It’s been a long time coming but we’ve made it (all nearly in one piece) to opening night. The tech and the dress went okay but tonight we open to a full sell out crowd – something we’ll have to get used to as only the matinée has any tickets left now. The set looks great and the show is ready to go so all we need is an audience to finish off what has been a great experience.
There aren’t any nerves yet; they will most likely surface two seconds before we go on stage and that kick of adrenaline will get me through the show. And I was chuffed that I only messed up two lines in the dress, which is good for me as my brain is not known for its rememberafying (or vocabulary apparently). The biggest difference with a show like this is the reaction of the audience because it’s a big bold comedy you need that laughter and applause to carry it through – the pace is changed by that interaction – but one reaction I was surprised by was that Nicky and Rod got a couple of sympathetic reactions too for their scenes which I wasn’t really expecting.
That’s the thing about rehearsing for months you almost forget it’s for an audience as you are running through with only a dozen or so of you there and you work off each other’s reactions to the lines and business. Rachael said last night that playing Gary Coleman was a bit worrying for a tall white female, in that it could be received badly but with the dozen people watching last night she got a great reception – as she should she’s very funny in the show and a phenomenal singer. Riding the laugh and being brave enough to let the occasional pauses hang in the air are the keys to the balance of the show and it’s such a talented ensemble that this is not a worry.
The support of the production team and the crew is a huge help when you are transferring from the practise room to the stage as there were several things in the tech that became apparent that would be an issue for the cast with such a fixed and layered set. Everyone behind the scenes really knows their stuff and that completely relaxes you, allowing you to get on with the job in hand. The fact that they are all really friendly is a big plus too because you need to be able to have a laugh too.
It’s the cast though that make this.Ego and one-upmanship is the worst thing in any team and can undermine and ruin the very thing you are working towards but I’ve not seen any with this cast. When you see that great ensemble work without ego it’s a rare and brilliant thing – my big concern in returning to do a show after all these years is that I’d be surrounded by a bunch of divas knee-deep in the politics of positioning but I can genuinely say there’s been none of that and the show is better for it. I am so pleased to find myself among such talented and decent folk and especially with a show as difficult as this to learn and perform.
Tonight it will be great to have a full house and the atmosphere that comes with that. It’s hard to think that we only get to do it another five times and it’s gone. I’m going to enjoy it whatever happens and I really hope our audiences do too.