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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another one bites the dust: 2 more and home free!

Today is it! Woohoo! The curtain comes down on a less than stellar show, and we are all breathing a huge sigh of relief! Actually, we've all been waiting for this day, with baited breath, since opening night. Not usual to want to close before you even open a show, but every once in a while you get a stinker that just seems like work, and this is one of those.

I filled you in on the rehearsal process, and though the performances themselves have been a cake walk in comparison, there are certain things that have made this an.... "interesting" experience. The 50 mile commute, one way, in usually hideous traffic, has not been fun, but there are some other things that made this experience feel more like community theatre rather than professional, union theatre. There are 8 of us (male and females) crammed into a very small dressing room, with nowhere to escape to. No 'green room' and only one bathroom, that I wound up cleaning before opening night, because it was just too disgusting for words, and it was obvious no-one else was going to do it. It has remained dirty ever since.

The A/C makes too much noise, so they shut it off before a performance. Factor in the stage lights, and you have a bunch of sweaty, almost suffocating actors performing in what feels like a sauna. With wigs and heavy 'period costumes', you can just imagine what that must feel like. Normally all clothes that touch the actor's skin (called skins) are to be washed after every performance. Not! I wash my own socks. The costumes are to be dry-cleaned or washed once a week. Some of the costumes can't be washed, and those never got dry cleaned. Too expensive. Febreze anyone? We've had the same semi-empty generic brand bottle that doesn't work, for the past 5 weeks.

Then we have the director's pre-show speech that drags on for 10 to 20 minutes, which is nerve-wracking when you have the first lines, but shows just how smart he is. We pretty much got panned by all 5 papers. This is the first time I have ever been involved in a show that has been universally panned, so it was a nice humbling experience for all involved. They all actually spent most of their reviews criticizing the play, which left little room for the actors etc. but still, not a good thing for ticket sales or egos, for that matter. But our audience attendance has been much better than anticipated, considering the bad reviews, and, surprisingly, they have been enjoying it! And this is where the savviness of the director comes in. He has displayed the reviews, in their entirety, outside the theatre, and during his speech he spends a lot of time discussing them, and then encourages people to go read them, and to tell him, after the show, what they think of the production, good or bad. He then tells them that he doesn't know whether people will like the play or not, but that he set out to do what he had intended to do, and whether it was worth it or not, was up to the audience. What he is doing, essentially, and which is a very clever ploy, is getting the audience on his side and setting them up to enjoy it, by lowering their expectations. I'm not sure whether he's conscious of what he's doing or not, but it certainly is working!

There are other things, but I'm too tired to get into them, and I need to go to bed. 2 more shows and the brain needs to function. But then, reprieve! We did have a great group of people, but......

Kiss another one goodbye. Until the next one.

18 comments:

Karen said...

Congrats on hanging in there and being the professional that you are. The next one will be better.

We are big supporters of the arts here, especially theatre. We have season tickets to a local community playhouse in our area of town and our son has taken acting workshops there for several years. Our last, most fun show we enjoyed as a family was "Spamalot", the traveling company that was here in May. It was great fun.

Pat Jenkins said...

congrats incog. your tony? awaits.

PaulaBXX said...

thanks Inc, for hilarious reading, you made me laugh out loud with your observations, and I applaud your outlook on the whole 'drama'!! Well done for sticking it out, bare facing the critics, and being a real pro. Fingers crossed the next production brings you karma rewards for the trials & tribulations of this one.
PaulaBxx

WomanHonorThyself said...

ah yes what should I wear to the awards show when u get your TONY girl!..heh

Donald Douglas said...

Hey Incognito! Just dropping by for a good ole hello! Have a great night and a productive week ahead!

Pat Jenkins said...

in further thinking of your post incog, what has been your favorite part you may have played? and where pray tell is your favorite place to perform? if you have any.

Incognito said...

Phew!! Done! And out with a whimper. We probably had the smallest houses to date. Ah well.

KAREN: Thanks! The next one *will* be better. :-)
That's wonderful you support the arts because it needs all the support it can get. Ah... a budding actor, eh? Not a career I'd ever recommend unless someone feels a strong calling.

PATJ: I wish... maybe some day. My favorite part was a Bosnian refugee and Goneril in King Lear. I have others, but those are my tops. As for my fave place to work Don't really have any. :-)

PAULABXX: Hello Miss P. Thank you for your good wishes. It was a bit of a challenge.. but still very grateful, in spite of my complaints, for the weeks of work. On ward and upward.

DONALDD: Well, hello back atcha! You too. Have a lot of catching up to do.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Congrats!! And yes, this was a fascinating read of what its like "back stage". Thanks for sharing it with us.

Frasypoo said...

Hi Incog,
We try to support our local theatre when we can.They are pretty good.
The clothes never being washed bit got to me.I bet it would bug the life out of someone who had to wear that a lot!
People think acting is all fun and games but it is not.
Thanks for sharing...its a world I would never have known about!

Pat Jenkins said...

thanks, i hope you can find more "parts" that can or will be memorable. have you ever played at La Comedia in Springboro, Oh.? just curious!!!!

Panhandle Poet said...

I really enjoy the glimpse into the acting world. Thanks and better luck on the next one!

Incognito said...

LMC: Hey Dee. I'm sure you will have your 'radio' stories too.. :-) It is quite amusing what goes on backstage.

FRASY: Hiya Poo. That's great you support the Arts as well. We need all we can get.
Yeah... the dirty clothes was quite gross... I'm surprised the costumes didn't up and walk away at some point.
It really isn't glamorous at all. You have to deal with all sorts of things that are, oftentimes, not fun.

PATJ: :-) No, have never worked in Ohio. But ya never know, maybe some day.

PAN: Thanks PP. The next one will be better. I hope.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

I told ya, if ya put some singing cats in there that show woulda took off!

Incognito said...

You're probably right BCF! We should have turned it into a musical. :-)

Ugly Naked Guy said...

It is so cool that you are a conservative and an actress too. My wife started a community theater in our small town and it consumes a great deal of our time. We are Oklahoma! in a month and as usuall, I am worried. We have NO money and we need this to be well-attended so we can get some. BTW, you may be interested in a post of mine from a couple months ago about an interesting backstage incident:

http://ugleenakedguy.blogspot.com/2007/03/curtain-incident-study-in-prejudice.html




p

Freedomnow said...

At least you didnt have to play the part of a brainwashed child talking to a stuffed genocidal bee hanging from the ceiling.

That would be really bad...

Incognito said...

FrEEDOMNOW: Had to play a Blueberry once. That was pretty bad.

Incognito said...

UNG: Not too many of us around. Thats' cool about your wife. Can you get grants, community support? Read and commented on your post. Interesting!