Dearest readers, I have been thinking of you often, but in the late-night and early-morning torpor which infuses my sentience (those being the only hours that I am not in rehearsal or performing), I have been unable to drag my leaden digits to the computer. It is Monday, a day of rest, before the onslaught of tech for Part 2. What an incredible experience this has been!
Last night, after our (for now) closing show of part 1, we had a champagne toast, and Sean Daniels said to the actors that we spend so much of our time living other people's lives (our characters), that tonight he hoped we could be truly in the moment of our own lives, and realize what we had accomplished, and he called us kings and queens. It was very moving. Especially since my clown name is Queenie, and that clown name came from my nick-name when I was but a wee child of two or three, which was also queenie, and might have something to do with my sense of entitledness. As I am fond of saying, "I love working as part of an ensemble, especially when I'm the best one."
In any case, here we are, about to embark on Part 2, having had half the rehearsal time that we had to put up Part 1. We do have the advantage of knowing the characters (for the most part) and each other. I actually have the good fortune to be playing a character that has not been introduced before, the wizened old miser Mr. Gride, whose attempt to marry the love of Nicholas' life is one of the plot engines of Part 2. I am having a ball! I love playing nasty old men. Most of the time we have to worry about bad breath and body odor when we go on stage, because we don't want to offend our fellow actors. I am trying to figure out how to enhance my halitosis, so Delia MacDougal won't have to work so hard at trying to avoid my embraces.
And it's really fun switching between Gride, who is so evil, and Miss LaCreevy, who is so good. I have to switch really fast, I have four back-to- back scenes, where I'm going between the two of them - I'm navigating the territory between heaven and hell at a rapid pace. For me, it's much better than purgatory, which seems boring.
I am awestruck at the bonds which have been created among our company. It is very unusual to be able to work with the same group of people over a period of almost four months. It happens if you are a company member of some year-round theater company, for instance at Ashland. I remember it well from working in the S.F. Mime Troupe for five straight years in the early 1970's.
But for most of us, we work with a group of people for 8 weeks and then don't see each other again for months, or years, and its never exactly the same group. We have become so close, it is such a dedicated group of actors and crew members. I realized that what we have in common is that we all like to work really hard. There's not a slacker in the bunch, because that person wouldn't survive the grueling schedule, the heat of the matinees, the 100 times per performance that we climb the stairs to get to the stage - even though we are all exhausted, we are thriving. The audiences love the show, they see us working together to tell the story, and it moves them.
I'm getting sick of sounding so positive and exhilarated. I'll sign off, and hopefully by the next time you hear from me, I'll come up with something really good to complain about. Much love, Joan