Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

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I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Walking With Katrina

An obscure 80's reference.

Wow. A great word. An exclamation. A description. I was wowed. And a palindrome to boot. May all opening nights be this good.

Tech week has been busy, as all you theatre folk can guess. Monday was cue to cue for setting lighting and sound cues. Didn't quite finish, so Tuesday was some more cue to cue, then a full run. Another run and the tech readjustments which have been going on since. Haven't gone to bed before midnight in a week.

As a show is getting ready to go up I wonder, "What will the audience think?" I don't believe I'm the only one, there is a palpable sense of anticipation. After the first few audience responses which reflect what you hoped to share with people, the show becomes alive as never before.

Relief isn't the right word to describe it for me. It is said there is more joy in giving, and when an audience accepts your offer, the joy is phenomenal. I can't conceive taking this for granted. It is the best opening night crowd I've seen for Exchange Theatre, but it was my first one in a year. I'd guess forty people or so, and I'm a horrible guesser. Given the audience response I'd be surprised if we didn't sell out all 165 seats a few nights. There were enough tonight that laughter built and there was a warm blanket of happy chatter floating all the way backstage before the show and during intermission.

I've found Friday night crowds, even big ones, tend to be stoic. People are tired after a long week, and want to watch in a comfy stupor. While they enjoy the show cast often frets because they aren't so voluble. This production has been billed as a comedy, and it is. Like Irish plays, Russian plays have a sense of despair that "bubbles up." I was commenting on that, and one of the other actors interjected "bubbles up" just as I was about to say it. I guess I'm not the only one who feels it. O'Neill, Friel, and Synge works were brought up in the chat as being that way. I was trying to remember Bulgakov's name, the other Russian write I'm familiar with, who writes that way in surrealism, but with the same dark humor.

Still, I was surprised at the amount of laughter and enjoyment coming from the house. I hadn't expected so much, and this was a Friday, early in the run while the show is building. It is exciting to think where we may go. The build through tech and dress rehearsals was tremendous, and there is a tittering of unspoken excitement amongst us about where we're going.

I've been to a number of opening nights for Exchange Theatre over the last four or five years, and I never appreciated how classy they were. Probably because I was not acting in the productions. Going to the lobby and mingling with the guests, having a glass of nice Merlot and raiding the cold cut tray was a treat indeed. This was a rough week. The rehearsals were good, but very late. There was a disaster at work yesterday, and even though I got home early after the preview(11PM), I ended up working until after 1 AM to catch up on things I wanted to get done but couldn't while working the emergency. My sleep patterns were screwed up even more, along with my eating cycle. To come out of a show after that kind of week to good conversation and eats was manna.

The nice comments from a number of theatre professionals, in addition to those from our own director and artistic director more than made up for the dissing last week. Lately, I'm pretty attuned to the searching compliment versus the sincere and meaningful. I feel recharged and hyper right now. I know once I finish my late night dinner in a little while I will fall asleep like I was administered a sharp blow from a blackjack.

Directors must go nuts. The show is cast, the rehearsals have progressed, and the final spark just isn't there. Paula goes crazy, and one my most important jobs in our shows is to relax her. Old Peter Pan spreading mellowness for all. Somehow this show really brought it home. Stuart told us Tuesday we were ready for an audience, and I didn't see it. Told us again Wednesday after the invited dress rehearsal, and after yesterday's preview. I saw a glimpse yesterday, not enough to convince me, and after today I think the man's a bloody genius. Every cast has a personality of it's own, and being able to see or sense what will appear with an audience is definitely an art and not a science.

This is the third professional production I have been in, my second paid gig. It is my first professional gig. Last year I was in Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Exchange. I wasn't paid for that one, and had no lines. The other paid gig was my first time on stage with no lines, and was more for my strong back, truck driving, and usually affable nature. The biggest payment for that was learning the power of audience energy, and what it did to me. It was that moment I knew I had to pursue professional level training. Tonight was my first professional appearance since making that commitment. More, baby, more.

Right now I love the whole freaking world. A transient, ethereal, and beautiful place to be. I'm going to indulge for a bit. Good night my friends!


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