The house holds 50 people for this show. We had about thirty last night. As is often the case for Friday opening nights, (for whatever mysterious reasons) it was a quiet crowd. There was some laughing here and there, but they were quiet during some funny moments. And though I thought we were losing them for a bit near the end of the opening, (lots of narration to open the show) overall I believe they were engaged.
There were some young children in the front row. I feared they might be restless, but for the most part, the seemed to be paying attention. If not, they were quiet about it. When Marley screamed, some of them covered their ears, but none of them cried or ran out of the building. Even an infant in the lobby was quiet the whole time.
We hit some rough spots last week and this week in rehearsing, and it's very important not to assume there will be no mistakes from here on out just because opening night was solid. But solid it was, and it always comes as a significant relief when that first show in front of people is out of the way. There's a reason why a second night is almost always better than opening night.
Truth be told, I wasn't quite as nervous as I feared I might be going into yesterday. Not sure why. Confidence in my contributions, though with humility is probably part of it. We also had a good final rehearsal the night before. (The old superstition of a good final rehearsal portending a bad opening night did not come true in this case.) But everything just seemed more casual on opening night than it is for some shows. In some ways id didn't quite feel like it was opening night. Probably having just over a month to rehearse is part of that.
I must say I felt a bit awkward at the beginning, though. I lead the audience in singing. I'm not that worried about singing, but I'm out there all alone for quite a while, opening the show. I wanted to just get on with the rest of the show about halfway through the song.
The narration with everyone else that opens the show after the song makes me a bit nervous, though it went fine last night. Hopefully I will feel less nervous tonight. (But not complacent either!)
It's hard to judge reactions in a venue and in a play like this, but I think the audience liked Topper, my smallest role, the best of everything I did. I also think they liked my narration, but of course, an audience is always going to pay more direct attention to a narrator type character, I would dare say.
So the opening is behind us, and I am glad of it. Saturdays are almost always the best crowds. Will it be so this time? Perhaps the Ghost of Christmas Present will bless our humble playhouse with a sprinkling of his torch tonight.