If you have read this blog with any regularity, you will know that I am no fan of matinees. Theatre just seems to belong to the evening. Like football belongs in the cold weather.
Energy is often low for matinees, both for audiences and for the cast. Fewer people tend to come to a matinee, and those that do tend to skew towards the elderly in age. The size, and age of the crowd for today fit that description. But thankfully, the energy factor did not. It was a warmer crowd. The even laughed at a few more things than the evening crowds did. (Despite being half of their size, or about 25 people.)
In turn, I think that gave the actors more energy, which seemed to carry throughout most of the show. In some ways it was the best performance of the show so far. So prepared have we been for the last two weeks that I think for a change the play will peak before the final performance. If we hold on to what we had today in fact, the entire second weekend has the potential to be optimal.
It is more than a little ironic than that the very first moments of the show were almost quite problematic. The sound monitor we use in the green room to listen for our cues was sort of fading in and out there for a while, and the moment of my entrance was upon me much quicker than I am used to. I was in place in time, and I entered on time. But I literally went from the rest of the green room, through backstage, and right into my place off right, and thence to my first entrance, in one long, brisk and unbroken motion. So that made the first few moments exciting, given that I didn't get my usual time to collect myself.
Maybe it was that unexpected excitement that led to some of the energy of the show as a whole? I doubt it. At last I doubt it had much of an impact passed the first few moments. (As important as they can be.) And it wouldn't account for the energy of the others.
Whatever the reason, both the crowd and the cast were unusually into it for a matinee performance, and as a result, I was able to "feel it" more than I otherwise might. Still not the height of internalization that I reached in that one rehearsal, at to which I was close on Friday night, but a fair amount of it was there.
Our choreographer was on hand again today, and she mentioned that not only was she saddened by the break up scene, but also got chills from the moment before it. She couldn't offer details, but she felt them when I stepped out of the waltz with Belle. It is a point that is surreal, because it is not an actual moment in time. It is symbolic of Scrooge going from being the warm Scrooge, to the beginnings of the cold one. At that moment, the present day Scrooge dances with Belle's shadow, as I make my way to the other end of the set, in preparation for the break-up scene.
And the scene itself felt good. "Belle" still feels that opening night was our best for that scene, but I continue to think it goes just as well every night.
The party scene at Fred's gets better each night, though. The choreographer also mentioned how well that scene was going, and applauded the chemistry. I am willing to agree with her assessment, now that the lines are coming easier for everyone. Plus I didn't have as many nerves going into it as usual. They were there, but I think they decrease a little more each night. It is one of those scenes that community players notoriously tend to lethargic in. To our credit, i think we keep the very high energy level going throughout the entirety of that eight minute scene. And that is not always easy to do. I am proud of how much it has evolved.
I am also proud that I have now gone three nights in a row without dropping something at the end of the Old Joe scene. (Another scene that continues to go very well, though there were some tiny hitches in it tonight.)
So at the end of the first weekend, I give the cast of A Christmas Carol at Full Circle a very solid B+, with moments of Grade A material. Here is hoping that we can achieve the overall A for the second half of the run.
But first we must hold on to what we have learned for the next three days until our pick-up rehearsal on Wednesday. If we show no signs of rust for that, I predict a a very strong total run.