To the Barricades, Vol. 26

Geesh! This blog series is turning into a novel.  Twenty-five posts so far with 9 performances to go.  Usually I write these in the early morning.  It typically takes 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the day.  This one I will write as I wind down after our final technical dress rehearsal.

It was a good run.  The energy was different tonight: pumped up, fuel-injected, high performance.  It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but there was a magic about tonight's run that made it feel extra right.

As I came down the stairs for the "Innkeeper's Song", everything was going brilliantly.

"Come on you old pest."

"Fetch a bottle of your best."

"What's the nectar of the day?"

"Here, try this lot. Guaranteed to hit the spot. Or I'm not Thenardier."

Then I went to go pour a dram into the beer stein that is normally on the downstage left table and it wasn't there.  None of the steins had arrived.  My brain tripped trying to process what had happened, and I completely missed two lines.

I'm glad it happened in a way.  It reminded me of how quickly you can lose track of things when the brain gets tripped up.

Kenny Jones and I were doing Edward Albee's The Zoo Story during interPLAY one year.  A piece of fabric taped to the wall fell, just within range of my peripheral vision.  It was enough of a distraction - something that was new and unexpected - that I ended up skipping several pages of dialogue.

"This is the point in the process when doing the same things at the same time is incredibly important," said veteran actor Chuck Smith.  "One little change in pattern could screw somebody up."

Reese Stanley, brilliantly playing Gavroche, had a memory loss moment just a scene later.  But, like the pro that she is, she just picked things up and carried on, as did we all.

Shit happens in theatre, in places and ways that you least expect it.  A prop will go missing, a set piece will malfunction, a costume change will surely get forgotten, and yes, you will have an out-of-body experience and see yourself acting in front of a crowd of 500 people.  That's the freakiest thing of all.  Try to avoid it if you can.

We worked on the curtain call tonight, as we always do on the night before preview.  Maneuvering 49 people around the stage for bows is somewhat tricky.  But, Claude has crafted a way to do it that should generate lots of applause and excitement.  It was a bit of a train wreck at first, but after a couple of shots at it, we managed to pull it together.

Tomorrow we play to a packed house, and months of hard work will pay off.  All the late nights, drowsy mornings, stress and anxiety get cast aside for the interplay between the story, the audience and us.  Tomorrow the final layer gets added: the human beings that will occupy the seats at Keyano Theatre.  They are the most important layer of all.

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