4/2/2014 0 Comments
Hello hello hello! Greetings from a much warmer Portland, ME (we’ve reached the 40s, and we’re SO EXCITED!), where the sun is shining and the snow is almost starting to melt (baby steps, baby steps). So, Tribes opened last Friday, and it was a marvelous show. The performance was energetic and truthful, the audience was fantastic, and – best of all – my parents were there to see me!
So, all of last week was “preview week.” We had Monday off, and Tuesday we rehearsed noon-5pm, then did our first performance in front of an audience at 7:30pm. The audience understood that these previews were still rehearsals – that we could call for line if need be, or if we monumentally effed something up, we could go back and do it again. Fortunately, neither of those things happened. But on both Wednesday and Thursday as well, we rehearsed noon-5pm, making adjustments in the staging and working some trouble-spots in the show. The preview audiences gave feedback to the artistic director Anita Stewart who passed it on to our director Chris Grabowski. Some issues/suggestions/complaints were addressed, others ignored, and Chris continued to shape the play during rehearsals until Thursday. We tried to work in the adjustments made during rehearsal into the preview that night, and we were usually fairly successful. (It usually takes a few times to permanently remember a change in blocking, but I thought we did fairly well!)
After the show, which was a whirlwind of adrenaline and nerves, we had an opening night party put on by the theatre. It was so great to celebrate opening, because in college we would always celebrate closing. That made sense, because in college the shows we did were one or two week runs, only on weekends. Once it was over, we would celebrate the accomplishment of an entire run. It’s the norm in the professional world to celebrate after opening, because the accomplishment is opening a new production, then the work becomes sustaining what you’ve created. A more pragmatic reason for having the party after opening night instead of closing is because immediately after we close, the theatre strikes our set and starts building the set for the next show. So there’s little time for pomp and ceremony when everyone has already moved on to the next show.
While this run is relatively short – only three weeks, this is definitely the most I’ve ever performed one production (with the exception of when I took The Celtic Cross on tour, but that was spread out over 5-6 months). We perform Tuesday-Sunday, with two shows every Saturday. We’ll also have an early show (10am) here and there for schools that want to see the play (which is what we did today). So this averages out to about eight performances a week, which is just enough to keep us busy!
I actually should get going – I’m off to my second performance of the day, and I want to get to the theatre in plenty of time to warm up and get ready. Y’all be in touch now, ye here?
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Matthew Stuart Jackson
Actor, writer, comedian, cat-lover, scratched-dvd-hater, and aspiring helicopter pirate.