It's the eve of Opening Night already.
Since when last I posted, our cast had to replace an actor at the high-water mark of Tech. Injuries sustained in the line of duty forced us to call up Dave (aka the Uber-Theatre-Marine from Valhalla) (He plays Spider Man at Marvel Comics events, I kid you not, this guy really IS a superhero) with about 48 hours to learn the show before Opening.
It helps that he'd already played the role in question about a year-and-a-half ago. But still, with the twin monster storytelling sequences and the notorious clusterf*cks involving all three of us, it's a feat to be remembered. All I can do is watch in awe and scramble to keep up.
We played tonight before a preview audience, and Lord, let me tell you, it's a whole different piece of work. There are all these humans, now, everywhere around us, and all this energy gets washed over the stage and back again in strange new rhythms that I hardly know how to manage. It's like I'm learning the show all over again (which, in fact, is what we're doing). It takes a few moments, before you get over that instinctive aversion to presumptuous strangers who have the nerve to just walk in there and watch you progressively humiliate yourself.
At this point, we're feeling pretty happy with ourselves that the audience enjoyed the play as much as they did, and we didn't break to call for line--not even David the New Guy/Superhero. We're told that traditionally, the Preview audiences tend to be terse and non-forthcoming (the symptoms of emotional constipation are positively deadly to encounter when you're trying to do your bloody onstage job). But this audience was almost distractingly effusive in their displays.
On the flipside, Bob and I are both messing up things we really shouldn't be messing up anymore. Heavens, I even cracked up on a couple of ocassions in Act II. (I'd really really like to know how to keep a straight face during the "Muck out the cow stalls with this salad fork" speech.)
So tommorrow's Opening. The wider Burlington public is going to see me pottering about in these really really short, tight cutoff jeans and the like. (I'm a little bit disappointed that the Michael Caine hornrims didn't make it in the show, but that's okay.) (I'm actually not at all disappointed that my father isn't going to come out and see this, because it's really uncanny how I'm starting to resemble my childhood memories of him. Jesus, did they really make shirt-collar lapels THAT wide? And my hair hasn't been this thick since before I got that passport photo taken, that the Germans love so much.)
One more thing, a note for future reference; if you ever make yourself a pair of really really short tight cutoff jeans, be sure to be prepared for the shock of cold seat surfaces whenever you sit down. Let's just say that it's really discomfiting for the unsuspecting.
ON THIS WHOLE ACTING THING.
Like a cat carefully choosing a place to hunker down for the night, I'm slowly coming around to the idea of professionally pursuing theatre as an avocation, as a life. Watching rockstars like David and Mark and Kathy at work, as well as the accrued experience of others back west like Randall and Jen, leads me closer and closer to the conclusion that I so enjoy and respect, and am reasonably capable of this work, that it would be wise to pursue my avocation for it in a more formal and deliberate manner. (Believe what you will, but this has nothing whatsoever to do with these discomfiting cutoff jeans that Jenny has dressed me in. Really.)
More on this later. In the meantime, I have a pint of well-earned Ben & Jerry's chocolate ice cream to attend to.