One Man show week: Night two
Today, April 9, is night two of the One Man, Two Guvnors show week. The following coverage reflects the backstage happenings of the week’s second dress rehearsal and attempts to provide a glimpse at the passions, laughter, and emotions of the night as they unfolded.
Run crew is called via a GroupMe text to the Performing Arts Center to have a scene change rehearsal. When I arrive, a quarter of run crew is standing around playing Pixies songs on the keyboard, a quarter is laying on the stage, and half is nowhere to be found. Someone runs in and yells, “Dinner’s ready!” and we look to the assistant stage manager in charge of the meeting for approval. He sends us to dinner, though when we show up in the Black Box, dinner is, in fact, not ready. We return to the PAC and dance around until the call is heard once again.
I give my senior speech, explaining my reasons for joining tech and thanking the people who welcomed me, made me laugh, and taught me to carry my power. I hug so many people when I finish. After we have run out of chili and moved on to pizza, my friends and I sit in a circle on the stage and try to get a strand of lights working. We sing along as the band rehearses for the show.
Katie Plese and I make a trip to her house to get soda and cooler clothes. We need the caffeine and the stage in the PAC is burning up with the show lights glowing. When we return, the actors are in costume and people are running through the halls attempting to finish any and all last-minute tasks before 5:30 p.m., when rehearsal is scheduled to begin.
The show is running even later than yesterday, but considerably more progress has been made. Pub signs have been hung and a ferris wheel has been mounted. Anticipation is running through the air just moments before we begin the last rehearsal before One Man sees its first audience. The lights shut off, we all fall quiet . . . then slowly return to talking as we realize the curtains have yet to open.
The show is in full swing, and the backstage area is teeming with actors doing quick-changes, technicians taking naps, and the odd audience member who found themselves pulled into the show. People have filled all the show’s cider bottles with water and are attempting to keep themselves hydrated in the heat. We have conversations about subjects from math to testing to emotional stability, but never fail to jump up and do our jobs the second the lights go down on a scene.
Scene four of the first act is playing onstage, and behind the set, almost everyone in sight is lying down and covered by a jacket that does not belong to them. Several technicians are trying to get the lights on a sign to work, while those “on coms”—wearing headsets—communicate with those in the booth about the way the show is appearing from the audience side. I am also lying down and covered with a jacket that does not belong to me.
I realize that somehow, in my exhausted state, I forgot take a single note during the rest of the show. Though this seems far-fetched, it is, as the kids say, a “mood” that is almost surely echoed by every other actor, technician, and director who has worked on the show thus far.