Sunday, April 15, 2007

Run: First Weekend

I've been purposefully distant from the show for the past few days, giving the cast and crew time to gain a sense of ownership for the play. When I stopped in before the run on Saturday night, I could see that ownership was in full swing. The Thursday night show had been lower energy, but from the sounds of things, the Friday show was exciting and instructive for the cast, helping them to understand and clarify moments like never before. They were jazzed about the reportedly large house for Saturday night's run; just before the show, I listened to them shouting out their pre-show mantras, and I was delighted to hear "Go Big or Go Home" in there, but even more pleased to hear a lot of stuff that they generated for themselves. As it should be.

After the run, spirits were mixed. I had told them that this show was being videorecorded, and I think that made a few of them anxious. Besides, they said, the energy was ... odd. Moments happened differently, they said (different than what? The night before? Different than ever before?). That, plus a minor costume malfunction that may have gotten a bit exaggerated in the reporting, made some of the actors feel, I think, as though they'd passed their peak.

But they haven't. They're just exhausted, having been running the show non-stop since Monday night. Today's matinee will be a struggle to get through, I expect; but then they'll have a dark day, finally, and the climb will begin again. By next weekend, I predict new heights, new delights, and, yes, lots of different moments again -- but hopefully they'll be embraced, not feared.

There were two reviews printed yesterday, in the Journal and the Sun. I can't stand reviews, and I feel particularly resentful of the sorts of equivocating write-ups that we seem to get in community theatre. They're not willing to admit that there was anything outstanding about a show, but they can't bring themselves to slam it either (since they're "amateurs," they don't know any better, it would break their little hearts, etc.). But perhaps the cast won't see them, or they won't read into them the same faint-praise tactics that I detect.

In any case, it's the word of mouth that's gonna sell this show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw the show on Tuesday and... it was great. Things that really worked for me were the difference in movement between the Romans and Egyptians and the "grandness" of the main protagonists (particularly Cleo and Antony). I also liked the "youth" in Octavian and the smirking beauty of Octavia - and the befuddled but knowing soothsayer. A fantastic job - pass my kudos onto the cast and crew.