Monday, December 14, 2009

From the Rehearsal Hall: OPENING NIGHT!

After weeks of rehearsing it all comes down to one night: Opening Night. Often opening day is spent trying to stay calm and conserving energy. I often pretend to take a nap. I know I’ll never actually get to sleep, but I always lie down and close my eyes anyway. Luckily for this production of A Christmas Carol, we had performances leading up to the actual opening, called previews. At first it’s just a few company members sitting in the house, getting us used to having an audience. It really helps – you get used to the flow of the show, and learn how demanding it will actually be. You also learn where people may laugh. There are always surprises in that department, you recognize jokes and expect laughs in those places, but you never know what an audience will find humorous. By the time we got to the night before opening, the house was completely sold out! And there were reporters and other members of the press seeing the show to review it. It’s great to get some of them there before opening night if at all possible, as it helps take some of the pressure off the opening. A part of you wishes they would wait a couple of weeks until the show is a well oiled machine, but their job is to help get the word out about the show. At the end of the day, you appreciate that they’re there at all.

Finally the big day arrived. We actually didn’t have the day off, we had rehearsal scheduled that afternoon. I was thrilled to do it because this show is a big production. Technically, it’s an extremely complicated. Plus, it has the added benefit of keeping you focused and not jittery at home. And you know what – the opening show was fantastic! We were all in a great mood from being excited and had been focused together all day. It was such a relief not only for it to go off without a hitch, but for it to happen at all! There were so many emotions attached to opening that you felt a huge weight had been lifted by the performance.

Once we got past that, we could finally settle into the run and do our jobs.

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