Opening night! I spent most of the two hours, I got to the theatre early, before the show fixing peoples costumes, (why can’t twenty-somethings handle a needle and thread? Who wants to be that helpless?), setting props and, finally getting myself dressed and ready. I didn’t have time to be nervous. Until our stage manager, Ashley, called ‘places’. Now, here’s how it works. She calls dance call about thirty minutes before the show, we all go on stage and run through the dance, we wander off. She calls warm up about twenty before, we go on stage, squeeze hands, do a shake up, wander off. She calls ten minutes, “Thank you ten,” choruses from the gang. She calls five, “Thank you five.” She calls, “Places,” That means the audience is in the house and it’s time to get to our opening positions. Mine, is waiting in the main entrance.
So that’s when the nerves hit me. I’m standing in the dark, able to see the faces of the audience on both sides, I’m not really concerned about knowing my lines or acting, but things happen, lines slip away, from you or a critical cue from a cast mate. I notice that there are not one, but two women in the house who auditioned for my part, that’s always fun, looking out at someone with their arms crossed staring hatefully up at you.
But I take a deep breath, plant my feet and step forward, “I pray you sir,” I mostly shout over the air conditioning and fans, “Is Senior Montanto returned from the wars or no?” And we’re off!! I make it through the first scene, grateful for the rehearsal that keeps me from seizing up, and then, it all calms down. By the time I’m trading quips with Benedick, we’re all good. Nice house that night, but an audience of smilers rather than laughers, it happens. We do get laughs, but now what we expect. Peeking, unprofessionally, out from backstage however, I see broad smiles of enjoyment and amusement on most of the faces, that’s good too. On Sunday, my nephews, 8 and 10 are in the house, and I’m so preoccupied with entertaining them, that I go cartoon, which is probably real close to what the Bard was going for with this one.
So, now to settle into the next five weeks, and get back to writing!! I’ve just had an edit in on a new book, so I’m off to try to please a single editor instead of a full house. I’ll start a blog on that one, for anyone who is interested!
Excuse me, it’s my cue for the second scene. I enter, “How tartly that gentleman looks. I never can see him but I am heart burned an hour after!” I see you out there, wink wink.