As I looked over Brittain Lake, the lights from the surrounding area reflected peacefully up at me.  The air was warm, and a bit humid from the rain that had passed through earlier this evening.  I stared for a moment, getting lost in the night, letting the stress that had built up over the past several hours fly into the night air.  I took a deep breath, and I continued to walk on home.

See, what many people don’t tell you is that theatre can be stressful.  As I pointed out in my first post about our technical rehearsal week:

Well my friend, you must understand, theatre doesn’t just “happen.”  It may seem that way when you come and attend and see a perfectly flawless performance.  But it takes hard work to put it all together.  Actors and technicians put in a large amount of work behind the scenes, rehearsing, building, communicating, and sweating to bring it all together.

72667_466625933391201_1653945495_n

Along with making the production seem flawless comes a lot of headache-inducing problem solving.  And tonight was all about the problem solving.  Monday is our official First Dress Rehearsal.  Technically speaking it is the first time we focus on the costumes.  As you saw in yesterday’s post, we started on our quick changes a day early. And boy am I thankful for that.  Because tonight, well, we took a small step backward.  See, you have to understand, attempting the sheer amount of changes that we have to do on this show can feel as if we are scaling a small Pennsylvania mountain.  Okay, you’re right, what does Pennsylvania know about mountains.  But still, it is a challenge.  And though it took some time, we seemed up to it tonight.

After finishing the first run through, I looked towards the director, and we knew what had to be done.  More rehearsal.  The scene changes had been magical.  But not necessarily the good magical.  We had taken a step backwards, extending the time of the changes from roughly 30 seconds, to almost 2 minutes in spots.  Now, to the layman this would seem like a complete disaster.  But almost 20 years of theatre had taught me, you sometimes take a step backwards before taking two step forwards.  And two steps forwards we took.

Dr. Mackenzie on a quick break from watching the First Dress.

Dr. Mackenzie on a quick break from watching the First Dress.

For the hour after the run thru, we worked every costume change, making sure we could get each one under 30 seconds.  And that rehearsal was exactly what we needed.  The crew kicked it into high gear, especially Shelly. Speaking of Shelly, this is where I straight up commend a student on some extremely difficult work.  She has taken to wardrobe crew with an ease that I have not seen in a long time.  Quick changes are hard.  And without proper preparation, they will never work.  And Shelly has proven to be a master at organization.  I truly believe that she has been trained by some dark ninja master on the other side of the world.  Hmm, that might just be the exhaustion speaking now.

As the rehearsal came to a close, I couldn’t help but think that with 2 more rehearsals left, we would be hitting our stride just as we opened the show.  Yes, there is still more to do.  In fact, as I type, Carol and Maggie are preparing to paint a bit more on the set.  And that is the type of dedication to the craft that every professor wants to see in his or her students.  The willingness to push themselves to the brink, knowing that in the end, the show will wow and amaze the audience.  Combine that with the strides we saw in the acting tonight, and one cannot help but wonder how good this show is really going to be.  The content in Stop Kiss is not simple or easy, and the actors and actresses are bringing to life characters that are complex and intriguing.  If you haven’t already reserved your tickets to see their masterful performances, I suggest you do.

Carol Sulla being just a bit silly to ward off the stress of tech week.

Carol Sulla being just a bit silly to ward off the stress of tech week.

And now, a quick couple of non-sequiturs.  Anne, Anne, Anne.  Not only has she been pulling double duty in both the opera and the play, but all the while I have been misspelling her name.  So just one more time, for good measure, Anne.  And I must thank the venerable Dr. Mackenzie who continues to be a beacon for us on this show, while alos asistin meh on mah horrable speilling.  Yes, that last sentence was just for you.

Well, it appears that the night is wishing to shed it’s blackout on me, as the curtain falls on my eyes.  Two more nights of rehearsals means just a few more nights of learning what we go through to bring you a show.  I hope we have so far been insightful.  But I will note, if you have any questions for the cast or crew, toss them down in the comments, and I will make sure they answer you.  Until Cue 5 tomorrow, take care.