Okay my peeps, so I just that had horrible thing happen where you type a whole bunch of shit and the computer shuts down before you’ve saved it and now I have to do it all again. So here goes.
I wanted to catch everyone up on some Drowsy – leading up to our opening night which was last night.
REHEARSALS WITH TECH
So we spent several days after the last post “teching” the show. For the uninitiated, that means simply rehearsing the show with all of the technical elements now that we’re onstage – light, sound, sets pieces moving, etc. These can be such long and tedious days. A lot of standing around, waiting, doing the same thing over and over again, fixing a light or the timing of something. Invariably someone gets bitchy – director, choregrapher, cast member, stage management. We did pretty good. There was a little shortness of temper or sharpness of tongue from the odd person but otherwise not too shabby. That cast stayed in high spirits, a lot of laughs. There were a couple of things that constantly needed looking at. One was the “Monkey” number and the other was the whole “airplane” sequence. For those of you who’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t – intrigued, aren’t you? Anyway, those required tweaking right up until our last rehearsal on the day before opening. But all was solved by opening night.
So our Tech/Dress (1st time with technical elements and costumes, make-up, wigs, etc.) was the first time anyone had really seen each other as well as themselves all made up. And let me tell you, my friends, there were many moments of spontaneous laughter as people would get surprised to come off stage or turn around and see some new manifestation of comic costume genius or incredible beauty. Charlotte Dean, y’all. I take my hat, my wig, my shoes off to her. Everyone looks so spectacular. And I won’t lie, my costumes are pretty amazing and funny and right for Aldolpho. But I feel I need to warn everyone, my second pair of pants that I wear for the seduction are elastic and so . . . “form-fitting” . . . that if I ever sneeze, I could be arrested for indecent exposure. But they are perfect for the scene. Really fun. The wigs are so incredible, from my Cesar Romero pompadour to the Chaperone’s finger waves and kiss-curls.
INVITED DRESS REHEARSAL
We had about . . . oh . . . 450 people come to our invited dress rehearsal. It’s basically like just doing a show. It was great though. People were so excited and nervous, wondering what the crowd would be laughing at, what they would react to. You think you know where the jokes fall in a piece but there are always surprises. The show was a big hit with the crowd right from the first line. Lots of buzz from the cast of understanding what to fix or what “bits” to massage to get the right reaction next time. All in all, people felt pretty good and glad to get an audience.
I’m simply lumping these together as they were more or less the same. The crowds loved the show both nights. It’s fascinating listening to Dean Paul Gibson who is our Man In Chair this time around. So completely different from Jay Brazeau and yet such another totally engaging version. The audiences love him. His M.I.C. is much more giddily joyful about the show but also has a much meaner streak in him. It’s really funny. And just as heart-breaking in the end.
It’s been really great for me to have an audience again. I was starting to wonder if I had made some wrong choices on this one. But I’ve been able to fix a couple of things and massage a couple of things and I think in a few more shows, I’ll be really satisfied. But I’m always fixing and playing. We’ll see.
Everyone was wonderful. Opening nights can always be tricky because often, the audience is tough. They expect to be entertained, they’ve had a little to drink, they’ve eaten, they can be a bit dozy. But, my dears, there was no dozing last night. They were attentive and Dean got them going right from the start and they stayed with us. It was really fun. I felt like I was pushing a little too hard – opening night, home town and all. But I was still in the ball park and I think it went well.
But, of course, I have to have just one good story. Sooooo . . . . I’m doing my number and it’s going quite well. Just before I sing the last line, I do this run onto the bed that the Chaperone is on and I take a huge Matador pose with my arms up above me, facing her. I’m supposed to drop my arms, turn to the audience and sing the last bit. Well, I jump on the bed, take the pose and I feel this nice, wet, booger flop out of my nose and onto my mustache as I stop in the pose. Okay so in the moment, I don’t know how much of it is out there, how far down it is, if it’s just glistening away, if it’s going to drop into my mouth as I breathe in for the last phrase. All I’m thinking is, I have to get rid of it so it doesn’t ruin the finale of my song. So I build in this “inhale” where I breathe in through my nose and wipe underneath my nose with my left hand but it looks like I’m stroking my mustache. I go into my second last big note and, because I was thinking about the booger, I start the note too low (I’ve never done that before) – so what option do I have ???? I make it a “bit” and do a long scoop up into the note like it was on purpose. Then finish the number as rehearsed. The crowd went wild (Thank you, universe). A couple of the cast saw what had happened but the ones who hadn’t thought I had just come up with another funny bit and loved it. Needless to say, when I told everyone what had happened, we all laughed even harder.
I think we have another hit on our hands. I’m so happy for the cast and MTC. I do love this theatre. I spent many happy evenings seeing things here while I was growing up. And I now, hopefully, I get to be a part of someone else’s wonderful memories.