I’m in Maine, directing a solo show by my buddy Steve Underwood. Steve is a free diver and the name of the show is Underwater Guy. He’s a smart and funny man, with major skills in many areas, including underwater filmography. We created a multi-media extravaganza and, as with many solo shows, we didn’t allow ourselves enough time to complete all the elements of the show, so Steve was multi-tasking all the way up to showtime. Last night we did a preview for about 30 friends. I ended up holding script on the front row, and he called for “line” a few times. But the audience had a good time and the feedback was good, so we didn’t beat ourselves up about the lack of completion we exhibited last night. When we got home, we re-assessed, with the help of Brian, Steve’s partner. Today we are cutting the fat. This morning I cut the script, based on our re-assessment. Two pages gone, two video segments cut, two reduced, and two merged. Steve is doing those edits right now. We let our valiant light designer and board op know about the changes, so they are now integrating them into their designs.
I do so love (and sometimes hate) the process of theatre. It’s like creating a banquet. You plan the menu, buy all the food, and start cooking. Sometimes you planned more than you could finish. The turkey is not done, the soufflé deflated, the pastry fell apart. But oh, the strawberries were perfect, and the guests loved the meal and we chose the perfect wine. And in the bonhomie of the situation, nobody minds.
I hope that today we will actually get to rehearse the performance, and not spend all our time on tech and set and hooking up cables and troubleshooting. But when you plan a multi-media extravaganza and do most of the work yourselves, you typically find yourself doing the tech part, and the acting takes a back seat. Someday I hope to have the funds to hire others to do all that work, so that the acting can take top priority. But I am not upset. The audience is forgiving, and the show is already good. It will get better and better and by the end of this two-week run, it will be close to where we imagined it. And in the next few months we can polish and perfect it.
Steve just now came in to the kitchen where I sit writing this blog post, a day late, and I gave him the Underwater Guy diorama I made him before I flew up here from NYC. He’s going to take it to the green room with him, where it can remind him of the love and admiration I have for him, during the rest of the run, when he actually has TIME to sit in the green room and prepare.
Ah, life in the theatre.