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As I pulled open the door to the Mexican Heritage Theatre’s cast entrance, I could tell that the mood inside was not only playful, but incredibly positive. I know you are probably thinking “Well, duh!”
So let me backtrack, Tuesday at work was just a funky, junky day, to be brief. So when I got to the theatre after work, I wasn’t in the right head space to feel or “see” that there was some weird energy going on around me. I carried with me all the frustrations and problems of the day as got my costumes on and props prepared for the run of the show. This would be our first true run thru of the show with the lights, and sound and set changes all happening. Because of this important point in the rehearsal process, I had an even harder time finding that calm one usually needs to find the character that you are about to bring to life. So I was still in my own little world even after I stepped onto the stage for the first time. This is always bad. Always. As I walked off stage, I FINALLY began to get into the swing of things. But the mood felt odd. Still. I thought it was something that I had brought with me, but as the night wore on, I realized that there was something more going on here. I couldn’t put my finger on it, though. As we get to the intermission break, I begin to hear grumblings in the dressing room and BOOM!!! Now I know that we are officially in the dreaded Hell Week. Sarcastic Hooray inserted here. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, we loving refer to the week before Opening Night as Hell Week. This is the week where everyone is needed for what seems like forever, as we stand around for lighting cue set ups, and the stop and starts of scenes to test set changes, costume changes that may or may not work due to how fast some of them are, and organizing where you need to have your props set for minimum travel time. While this whole rehearsal process has had it’s ups, it’s also had a few things that have become a habit. Those habits were the foundation of the anxious energy that was in the building. Add the stress from the past weekends events, and the new challenges of the run, and you have people who were seriously on edge, and by Act 2 Scene 8, things had reached the point where people were getting angry. So after the run, the group had a pow-wow and a whole lot of frustration was let out! Luckily the people who voiced their frustrations used well thought out criticisms and made valid points. So as I left the rehearsal that night and drove home, I wondered what the ramifications of the event were going to be on the next few nights.
Before today’s run thru of the show, we all took a moment to get on the same energy and wave length. And even though I was late (What? I have to work.) and made it into costume 15 before places, I was able to share and focus my energy and dedication to the cast and production. So when we hit the stage, there was a few minor hiccups, but things sailed and we made it with a show of 2 hours running time. I did break my bottle of booze, so the props manager had to make a snap choice and gave me a plain old cork to use. Minor crisis averted! Personally, I screwed up two of my lines. One of them, I am supposed to say “Puro vaquero” and it came out more like Puro Cabrone, I don’t even know what that means. The other line I missed was more like I jumped on top of my cast mate’s line.
Everyone who participates in this process is important. Allowing them to the chance to talk openly and constructively made for a positive change, while bringing up those issues that need to be handled. Even more important, as long as the words they use aren’t voiced as personal attacks, the lines of communication stay open and fixes for those issues begin. Just like any other problem.
So even though the last two nights have produced two different performances, I am totally confident that we’ve got a show kids! Woo hoo! Get your tix now, guys. Click on the picture above to order your tickets and there’s an early bird special. If you get them ahead of time and not wait til your at the door, you can save a couple of bucks. Maybe donate it to a good cause. Like Teatro!