Oh My, We’re Opening! [Nerd in Transition]
Night Mother has made it to opening week. While this is a relief, I am certainly not stress free. My shoulders are tight bundles of knots serving to immobilize my neck. Food has become more of the frenemy it always was; I have a fridge full of fruits & vegetables yet my trash can is full of colorful burger joint sacks. I haven’t called him yet, but soon I’m going to beg my landlord to ignore that fact that I will be paying rent at the end of this month in order to finance the show. And I’m worried about my co-star actually having her lines memorized. Today is Sunday, we open on Friday.
The week of opening is commonly known as tech week, theatre folks however lovingly refer to this as Hell Week. These are the nights of endless rehearsals stretching late, as light and sound cues are set up and run over and over. Costumers make changes and last minute repairs. Prop masters fill in little details while replacing broken or missing props for the show. Directors try to let go, trusting the long rehearsal process to pay off as Stage Managers take over. Actors scramble to be where they are needed at any given time, while still working out the emotions of the character and hoping not to forget those damn lines. Producers pay bills and send out more invitations while making last minute phone calls. All this happens in one week, the same week that a group of people will hopefully materialize, at about the same time on the same day, to form an audience.
I have never been more scared of a tech week in my life.
To be honest though, it’s not the tech week I am scared about, it’s the actual run of the show. For me there is a great deal riding on this production. I know that there are people in LA that genuinely want to see me fail. I also know that there are people in LA that genuinely want to see me succeed. Being stuck in the middle of this may be tough, but what is most difficult is that I tend to pick failure over success and this time I’m not doing that. Not completely.
Every day is a tug of war with myself to do what is right for the show, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. This has been a running theme. For example I put off fundraising till the end and am now left choosing rent over production costs. Since so many people as well as my reputation are on the line, I’m choosing the show. Fundraising is still taking place though, we are always accepting donations, plus we came up with the idea to sell off everything on stage. The winning bidder needs to pick up their new furniture the Saturday after we close. Sorry, delivery is not available.
Aside from fundraising I still have to do all kinds of work as both producer and actor. Today is Sunday, tomorrow I pick up a truck from a friend and begin running all over LA and Long Beach for set pieces and props; Tuesday we head to the theatre to load in. After that, lights and sound will be set, actor and director arrive, and hopefully by 10pm on Tuesday our first tech run will be over. We then have two more days of tech rehearsals before our Friday night opening. That is something in itself.
Originally we were scheduled to open on Thursday, but I pushed it to Friday thereby saving the show over $300 and giving us a three day weekend to gather last minute items. Plus who opens a little theatre show on a Thursday? I also have to make two play lists, one for the audience to enjoy pre-show and one for myself to use as an emotional prep-tape for the character. SHIT! I have to do that today!
Ok so, you are reading this on Thursday. That means I am almost done with this all consuming project and that we are opening tomorrow, Friday. But as I sit here writing the blogumn on Sunday, I can feel my heart racing while my mind swirls in an endless loop of worry and self doubt. Will I be able to pay for everything? Will we get all the stuff we need? Other than opening night will there be an audience? What if there isn’t an audience one night, will I get a refund for that night? Will the show be any good? WILL I BE ANY GOOD??
Will this project turn my life toward success and away from mere survival?
God I hope so.
September 9, 10, 15 & 16
801 East 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tickets: $15, $12 Students & Seniors – CASH ONLY
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featured image credit: EIFF