Before you panic too much I will say the majority of our first show was alright. But to quote one of my cast mates, after a certain point things went rather "pear shaped" for me personally.
I have mentioned more than once during my posts for this production that one of the cast mates is very difficult to work with. I won't pretend anymore, for this is my blog and it is really no secret to those in the know that I find this person not only a terrible actor, but a pathetic human being. He never gets anything right, blames everyone and everything but himself for his mistakes, and is very mean spirited when he doesn't get his way. And this is the second time I have had to work with him. I previously worked with him back in October. (See the archive of that month, as well as September for more details.)
His screw up was so big tonight that one of my entire scenes was skipped. Just flat out entered two pages early, and bingo, I had one third fewer lines than I was supposed to. Kudos to the quick thinking of the two leads for covering the foul up seamlessly, but needless to say I was very displeased.
Mistakes happen. And when hard working, honest, decent people make them, I forgive them. I make them. Everyone makes them. But it is hard not to be irritated when I miss so much of my stage time because of such a large mistake by a small minded, ill tempered individual,who already has people putting in extra energy to make sure he hits his mark on time. People whom promptly ignores when he blunders on stage. I dealt with this face to face in the fall when we shared scenes. I thought, foolishly, I was safe from this sort of shambles when I didn't share any scenes with this guy this time around. I was wrong.
In the wake of the last show and our chemistry, I told him to never speak to me again. Yet he continued to try then, and now to do so. When he attempted to talk to me tonight, I told him to leave me alone, as I have done over and over again by now. In response he blew up with all sorts of foul name calling in front of my friends. I am happy to report I walked away without further comment or confrontation, but it sort of ruined my mood for my first night as Hamlet.
I really hope I don't have to deal with him getting in my face again for the rest of this run...
As for the show, it went well, other than moments like that. The crowd was small. (And in it were two other people I despise...). They laughed at a few places, but overall didn't engage much. If I had been one of the leads, I would have found the quiet exhausting. But I don't know what the real leads thought of it. I didn't ask. I hope it is better tomorrow, though. There was a lot going on in town tonight, so that may have contributed to the small numbers.
I did manage to get to a separate place in my head, mostly. I can't say I am as lost in the character as I would like to be yet, but as curtain approached I was in a zone-like place. And I feel committed on stage. I just wish it were slightly more internalized for some scenes. Though for others, such as "It hath made me mad," I feel quite connected to Hamlet. Maybe because I am yelling, and it is a dynamic scene.
I am not yelling when I mouth "to be or not to be" silently to myself. I have longed to time that speech perfectly to end when my first spoken line of the scene shows up. I have experimented with starting the speech at different places when I enter. (Hamlet is said to be in the midst of the speech when he comes on.) Only once, about three days ago, did I time it perfectly. My hope is to find the right rhythm at least once or twice during the actual run. No big deal if I don't, as I know when to stop, and deliver my line. But it would sure add a nice authenticity.
As would memorizing that speech at the end of Act Two. Or at least the first few sentences of it. ("How all occasions do inform against me...") But once I get up there to pretend to say that one, I forgot most of it. Again, it is not detrimental. Just one of those challenges I give myself that I would hope to achieve by play's end.
In summary, I think that all by one of us has a lot to be proud of tonight despite some goofs. "Ophelia" forgot to take her modern eye glasses off when we entered...something that even I didn't notice during our scene. A tiny light snafu in Act 3. I screwed up placing the chair and umbrella a bit in the dark. But this is a long, at times complicated play, with much to remember. The progress that most of the cast has made this during this non-hellish hell week is to be commended, even if the audience didn't seem to get it.
The opening is under our belts, and I look forward to the second, and in some ways more "real" performance tonight.