent with good excuse this time. We didn't so much climb mountains as move them in order to get The Full Monty up on its feet. Or shove them out of the way, cursing and crying.

This show is a spectacular bit of eye candy as far as grandeur of set, lights, and movement. Every bit of that requires Time and Energy. Anyone in the corporate world knows those words. There comes a point in the theatre world, when you run out of time, energy, and supplies, that you have to make things work. Our mighty scenic crew, bless them from on high, put in twenty hour days to get this giant up and running. Our actors, crew, myself and the designers put in fourteen hour days doing "Cue to Cue" which involves rehearsing every technical element of the show before we run it in sequence. Generally that takes one or two days. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which might have been my own lack of momentum...ours took five days.

Generally you have three dress rehearsals before you open a show, with maybe some invited audience members to watch the final dress.

The first time we ran this show in its entirety with all costume and technical elements in place was Tuesday afternoon - six hours before we opened. Not a lot of room for error. The set still had touch ups, as did the costumes. The crew didn't have time to finesse scene changes. I certainly was not entirely comfortable with the 300-odd light and sound cues I would be calling during the show. The cast was nervous. The crew was nervous. The director was, understandably nervous.
I was terrified.
But there are very few things that will prompt a theatrical producer to cancel a show. 'The show must go on,' may be an old, dusty, cheesy phrase tossed around these days like a discount bumper sticker, but it is also an iron clad credo.
The show must go on. The show will go on. It always does. I have known of shows that went on, and very soon after, the death of company members. Shows go on when scenery is incomplete and actors may or may not know their lines and entrances.
Why? It's like breaking a promise if it doesn't. You have paid for your tickets, and been looking at our posters and reading press releases. Our promise is, "We will be there for you, if you're there for us." We know you will be, so there we are.

There is something powerful that happens inside when you stare into the face of the inevitable. Once we have dragged ourselves battered and exhausted over the hurdle of of Final Dress (or first dress, in the case of this show), there is an odd release. The show will open. What will be. Stay on your toes and forge ahead.
So our show went on.

And only one piece of scenery fell off and broke.

What did we do? Well, no one was hurt. The show went on.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting this bohemoth off the ground! I know it's occupied so many of your personal resources and you've been in my thoughts. *hug* All down hill from here?

Arothian said...

Congratulations Jess! I hope things are going well for you. You're in my thoughts, even though we haven't spoken for over a year now. Good luck with everything.