Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Half-Life of Radium Girls.

The pun on being halfway done with this show was probably inevitable.

As was my slipping on my daily productions updates here on the blog during tech weeks and opening weekend. Sorry about that. But let's talk about what went on in the first weekend of the show, as tech week itself proceeded as most of them tend to do: a mixture of chaos and progress.

All three performances had small audiences; Saturday's I think was the biggest, with over 20, I think. My impression was that everyone who came to see the show enjoyed it, however. I wouldn't say "electric," but involved. There are a few funny moments throughout the show, and from what I noticed, someone in each audience laughed at most of them. Some such moments got big laughs, in fact.

My guess is that the show is lesser known around this area, and thus hasn't pulled a large audience. Also, though I am fond of the BBAC as it is my "main" venue right now, it has often had a problem drawing large crowds for most of it's shows. The reasons for this are an on going discussion among those of us connected with the place, but we're aware. Our director is very popular in another community theatre in the area, and I thought perhaps that popularity would bring more people from her circles to see the show. It may yet do so, but it didn't for the opening weekend, it would appear.

As for the performances themselves, I won't lie, they were rough at times. I've said all along we probably could have used an extra week of rehearsals, but since that was not an option, some bugs were being worked out in the actual performances. A few others appeared here and there as well.

The worse was on Saturday for me. One of my scene partners forgot to show up for the scene. I wasn't aware it had happened until I turned to ask  him the question my character was due to ask, and found nobody there.

I proceeded, as best I could, to incorporate his lines into my own lines for the scene. I was lucky to be playing a reporter at the time, which allowed room to used this trick more so than my other characters. A guy reading news flashes and quotations from his notebook. Others in the scene, who at first didn't realize what the problem was adapted in a few moments, and helped take some of the weight off. in the end, I could have done a better job at remembering the order of the missing actor's lines, but I'm not beating myself up over it. In fact in some ways I consider the whole thing one of my best, most professional moments as an actor. I didn't panic, didn't forget where I was, are stand around looking dumb. I let training take over, remained calm, and proceeded. I'm sure it must have for at least a few seconds appeared awkward to the audience, but giving myself some credit on this one, it could have been a lot worse if I had panicked.

Not that I want to experience that very often. It was only the second time I ever had to deal with that kind of blooper, and this one was probably worse than the other one. But there are times in an actor's life when invisible poise, calm and reliance on knowledge of the moment speak just as much to his talent and professionalism as those parts of his performance that other people see. Few people probably knew what happened, but if they were unaware of just how big a hole in the show they were witnessing, I did something right. I'm not perfect, but I'm pretty damn good most of the time.

I did lose my cool once during the weekend, and it wasn't because of the missing actor. It was due to another error of a different kind, not as huge but still annoying.

I have some fast costume changes in this show, and for opening night my costume pieces, which had always been placed by crew in the same place, were that not nowhere to be found. I had to perform that character for the rest of the show without his specific costume, and I did get blustery about it, to tell you the truth. Turns out the costume had been thrown by someone, (I never was sure who) off stage during a scene change, and fell behind two side curtains. I was extra annoyed because I had only just finally established some kind of system for maximum efficiency and minimum help from other people for all the costume changes. But, afterwards, discussions were had with the proper people by the stage manager, and it didn't happen again, so I won't dwell on it here.

The Sunday matinee had some issues as well, but strictly speaking, unless I missed something big, it was probably the smoothest of the performances for the first weekend. Scene changes, though still clunky were usually faster than they were during tech week and the first few nights.

Through all three shows, I was satisfied with my performances, and I hope to improve on what i do even more for the final three shows. No pick up rehearsal though, and I think we probably needed one, but schedules are schedules. So I'll keep reviewing my lines until then, and give it my best as I always due once the weekend gets here.

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