If you would have told me that Tech Week for A Chorus Line would truly begin one wild ride, I may have rolled my eyes. It seems like tech weeks have gotten much easier in recent years. I don’t know why. I can remember that first decade of shows and the tech weeks truly living up to the name “Hell Week.” This one started out simple enough and as we progressed further into the middle of the week, I could feel the tension rising through the cast. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely excitement mixed in there as well, but knowing how exact this show had to be there were repeated clarifications and adjustments.
Then, I got laid off from the nursery. Oy! Right smack dab in the middle of tech, I suddenly find myself without my financial stability. So the practical part of my brain, as small as it is, panics and stresses. But then the actor in me took over and said, this is probably the sign you need to get off of your ass and really try! So I didn’t even think about that situation until after we opened the show. What I did do, however was use it to add to my character. Since all I had was A Chorus Line, it made the determination to make it into that fictitious show all the more real for me.
What I didn’t expect was that because there was so much invested into that “reality” for me, I found this show so much harder to say good-bye to. When we were in rehearsal mode, I never thought I would be so sad that I wouldn’t be dancing these steps with these people eventually. I just thought that it was one more really good show that I was a part of and I will work with some of these fabulous people somewhere else down the road.
Could it be that I now tie the nursery and the show together and I am really mourning the loss of both? I can’t say for certain. While I loved working with the people at the nursery, I was feeling like I needed to move on so I have absolutely no ill will toward those wonderful people. But I will miss them. But because of that little work hiccup, I truly got to experience the out of work actor feeling. It’s one thing to be able to create and pretend the world you need to “live” in for the stage, but to actually really know how “oh shit, how am I going to pay my rent?” feels gave me a link to the physiological changes I experienced. Like when I get really angry my heart beats faster and stronger, I can access that whenever I need to for a scene. Now, I have this link to help me when I next have to create this particular feeling.
I am so grateful for the show because it was an incredible feeling to not only represent this character written for the show but to be able to identify with it not because of where they come from or their sexuality or their religion but because they are actors. I know firsthand how those songs like “I Hope I Get It” and “What I Did For Love” live in that character’s soul because I have lived them too. From the nerves and self doubt at auditions and sometimes even in the rehearsal process to the sacrifices and dedication we give to our time for the theatre.
I don’t know when I will be able to listen to “What I Did For Love” with out bursting into tears. Or looking around to see if I can see those beautiful faces that were on the stage with me. Or recalling all the missed time with friends and family that I cannot re-do because of rehearsals or performances. Or remembering the good times and laughs that I had during all those rehearsals. Or thinking of all the incredible people that I have been lucky enough to call friends over the years. Or being able to help others learn a step or lines at one time or another. It is the ultimate love song to the theatre in my humble opinion.
To the amazing cast that I was so lucky to play with: I hope you know that even though I may not have been one to join in the social gatherings outside of the show that I love you guys so much. It was an honor to be able to share the stage and share our vulnerabilities with each other and the audience. I can only hope that our paths cross again. To our directographer (yes, it is a word… at least I have forced my system to recognize it as one) Jenn Maggio, you are incredible. What a task you had and what you gave us and in turn made us give to the audience was nothing short of magical. And of course all that other stuff I told you after rehearsals.
So for now, I’ll “kiss today goodbye, the sweetness and the sorrow.”
Wish me luck.
The same to you.