Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Opening night

Most of Sunday was spent in a jolly and slightly excited mood. I could barely sit still and got to the pre performance rehearsal session ridiculously early. I used up some of the nervous energy stacking chairs in the rehearsal room before Ruth and Janine (the actresses) arrived. I stacked according to type and colour whilst listening to various emotive songs on my MP3 player, then scrubbed and polished the kitchen chair that was to be 50% of the set.
Ruth and Janine were buzzing with energy too when they arrived. We had a wonky run with lots of fuddled lines. I wasn’t panicked though ‘better to make the mistakes now than during the performance’, I knew I could count on them to do a superb job.
It’s a strange sensation having a piece of work go on but not performing it yourself. You don’t get the performance anxiety nervousness but still feel odd somehow. Its not nerves as such, I can’t really describe it. Perhaps the absurd setting that was the Dewsbury Arts Centre heightened the surrealism of the situation, the ‘back stage’ waiting, casts running their lines and putting on costume and make up, the damp smell of old theatres, the memory board of past productions from the 70s and 80s. Props, set and scenery from ancient productions all around, eclectic, bizarre. Dewsbury Arts Centre was everything I fell in love with the Theatre way back when, miscellaneous props from productions ten years in the past, stored in back stage hidey holes and just left there as there’s no category for them in the store, lanterns and equipment from the 1960s, still working, still lovingly utilised.
Ruth and Janine did a sensational performance. Their best yet. The audience reacted with murmurs and giggles; relaxed into the story and the characters came alive. Their applause was enthusiastic and the general ‘feeling’ towards the piece was positive.
I watched proudly from the technical gallery my view of the stage mingled with leads hanging down from the ageing lighting rig in the eerie glow of the technical manager’s desk lamp. I wouldn’t have had my first glimpse of the fruits of the past five months of labour any other way.

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