"Listen to that! Would you listen to that!?"
It worked. I've got so much to say, so much flying around in my brain, I just
don't know how to go about it. Perhaps it will just happen.
Five minutes before pre-show (more on that in a bit) I called my cast together
one last time before the show began. I did it because that's how it was done
everytime I'd ever done a show. The director has the cast come together before
the show and gives a few inspirational remarks... I know that so many times
I've assumed director's pull these talks out of thin air to pump their cast up.
Perhaps, some do. I didn't. I thanked them for their time and dedication, but
most of all for their trust. The rehearsal process is a scary one for both the
director and cast member. The director has to find a way to get a cast to tell
the story doing justice to the text as well as do what will make them look as
good as possible. In order to do this he must have a cast that is willing to
do what the director asks for. It's a cyclical process that can become
problematic. Luckily I got through it.
I sat in the audience tonight with the Notre Dame "crew". I've seen the show so many times, the process of seeing it become second nature, until tonight rolled along. We had a packed house, every seat had two eyes on my stage. Four of my cast members begin the show as the house doors open, stretching and rehearsing to "Cabaret" and "All That Jazz". Very Brechtian. At least, that's what I'm calling it. (Note to those who haven't seen the show and are planning to, get your tickets and into the house as the doors open for the full effect). When the doors opened and Derrick began this pre-show, it hit me that this was "it". What was so magical, special, whatever you want to call it, was seeing the notes I've given for the past so many weeks to actors digested and work.
I know the feeling well, you finally have an audience and you just get
that much more into the show than you ever had before rehearsing for a
director and crew. I saw that in my actors tonight. I saw them lose the concept
of rehearsing and live the text, live the music, live the moment. That's what
it's all about. I watched the audience a lot. I had their eyes on my cast for
26 minutes. That felt good. During intermission, after my part of the evening
had ended, someone told me that they enjoyed it but asked why it was only about
ten minutes long. The fact that it seemed like only 10 minutes as opposed to
near thirty made me feel like I had accomplished what I set out to do:
short and sweet. Get up, do what you do well, and leave with them wanting more.
Many people have asked me what I enjoy more: acting or directing. I've given
the same answer to all of them, something like "I love them both." In reality,
nothing compares to acting. Being on stage, being
in the moment, living the text is such a thrill. But, being able to, on opening
night, be able to sit back and enjoy the work you put into getting the peice
where it is is quite a thrill, as well. As an actor, I've never gotten
"butterflies". I started young and never knew I was supposed to get them, I
suppose. Perhaps, I do get them and just see it as being really excited, ready
to go, motivated, pumped... thrilled. I got the same feeling tonight watching
the show unravel.
A few of my cast members are virtually brand new to the world of theatre.
There are a few of these newcomers who have come so far so fast. I see
that the bug has bit and that they are having fun on stage. I love knowing
that I helped them realize how fantastic it feels up there. I can sense that
they really appreciate my giving them the opportunity. I don't mean that
egotistically at all. Joel is a freshman, this is his first show ever and
the first day of rehearsals he said he was scared of "screwing up". Now
he's having a blast. A few weeks into rehearsal he said that he was
dropping out of the fraternity he had just began to become involved with
so that he could do the show. It's little things like that that make
the process so worthwhile. "It's the little things you do together that make"
theatre a joy.
After the show, the Notre Dame group took me out to the Fairmont for
dessert. Kate had some ghastly brownie object that tasted like mouthwash.
Speaking of Kate, as she was driving me to my car at the end of the night
a cop pulled her over. Yikes! Why is it that when it comes to her and I
car problems come up? Turns out she just needed to get an updated registration
sticker on her license plate. Still, something spooky when it comes to
the two of us and automobiles.
Mike Reynolds sent me what were supposed to be a dozen red carnations (It turns
out they messed up and sent white, but still!) Bob Fosse sent red carnations
out on opening nights... I've never been sent opening night flowers like
this. I was really honored to get them.
The ACTF edjuticator from BYU is coming to tomorrow evening's performance.
I'd babble more but it's 1:45 in the morning and I've gotta' be back at the
theatre in less than ten hours to do it all over again.
It's easier for me to treat this journal writing as a place, often times,
for free thought. I just write what I'm thinking as it comes out. For that
reason, going back over it and fixing, fussing, correcting I fear will cause
more harm then good. After this entry I'll no longer apologize for not
spell checking or fixing mistakes. It's no longer due to lack of time. I want
this as real as it can be. If that means you knowing that when I type fast
I spell less than perfectly, so be it.