To the Barricades, Vol. 25

The final and dirtiest layer of our production of Les Mis has been added. As we began preparing for our first full technical run through last night, a "dirt" station was set up in the hallway that runs parallel to the back wall of the stage.  This is a spot where we use specialty liquid make-up to "dirtify" ourselves so we look closer to what the poorer people of France might have looked like back in the early 1800's. Applied to our faces, legs, arms and various other spots exposed to the audience, it looks....well......dirty!

We had been away from the theatre for a full day, and even more layers have been added to the set, incredible details that will undoubtedly provide a "WOW" factor when our sold out preview audience sees it for the first time tomorrow night.  Designer/set painter Jason Bolen from NYC has done a remarkable job creating a world for us to play in.

"Jason will keep adding details right up to opening night, " said director Claude Giroux several weeks ago.  He was exactly right.  The two of them worked together numerous times back in Pennsylvania, in the years before Claude was lured up to Fort McMurray.

Back stage, things are becoming less frenetic and more predictable with each passing day.  Everyone, in their own unique way, is figuring out their "track" from the opening chain gang scene to the final sustained "Tomorrow comes!" that ends the production.  Some carry cheat sheets, visual prompts that remind them what comes next.  Others go through a mental check list in their minds.  I am still in the process of cementing my pattern, though I'm getting closer to nailing it down.

Last night felt like the real deal.  And outside of the odd screamed note from Claude, you could have put a crowd of people in the theatre and it would have been a legitimate and appreciated performance.  That said, it was far from perfect, and in some regards a little funky, as we ran into some sound issues that were causing angst with more than several of us.  While it is critical that the audience hears a perfectly balanced mix of the singers, band, track and sound effects, it is equally important that the performers can hear, too.  Scott Weber is doing a brilliant job trying to keep everyone happy, adjusting things on the fly.

The run went well.  Yes, a few lines - or in this case lyrics - were missed, and there were some monitor and microphone issues, but overall it was a solid performance.  I had to rush out before notes as my wife was arriving home on the bus from a trip south.  I'm sure a few people were wondering where Thenardier disappeared to at the end of the show.

I had quite a time trying to coax away the layer of pseudo dirt, ash and grime.  In a few minutes, I'm going to get dressed and head off to the ConvergenceYMM conference where I'm sure someone is going to point out a spot or two I missed.  Believe it or not, learning how to get properly cleaned up after a show is a big part of the process.  And cleaning the bathtub or shower stall after you do so is an absolute necessity as this make-up is....well.....dirty!  That ring around the tub was rather evident when I was done.

Tonight is media call.  We will run a scene for our radio and newspaper friends, before doing our final technical dress rehearsal.  More layers will get added, costumes adjusted, make-up and hair changed, and various other things, but tonight's run will very much resemble the final product that our Opening Night audience will see on Friday, also sold out.

The time is now, the day is here.  Our production of Les Mis is ready for an audience.


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