Saturday, October 21, 2017

Opening Night: Jekyll and Hyde

It is done. Opening night. Though the final dress not a disaster, it was in many ways a rough night, and as a result, we were unable to run the show front to back as intended for performance.

Which meant opening night itself was the first chance we had to do so.

And did we do so? Yes. But not without some potholes.

I'll say that certain parts of the show have improved each of the last several nights, including opening night. Compared to where we were a week ago, things could have been a lot worse on our first performance in front of an audience. (I'd say about 25 people out of a house of 44.)

I was more nervous, even apprehensive about opening this show than any I have been in for years. There have been more uncertain variables and unexpected problems, (some of them avoidable if not for poor choices by certain people) that I wasn't sure what to expect at times. I felt prepared mentally going into last night's show, but I wasn't at all certain that all of the variables I mentioned would allow me to accomplish everything in my performance as intended.

For the most part, I delivered an acceptable performance. And though certain doubts still hang over elements of this show, which will probably make me more nervous each evening than I otherwise should or would be after opening night, I cannot doubt the great relief of having put our first official performance behind us.

There are just some plays where, silly as it may seem afterward, one wonders if it can be done. One wonders if on the whole the cast can actually deliver a show before a paying audience. With the completion of opening night, we proved in this case that we are capable. This of course doesn't at all mean that every performance of the show for the remainder of the run will be without issues. That's one reason I remain, at least for now, a bit nervous. But what it does mean is that we can do this show. The parts of my subconscious that perhaps wondered if I/We could pull it off at all have at least been quieted. That will make the hours leading into tonight's performance less stressful than last night's.

A few missed entrances for a moment or two were probably some of them ore distracting elements for me. I myself am unlikely to make that particular mistake, because I am almost always on stage, even when my character is not "present" in the scene. I skidded a few times with a word hear and there with my lines, but nothing I am overtly ashamed of.

The biggest issues last night was a door on the set; it broke in the middle of a scene...left hanging on one hinge. It is supposed to be this way at the end of the play, but for one reason or another it broke prematurely. The actress who had stepped through it was flustered in her attempts to fix it. I was flustered because it would throw the scene. As I happened to play Jekyll, and the actress happened to play Jekyll's servant in that moment, I "ordered" the servant to leave the door be, and tell me what she wanted.

Not the greatest possible save, but it was a gaping hole, almost literally in the narrative that had to be addressed somehow, at least until a techie came out and fixed the door. Had it been another scene, I don't think an ad-lib would have been as readily appropriate. So sometimes we must acknowledge that even goofs, if they must happened, can have good or poor timing. That one, if it had to occur, was probably the best timing available.

Otherwise, it was satisfying to me, at last being able to move about as intended. I am hoping we improve overall a bit each night. If we do, the first weekend may act as a sort of extended tech, allowing us to close out next weekend in high fashion.

But long before that, is tonight, and tomorrow afternoon. 

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