Monday, August 20, 2012

Richard III: Saturday Night

Richard III is now concluded, and as has been the case with just about every play I have been in since starting this blog, i didn't write about the last evening performance before leaving for the closing matinee. Unlike normal, however, I am opting this time to write about Saturday night today, and then tomorrow write about Sunday afternoon. It is just too much these days to cover two performances in one entry. So on with Saturday.

"Elizabeth" asked me afterwards if I thought Saturday or Friday was better. I came to the conclusion that both were good for different reasons. Friday's energy was high right out of the gate, and remained so throughout the play, thanks in no small part to the large crowd we had. We shaved nine minutes off of the show's running time that night, as I mentioned. It felt good to get that "bam!" performance for the first time. Even though there were some medium-sized snafus here and there, it was a show to be proud of.

Saturday night's crowd was a little bit smaller. (About 50 as compared to 60 from the previous night.) Yet they were more responsive in a way. The few moments of humor brought more laughs than the previous night. I don't want to say they were more engaged than Friday's crowd, but they seemed more at ease with responding vocally to what was happening on stage. In that sense they were different.

Energy for the Saturday started a bit lower than it had on Friday. (Despite our director warning us against "second-night syndrome". It did pick up as the evening went on, however, and there were fewer mistakes. So from a technical standpoint I suppose one could say Saturday was better than Friday, even though in other ways it was Friday that felt more invigorating, if you will.

All of the scenes about which I have written went very well on Saturday. Crowd scene. Death scene. Break-up. Ghost. You are familiar with them all by now, and I am happy to say that I was at last able to add a bit of the extra I had hoped for in the death scene. Maybe not 100% of what I had envisioned two months ago, but as close I have a right to expect given the circumstances. I am satisfied. (I was told later some people applauded after the speech, but I never noticed that, honestly.)

Also overheard was that I was, according to an elderly gentleman, "one of the best Buckinghams I've seen." I believe I met this guy briefly at the end of the show, out in the lobby, as I was approached by an elderly gentleman bearing compliments.

I did make a line error in one of my scenes. "Lord Hastings had pronounced your part, I mean, your voice, for crowning of the king." I made it, "Lord Hastings had pronounced your voice...I mean...your voice for crowning the king."

I didn't panic, but I had hoped for a better save than that. Yet oh well. It didn't confuse anyone on stage, and  the consensus was that the audience didn't catch the error. Even if they did, one line mistake like that in four performances is nothing to be ashamed of. Even for me.

Two highly successful evening in a row, by almost any standard. So much so that later that night the cast voted to request a second weekend. Sadly, it was not to be, as not everyone's schedule would allow for it. But the desire was there, and that indicates a growing confidence in the play.

Tomorrow I tell you about our final performance...the always dreaded matinee.

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