we have set our framework well and everyone is on the right track, it can be a wonderful thing to watch performances not only get sharper and
cleaner, but also more vibrant, confident, and full of life. Of course
I wince whenever there is a mistake: a wayward follow spot; a late cue;
an off note; a dropped line; a wardrobe malfunction; a mangled bit of choreography. Every artist involved winces and kicks themselves over their own individual mistakes. And I feel their pain.
With so many things which could possibly go wrong, you would think watching every performance would be an ulcer-inducing nightmare. I’ve been there through the creation and planning of all these elements, so I’m hyper-aware of the smallest of mistakes. Errors that, for the audience, are perhaps not even noticed are, for the actors, for the crew, for the orchestra, and for myself, magnified ten-fold. But you live with that. It’s part of the art of live theater. There is no editing and re-shooting. There is no scrapping the project mid-stroke and starting over. We may prepare for our craft behind closed doors, but the actual creation of our art takes place in front of a live audience. And it must be re-created over and over during every performance. So we prepare to the best of our ability; we pray that we will be inspired in the moment; and we give it our very best shot. And we take our lumps when we don’t get it just right.
But those mistakes which inevitably occur, those many little heartbreaks, are nothing in comparison to the thrill when everything goes just right. There are moments when every actor onstage, every musician in the pit, and every technician behind the scenes simultaneously does their job to perfection. When, moreover, their energies are all vibrating on the same level and the artistic synchronicity is practically buzzing in the air. When, the absolute most important part, the audience is caught up in this energy; taking it in, increasing its power, and giving it back. I want to be there for these moments. Sitting there in the dark watching it all come together; knowing the collective effort which has built to this moment; knowing everything that could go wrong; and witnessing it all come together in one crashing wave of shared experience — it gives me goosebumps.
I enjoyed several such thrills over this past weekend. I also winced my fair share, but the goosebumps far outweighed the little heartbreaks.
I talk about work a lot. We worked, indeed. We worked to prepare and we worked even more to present. And we had four fantastic, exuberant, sweat-drenched performances. Throughout the run, the cast continued to perfect their technical execution of the work; as well as to evolve in artistic interpretation; and they played to increasingly large and enthusiastic houses.
Many thanks to the wonderful audience members who joined us! Unofficial word is that we increased total attendance by more than 400 folks from last year.
I hope you’ll join us again next year for "The Mikado." And that you’ll continue to demand this work from us for years to come.