It’s that time every actor dreads… TECH WEEK. Time to make sure all the pieces of the show fall together, meaning the props are made, the costumes fit, the set is finalized and all the lights and sound come on when they are supposed to. Up until this point, you’ve played “make believe” with a lot of the details. Don’t have REAL cupcakes? No problem. I’ll just pretend I’m eating one, or I’ll buy some munchkins at the Dunkin Donuts and eat those instead. It works (and they’re delicious too)! Don’t have that sign you’re supposed to hold up as part of a punch line? It’s okay. I’ll just grab a phone bill from my purse and use that instead. But now the moment of truth has arrived, when we find out if everything really DOES work. And maybe it’s just me, but it’s f**king scary!
And it’s a bit more intense when you do a lot of what I like to call “guerilla theater”. I should note that guerilla theater is a term traditionally reserved for shows which are performed on the streets and deal with political and social issues, but I fully believe the term applies here too. To me, it should apply to ANY show where you have to dig in the trenches with your fellow artists and do what needs to be done! Remember those movies where Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney would excitedly exclaim, “Let’s put on a show!” and then they’d proceed to throw up a show in their backyard? No surprise they were called “backyard musicals” and they were wonderful. (Check out “Babes in Arms” sometime and you’ll see what I mean.) When you do guerilla theater, it’s much the same. It’s the ultimate in DIY. And it’s not to say that it’s unprofessional. Some of the productions I am most proud of have been launched in such a fashion. An actor isn’t just an actor. A director isn’t just a director. We are all working as a team to make sure everything comes together by opening night.
Just last weekend, I was making rice crispy treats at 10:00 o’clock at night for a rehearsal I had the following morning for the show I'm currently doing, Farce This! These treats are used as one of my props, and I wanted to start practicing with them. As it turns out, my PRACTICE props will probably be the ACTUAL ones I use in the show. They’ll be a week old by opening night, but hey, who hasn’t eaten a stale dessert in real life? I just hope I don’t crack a tooth in the process. Just kidding. Sort of.
I had my first official run through last night of the show, and I felt those magical moments on stage that remind me why I love acting so much. I feel blessed to be working with such talented people, who are also a part of my acting studio, Matthew Corozine Studios. There is a camaraderie and trust already built in because of the common experiences we share. But with live theater, there are also moments of panic where you think “What the HELL is my next line?” (even though you’ve drilled them FIVE TIMES IN A ROW right before the run through and you not only know YOUR lines but your partner’s too). The slightest reaction from the audience can make you pause and wonder if you are in the right place in the show! That said, it’s only a slight hesitation and luckily the “Theater Gods” (or whatever you want to call them) as well as my amazingly talented castmate, Cali Daby, are always there to push me forward. Having a partner you believe in, who believes in you, makes all the difference in the world. (And it helps keep my “fear gremlins” at bay!)
So tomorrow night, as I stand backstage waiting to enter and be my best Midwestern Mama, I will remind myself why I do this. Because I LOVE it. And there is nothing in this world that makes me happier. And for those of you around this weekend, please come by and check us out: http://farcethis.brownpapertickets.com. Maybe I’ll even make a fresh batch of rice crispy treats to say thank you for attending. Merdé!