There was a palpable energy in the theatre when I entered tonight. The cast was a buzz, the musicians were all present and the load in of some more last minute pieces were happening. More painting had happened, costumes were arriving and more details were being added to them. I’d stopped at Fabricland to pick up foam to repair a piece of furniture and all seemed to be on schedule. There was nothing particularly special about this night… but there’s something undeniable about the last rehearsal before tech. No matter how tired actors may be, they always want to give that little bit more in this rehearsal as they seem to realize that the focus for the next little while will be elsewhere – other parts of the show are needed to be brought up to snuff, really, really quickly in order to match all of their months of efforts.
Personally, I know it is one of my last chances to give my people on stage any more advice that I have left to improve their performances and I’m always reluctant to let go of the whole project, even though I know it is completely necessary and part of the process. It’s a very draining and energizing process at the same time.
Our production is a show within a show – a backstage story that examines the beginning and middle and end of things. That’s always the way of life, isn’t it? One thing starts and another ends… Just as my job is almost done, the show opens. Just when actors memorize their lines, the characters come to life. The performance itself has a beginning a middle and an end – each character in the story does as well. We cycle through it all and experience each phase.
Even productions as a whole… we finish one show, celebrate it’s ending with a cast party… take a little break and then begin the next one.
That’s the key, isn’t it – relishing the process and each phase along the way. It moves quickly, so you’ve got to pay attention, or you’ll miss it.