The morning of “THE” show, you wake up in rabid anticipation (OK I actually woke up because someone was texting me mere minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off), and the first thought that pops into your head is “Oh…my God. Tonight is the night of nights. I have been rehearsing this show for weeks and now all the work will be presented in flawless theatrical form.” (All right, what I really thought was, “UGH. What day is it? Do I really need to wake up? I feel like I JUST got back from New York a few hours ago. Oh wait. I did.”)
In truth, as I woke up, showered, and consumed a Venti Pike Place, my brain slowly registered that tonight is opening night for “Blessed Event.” But for me, this is a very different opening night.
I have never had an opening night as a director. What a strange feeling! It’s not like an opening night when I’m an ACTOR. Normally, as an actor, I wake up with a sense of, “Tonight, I will be amazing. I can control my staged fate this evening.”
As a director, thoughts run more to the tune of “Holy crap. I gave all the notes I could up through dress rehearsal and now…I must let the show RUN ITS OWN COURSE.” As a human, as a theatre connoisser, and as a director…I must RELINQUISH CONTROL.
Trust is not an issue here, so don’t go accusing me of being a terrible person JUST yet. As an actor onstage opening night, I have to go in with unfettering trust for my fellow actors. We are all in this TOGETHER.
I mean, Jim and I, we cast this show together. I have faith in these artists…these…FRIENDS. But I can already see myself squirming in my seat with anticipation…but why!? WHY?!
Here are some of my thoughts:
-as an actor, you are stuck onstage
BUT as a director, you are stuck IN THE AUDIENCE amongst the reactions and non-reactions and grunts and laughing and tears and people asking for cough drops and passing each other tissues and yelling too loudly when their hearing aids aren’t on. On stage, I feel as though I have some control over getting people’s attention. In the audience, I have to be…part of the audience. Wait. Maybe that’s the problem.
Thank you, blog. I just realized something. I’m NOT going to be onstage. I’m part of the audience. Jim and I helped to create this artwork. We shaped it, the actors made it grow into something beautiful, and now, we needs must separate from the work and let it be. It belongs to the ACTORS and the AUDIENCE now.
Now I know what my parents felt like when I got my license. Or went to prom. Or flew across the country by myself.
I suppose it’s the same thing we learned when we were getting our Acting B.F.A’s…you spend hours, weeks, MONTHS training and rehearsing, and then you have to let it all go and just trust in yourself and everyone else involved that it will be a beautiful and wonderful experience all on its own.
My GOD. Maybe I AM a terrible person! I take it back. This IS about trust. Okay, well. I know I can trust myself as an actor. But perhaps tonight, for the first time, I need to trust myself…as a director.
I don’t know about you, but I feel better now.
PS COME SEE THE SHOW. Obvs. www.windhamtheatreguild.org Our box office person said that she’s never seen ticket sales this brisk in her 6 years at the Windham Theatre Guild! Holla at yo girl.