There is one more performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I realize that. So I would be able to say with certainty that my second-Saturday theory held true. But I can say that last night was both our biggest (20...) and most responsive crowd of the run. And that despite one of our leads having a sore throat and failing voice, it was, from what I could gather, our best performance. Today's matinee could in theory be better, but in the history of my doing theatre, a closing matinee has been the best of the run only one single time.
First off, it is a matinee. Then there is too much fatigue, colder, smaller crowds, unfair comparisons to the night before and depending on the show the emotion of knowing it is about to end. The closing matinee is usually not a showcase of stellar quality. (Which is why I prefer my people not to attend them.)
But that is today. Last night I had a few friends in the audience, and many of the more subtle moments finally got some laughs. Even I as Hamlet got a few chuckles. The bit wherein I reveal I am reading a magazine got a laugh in Act Three. My spitting over the side of the "boat" got it's very first reaction. Even "hawk from a handsaw" amused somebody.
Last night my Hamlet was in top form, I would say. Now I don't want to oversell this point, because as I said, the character is just a periodic presence the pops in and out throughout the play. So it would not be accurate to call this Hamlet a huge drain on my resources. Yet through the tiny slices of Hamlet that I get to enact each night I have gotten a feel for what doing the entire role would require, and confirmed that I could hit the stride of same. In the program I describe this as a sort of "spring training" for Hamlet, and last night I feel I perfectly hit the rhythms of this version of him. Both last night and the night before I got to the place I wanted to be from the beginning: feeling for those few moments as though I am in the actual Hamlet. I was most able to convince myself of that last night, and so I give it the stamp of my "best performance of the run" so far.
The business of us running and hiding from the pirate actually got applause at the end of the scene. That was fun.
The only difficult lie in me moving the damn umbrella about in the dark again. I got it done, but almost missed the chair when I sat down. I think someone laughed. But oh well.
Not an exciting entry, I realize. But a stride has been hit. At least for the last two evening. Hopefully it carries through to today's closer.