Friday, February 10, 2017

Theatre 101: Finally...Opening Night

So after months of rehearsals, costume fittings, set building, several nervous breakdowns, ranting &
raving, forgetting lines, missing cues, coming down with the flu (not me, but others in the cast), chaos & confusion, this scene just doesn’t work, “Louder!”, “Don’t turn your back to the audience.”, dress rehearsals and tech rehearsals…we FINALLY were able to present our play, “The Vile Veterinarian…Or How Much Is That Doggie With The Widow?” an old-fashioned, 1890s, Melodrama.

I did miss blogging about the final rehearsals on Wednesday (which was not a full dress rehearsal as we didn’t wear costumes), but it was a horrendous as could be. We were trying to rehearse while people were working to get the room ready so there was a lot of banging and clanging.

Opening Night we arrived early to get ready…mostly the ladies getting their hair done, which takes a long time. A lot of them have wigs and hairpieces, but those still need to be done properly to look right. Makeup needs to be done. We even torture the men by making there wear some. 
The cast...
THEN…We wait…and wait….and wait….

It’s a DINNER theatre so we have to wait until dinner is over before starting the play. Not everyone likes that wait. You’re jittery enough and just want to go on, so having to wait an extra hour and half can be brutal on your nerves. Plus, most are in full costume and they can be hot to sit around in for hours.

Backstage selfie right before we went on
There is nothing quite like getting to perform in front a live audience, especially after months of having only the director or a prompter around to watch. You never really know if you’re funny until there are actually people out there. Sometime you get a good audience that laughs at everything, others are just grumpy never warm up. Opening Night’s audience was GREAT. They laughed from the first line, they got the terrible puns, they even “booed” the villain (which is ok in a Melodrama as the villain usually deserves it). So glad the audience seemed to enjoy it. What a relief!! And what fun!

The show went really well…for the most part. No major mistakes.

Of course there are ALWAYS a few things.

1 – My Hair Has Fallen!!!
My big "Ahhhhh!" singing moment. Before my
hair fell down.
My hair started to “come apart” in the second act. It literally began to fall, pieces were hanging in front of my face. The second hat I wear will not stay on, even with pins. It too kept falling off so I finally dumped it and declared I would buy a new one because that one just didn’t work. There is nothing more annoying for a performer than a wardrobe malfunction (ask Janet Jackson). When something’s not right with your costume or hair it’s all you can think about. I’d also forgotten to bring hairpins with me so I had someone run back to the room where we got ready to grab some. Another girl loaned me her barrette and we’re all shoving pins into my hair, hoping it will stay up there until the end.

2 – The Case of the Rolling Trunk
So we have a trunk that is brought on by one of the female characters. She has to push it on, sliding it across the floor. It worked ok in rehearsals on the tile floor, but once on a stage it was harder to push. We’re also using a big Oriental rug and it would snag on the edge. So they decided to put wheels on the trunk. Sort of works better for pushing, but the trunk is also used as an extra seat. So you’ve got a trunk on wheels, perched on a corner of the stage. The first time someone sat on it…it started to roll (toward the edge of the stage). The actor managed to pull it back, but later another actor touched it and the trunk rolled again, the back wheels coming OFF the stage. So it’s balanced there on the edge
With the director after the show
of a cliff. Audience members (who are right up front) are ready to jump up to catch it. I’m on the couch nearby and wondering if I can lunge in time to grab it. Luckily, another actor was able to pull it back on her way out. But watching that trunk wobble on the edge, thinking it would crash to the floor was a BAD moment. 

Dish duty...
Oh...and the night wasn't over. Ended up staying very late to help with the dishes. Someone had to wash/dry all those plates/silverware. We still managed to have fun even doing that, though.

So that was Night One…two more shows to go! Back with recaps of Show 1 and 2.