So, last night we opened our three-week run of South Pacific (it went really, really well!)…
I have stretched and learned so much over the last couple of months! Community theatre is a radically different world from the big regional opera company where I sang before. There, by the time the chorus got out of music rehearsal and into staging, all the artistic decisons had long been made and we were just plugged in and did what we were told; in this show, we all collaborate in building the show (within the boundaries of the director’s vision, naturally), starting with the very first read-through – even into dress rehearsal we were encouraged to play and find our own truth in our performance.
And when I say we “built” the show, I mean that very literally – from the giant sand dune, to the rolling platforms used for quick set changes, to the two-story platform in the orchestra loft and the (working) rolling shower, the cast and crew have made, assembled, reassembled and repaired just about every prop and piece of furniture in the show. The pride of ownership that brings to all of us is really remarkable, particularly in comparison to the “hands off!” attitude to the fifty-thousand-dollar-plus sets the opera company uses.
The theatre has also given me something else to bond with my daughter over: since my last post, she has taken on the role of assistant props mistress and is getting a crash course in how real theatre works behind the scenes. (spoiler: she’s hooked)
There is tremendous value in this experience, for both of us – an education for her, and a reminder for me of the genuine magic that can be worked with nothing more than a little paint and fabric, a vision and a lot of hard work and dedication.
Break a leg!