Friday, November 20, 2009

Yesterday They Told You, You Would Not Go Far

My show opens one week from today. And I really would be panicking except I have this vague recollection that I've felt this way before. Like exactly one year ago. And then a bunch more times.

By which I mean the show has "We open in a week!"-itis. Everyone is cranky and impatient and wild-eyed. The sound cues blare at inappropriate times, or there are long stretches of shifty silence while we dart our eyes around and wait for one to happen. The blocking is off because we need to learn how to stand in the light. People are dropping things, and tripping, and running into each other. From offstage, it looks like a junior high variety show up there, which gives me a bit of a stomachache.

And everyone is forgetting their lines. And not handling it well. Like, the scene is rolling along, and then someone is suddenly bug-eyed and motionless and muttering "I'm sorry...I just have no idea...LINE?" Only EVERYONE is doing it.

Now that we're in costume, problems have arisen there, too. "A note?" said Shelley when I came offstage in Act II last night. "Your butt is really...pointy. What's going on there?" "I don't know..." I whined. "I need to speak to Elouise. Her butt is nice and round." That's what happens when you start stuffing hypoallergenic polyester pillow-fill down your pants. The fluff-filled pantyhose "inserts" for my bra popped right out at an inopportune time last night, too. My glasses slip down my nose and I've developed a tick of flicking them back with with my index finger. And damn, those borrowed cowboy boots are hard to run in.

And our director has given up on the gentle encouragement. Now I wait in breathless terror as I sense him rising from his chair, when he stomps towards the stage and starts bellowing "HEY! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! AND PICK IT UP! PICK. IT. UP! THIS IS GOING ON FOREVER, GEEZ!"

The worst part of all is that we've done our "bits" so many times now that he, and the rest of the cast, have completely stopped laughing. Or smiling. Or even having movement in their faces. It's like having Mt. Rushmore for an audience. You stop wondering if you're funny and start wondering if you're even visible.

And that's where I really start to panic. Because if everyone is going to sit out there, impassive and stony-faced, like I'm doing A Doll's House, then we are in big trouble. It's going to be a mighty long evening for everyone concerned. This is supposed to be a BROAD comedy, people.

And then I remind myself that it's like this every time. And that the real audience isn't already bored of my mullet and my cantankerous ways. And that one day--hopefully a week from now--people will watch and people will laugh. A lot. At the play, but also at ME.

And there's no sweeter sound in the whole crazy wonderful world.


Stephanie said...

Sounds like everything is right on target for a fantastic opening!

Mary said...

It is just like that with the kindergarten plays, too! Always the hardest right before!

Now, what about that purse? How can I get it to you before next week?



Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

"It's like having Mt. Rushmore for an audience."

See? That's the kind of brilliant stuff you write. I love it.

Prosy said...

the worse the dress rehersel the better the performance? I think that's a saying...either that or I just made up something brilliant

Jennifer said...

Love reading about your plays. My computer crashed and I lost the info for your other site. Do you mind sending it to me again?

Sam said...

@Steph: Thanks, dear! :)

@Mary: Someone else gave me the perfect purse, but thank you so much!

@Cheri: You are always sweet to me. Smooches. :)

@Prosy: I've heard that, too! Hope it's true! :)

@Jennifer: Thanks for asking about the other blog. I haven't updated in a while, but as soon as I do, I'll renew your invite.