Friday, December 16, 2016

Belated Send off to Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story

So it's Friday evening, and the show ended on Sunday afternoon. It's been a sort of distracted week for me, and I am just now sitting down to post the summary.

It was a sold out crowd, just as the previous Sunday was. Yet the crowd was not as enthusiastic as the first full house we had. They were not a dead audience by any means, but they didn't laugh as much or respond with as much to the show, or after the show.

To be fair, I don't think we did quite as well for them as we did the previous sell out either. There were a few trip ups, (I myself made a very minor one) and I think the energy was down.

That being said, it was still a decent, even if not amazing conclusion to a show that in many ways was different.

It began just a few days after Macbeth ended, so in some ways it felt like an odd extension of that show for the first few rehearsals. This is especially true given that everyone but one person was also in Macbeth. The total rehearsal time was only a month, (and coming after a show that had three months to rehearse, that was an adjustment for certain.)

I wore my base costume to the theatre and home every night, since I owned the whole thing.Because of this I was actually rarely in the dressing room. Being in the dressing room is a touchstone of the community theatre experience, and things feel off for me when it is missing. I kept my coat and personal items in there during the show, but that's about it. Never dressed or undressed in there during the show. And while I had my usual picture of Olivier there at what would have been my seat in the dressing room, I never taped it to the mirror as is my custom.

Due to the nature of the show, the only time I was in the green room was before the show, and intermission; nobody was off the stage long enough in this production to relax in the green room during the performance. That too made the whole show seem faster, and less official as well, (though it was the same for Night of One-ders.

Also, I have to say that in some ways, despite the changes in venue, script and cast, it sort of feels like a production of A Christmas Carol is never quite over for me. This was my sixth production of this story in some form, and no doubt there will be more. Many of the lines, and certainly the characters are the same for each one, and so though I still have to get off book each time I help tell this story, it sort of feels like a mere hiatus between such tellings. I've not been in this version of the story before, but once we got started on it, it didn't feel like it had been that long ago since I had been in a version. (Though it has been about three years, I think. Maybe more.)

Which is why I am almost always willing to be a part of this story on stage. The time may come when, for whatever reason I have to decline to be a part of a production of A Christmas Carol, but it hasn't yet. So timeless is the story, so loved by actors and audiences, and so tied in with a holiday that so many people revere that when in A Christmas Carol on stage, I feel part of Christmas as well as part of a show. (And I get to start celebrating the holiday a little earlier than most people when I am in a show like this.)

So, I do bid goodbye to this version, but it is only a matter of time, perhaps only a matter of less than a year before I help tell the story again.

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, everyone.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Home Stretch

For the life of me, I thought I had posted about last week's matinee, but I hadn't. And now here I am only a few hours from this week's matinee closer.

Like last week's, today is sold out. It proved a plus, as usual for a full house last week. They crowd was really quite into singing at the opening of the show, and they gave us a nice ovation at the end. Though to be honest, neither they nor any of the audiences so far have laughed at some of the things I thought they might laugh at. True, it is not a comedy per se, but there are still moments of humor that haven't translated in this production like I thought they might.

Still, the full house on last Sunday was our largest crowd in the small intimate space so far for this production. Just having that many people present is helpful for a show like this.

I also knew several people in the audience that day. The sad truth is that most people I know locally do not see my shows, so I usually know people when they are there for others in the play as well. Always adds a little something when you know someone out there in the audience is a friend of yours. (Even though often you cannot see them.

As for this weekend so far, Friday was tough. Not terrible,but it was our smallest crowd. I think 15 total, which even in a house that small looks, well, small. And they were quiet.

Last night was I think our second largest crowd,and I had family in that one. They enjoyed it. I fumbled a bit in one part of my performance, but I covered well and I don't think anybody noticed.

I'd say that last night's audience, though not a full house might have laughed more than any of the others have. Still not as much as I might have thought, and I don't mean gut busting here. But from my own angle, I think someone laughed at something more often last night than the previous nights.

A friend of mind was in the front row, and I knew I had to mess with him at least once. (Our director said we could sometimes interact with the audience if we wanted.) I had only one real chance. As Topper, announcing he is a bachelor, I sort of play that to the audience. I addressed it last night to my friend in particular, partly because he is married, so I emphasized "bachelor" and pointed at home laughing. (Little did I know, Scrooge later patted him on the head at the end of the show.)

A fun evening overall, I suppose.

Now, one more full house, and we close this production, which in  many ways seems to have hardly started. I'll update that, and  give overall thoughts on the show, later tonight when I get home from the cast party.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Second Night of A Ghost Story

Tonight was a bit of an oddity. I don't remember the last time a first Saturday crowd was smaller, and less energetic than an opening night crowd. But that's what happened tonight.

While opening night was about 30 people in a 50 seat house, I think we had just over half of that tonight. They did laugh at times, and seemed to have enjoyed themselves, judging by their clapping at the end, but overall it felt like an average matinee, but at night.

Some of that is on us; though there were again no major mistakes that I noticed, I think near the end all of us ran out of steam a bit. We weren't by any means dead, but I think we were slower than we normally are for the end of the show.

I do think some aspects did run even more smoothly, though. Once again, not to assume we are perfect by any means, but we have worked out some of the kinks over the last two nights, even if in front of fewer people tonight.

We are in a good place for tomorrow, if we can keep the energy up; it is already a sold out house. Will having a sold out house make for even more energy to improve our performances? Or will the matinee doldrums hit us?