Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Joy of Live Theatre

I have been a "theatre nerd" my whole life. I'm such a nerd, in fact, that I spell the word with an "re" instead of "er" at the end because I think it looks cooler. Sadly, I don't get to perform on stage too often anymore (unless you count standing at the front of my classroom--which often IS like putting on a three-ring circus to keep the children awake and on task).

Once a year, however, I get to harness my inner performer and direct/facilitate the student talent assembly at my school. I have been working on this year's show for the majority of January, and our performances were Friday.

I am relieved that it is finally over, but I LOVE this experience. Despite the long hours of rehearsal and sometimes frustrating complications of getting everyone in the right place at the right time doing the right thing in the right way, the thrill of hearing the applause when the lights dim at the beginning of a performance is like electricity shooting through my veins. The immediate response from a live audience is exhilarating!

Now, there are some potential downsides to live theatre: like the fact that you can't just call "CUT!" and get another take if the first one doesn't work. You have to be able to cope with whatever problem might arise on a moment's notice. The whole goal is to make everything look as smooth as possible on stage so the audience has no idea what chaos is ensuing behind the scenes. Here are some of the FUN problems that came up this time (these did not all happen in the same performance, thankfully):

1) One boy's mom forgot to bring his guitar, requiring a frantic phone call home and all sorts of speed limits being broken.

2) One girl lost her sheet music, even though she "just had it a minute ago". Thank you to kind mothers who can drive to the school on a moment's notice.

3) The tech crew tried to use a new version of one of the minus tracks, but it WAS NOT the same song. It's always bad when you realize that AFTER you push play. Kudos to a girl who kept going even though I know she wanted to burst into tears and run off stage. (P.S. - Thankfully, she got a second chance at the second assembly, and it went really well)

4) One of the stage crew members was standing on the mircrophone cord so the performers were getting stuck half way across the stage and looking at the wings for help that never came because no one could figure out why the cord was so short.

5) One of the microphones cut out even though it was switched on...still not sure about that one.

6) A girl hit her electric violin on the music stand she was carrying and knocked it out of tune. Two minutes of off-key Bach is not pretty... (Thankfully, that was during dress rehearsal, not the show).

Despite all of this, after the show the students received countless compliments about how well they did and how much they all enjoyed the show. So, I guess no one noticed the frantic use of walkie talkies. That's the joy of live theatre!

P.S. - I'll post pictures from the show once I get them from my co-worker.


Carol said...

Bravo to the director of middle school theatre (notice the -re). You deserve a medal of honor for all your hard work. Wish I could have seen the show...well not the oopses but guess that's part of live theater (-er), too. Congrats!

Jeff said...

Sounds like quite an adventure. Congratulations on making it through all that.

Robyn said...

I am so glad that you got to let out a little creative energy. I'm not sure too many people want to take on the task of trying to organize middle school children into a creative performance. Kudos to you!

Kristy said...

Congrats! I'm glad it went well and that you made it through another year of that adventure...and enjoyed it!

Paul and Susan said...

It sounds like a lot of work and quite stressful. You are a courageous woman to take it on every year!