Sunday, February 28, 2016

50% Down, 50% To Go

This production has no matinee, so I didn't perform today. Last night was the end of the first weekend.

There were some technical issues. Sound effects not working, set changes going poorly in the dark. But overall a more energetic performance all the way around than opening night was. This is particularly true for the first play, Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread. I am not in that one, and don't get to see much of it, as I am waiting backstage to go on for the next play, but it sounded good, and I am told by the cast it went well. Good for them.

Sadly, the crowd was just as tiny as it was for opening night.

I was less on edge last night than I was for opening night. Some of that is typical opening night nerves, but in this case it's because I remembered to give myself more alone time once I got to the theatre.

I got there early and literally just laid on a couch in the greenroom for about 20 minutes as people started to trickle in. I'd allowed myself to forget how important it can be for me to just become present, and be in the moment before a show. I did too much running around on opening night, taking care of too many things, getting distracted by other people. I very much enjoy being around my cast mates before a show, but I have to balance that with keeping to myself for a while. I wasn't able to do that easily on opening night, so I put in an extra effort to "force" my way into some alone time, though that's too strong a verb, probably.

I listened to music, walked around the stage a bit, sat down there and had a Red Bull. Not going over lines, but just taking in the evening. I retired to the dressing room later, (I like to be among the last to get into costume when possible) and just sat there a while, feeling all "actorish." It's still a tiring experience in ways unique to this production, but I felt more prepared for it last night.

Being present with one's self is, I think, vital to an optimum performance. Not everyone is an introvert like me, even in the theatre, so your mileage may vary, but even the gregarious and excitable would be well advised to take some time alone in the hour or so before a curtain. Meditate, eat, do back-flips, whatever suits you, but do it alone at least for a while. Theatre is a communal thing, a cast is a team, but one must be centered within one's self to be at one's best on stage. That means a conscious choice to avoid distractions for at least a few minutes.

Now the odd limbo of time between weekends. As much as I usually enjoy the company of others in the show, I am happy to at last have a break from heading into the theatre and rehearsing/performing. A second weekend is, if your care about what you are doing, often a sort of tonic, where there is far less anxiety, and far more artistic abandon to make the show better. The few days break feeds into that, and usually I come into a second weekend feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running in a way that opening night doesn't provide.

There will be a pick-up rehearsal Tuesday evening, but aside from that, I'll probably keep the show and everything that goes with it at arm's length between now at Friday.

At least I will try for a while to do so. Knowing me, I won't totally succeed.

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