To the Barricades, Vol. 20
I definitely had a blog post in me when I woke up at my usual time of 6 am, but I opted to go back to sleep for an hour, taking the advice to protect my health in this final stretch to the barricades. It felt good, as did the 15-minute snooze at lunch. Sleep will be a coveted companion between now and when we close Les Mis on February 23rd.
In reading this blog series about the making of this epic production, you might get the impression that it is all tea cups and rose petals. It isn't. Last night was pretty tough. At times, it felt like we were crawling through mud, as we ran into challenges around moving set pieces. With the slow progress and mounting physical and mental exhaustion, tempers were shorter than usual.
It's funny, but it always seems to be the unexpected mechanical things that cause the most angst at this stage of the process. In The Farnsworth Invention it was callipers connected to the television invention that kept failing. In Hometown...The Musical!, it was dealing with moving benches on and off stage that caused the biggest headaches. With Les Mis, it is both the timing and movement of set pieces that is elevating our collective blood pressure.
Inevitably, our technical and artistic team will work everything out, and we'll get back to running the show and feeling positive. Last night was a little different. I got the sense we were all glad to call it a day.
One of the hardest things, this late in the rehearsal process, is when people are missing. Life gets in the way, whether we want it to or not. People get sick, family emergencies pop up, work issues come into play and various other things. No matter who the person is, or how big or small their role, their absence is felt by all of us.
To the credit of Dylan and Ben, they are successfully getting up in the morning, despite the late hours. It is past 11:30 before they settle in for the night. Every morning, Heather checks in to see how they are holding up.
"I always forget how hard the final two weeks are," she said the other day, feeling the impact of our long absences, late nights and way-too-early mornings. I'm sure parents and spouses of fellow cast members are feeling similar things. In many ways, they suffer more than we do, as they don't get the adrenaline rush of being around the show; they are on the outside looking in, worrying about our well-being and how we're coping with the incredibly long hours.
To the moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons and daughters who support us in these crazy theatrical pursuits, we give you our sincerest thanks. We know it is not easy on you and that you miss us. Don't worry, this will all be worth it, and soon we'll be looking back reminiscing about about a great adventure it was, this journey "To the Barricades."