Monday, November 16, 2009

The Broad Way

I started this post fully two months ago. As you can see. Before the play I was in even opened. It has now closed. I am sad about it. Here is what I wrote a while ago. Soon I will return to posts about the baby taking off her pjs and pouring talcum powder all over herself and her crib, and then mixing in wipes to make paste and then getting her hand stuck in the wipes container and then shrieking bloody murder. I will also post about how everything was so much better two weeks ago when I was on Broadway and wasn't dealing with preschool separation (which sucks beyond belief, by the way). And what I'm going to make for dinner (turkey and white bean chili tomorrow night). And babysitters who flake on me one hour before auditions and how the cat scratched the baby's head because we haven't clipped her claws in months and how I messed up and let a big audition get by without managing to go in on it and how there's no snow at all any more. But for now here's what I wrote on 11/16/09. Today is January 20th, 2010. Happy New Year.

So I haven't posted in about sixteen years. Sorry about that.

As it turns out, acting in a play on the Broad Way kinda takes it out of you. Who knew? We do 8 shows a week with one day off.

So we open this week which will be a whole other huge story. And there are many stories within. But I do just want to tell you this one story that is kind of unique for me. And says something about the people I'm working with.

The last phase of any rehearsal period is called tech. Basically, this is when you all move out of the crungy basement rehearsal room where you ate white cheddar cheezits and joked around a lot to the theater where you realize that people who paid money will actually be watching you in about a week. You get in your costumes for the first time and you very very slowly work through the play while all the designers finish doing their work of lighting you, and assembling the set, and altering the costumes and inserting sound cues. This takes forever. You get a few lines out and then you stop and do things again. And again. And again. From college theater to the Broad Way these rehearsals run much the same. They are endless. You spend lots of time in corsets if you happen to be doing a period play. The difference is really the quality of the material your dress is made out of, the number of lights that hang above you, and how many people are helping you figure out where your props are.

Under union rules, I believe, tech can involve two "8 out of 10s" and two "10 out of 12s" which basically means for four days you live in the theater. In those days, you work 8 hours in a span of 10 hours, twice, and ten hours in a span of twelve hours twice. Essentially 42 hours spent in the theater over four days. Typically, the goal is to get out of there as soon as possible at the end of every night. And at the end of tech, people are usually celebrating when their character dies ten minutes from curtain because it means they get to go home.

But what was unique for this tech. What I have never really experienced was the following. There are seven people in our cast. Five of us are done significantly before the play ends. But instead of racing home, a kind of amazing thing happened. When the five of us made our final exits, instead of leaving, we all went up into the front row of the mezzanine of our gorgeous theater, sat down together, ate cold pizza, drank warm beer and watched the final hour of tech.

That was all I got written on 11/16. I didn't ever publish it because I think I wanted to read over it and make sure it was okay. I never had time. On that tech night we all stayed to watch this beautiful special effect that happened at the end of our play. Music and lights and movement and snow. It was pretty amazing, actually.
I miss all those people.
I miss the play.