Over the years, I have been on live television, in PSAs, commercials, radio, etc., but I have to say my most recent experience may have been my most difficult challenge to date, and I have a renewed respect for those that do it regularly.
I’m talking about acting in front of a live audience … the stage.
Being who I am, I had always wanted to try it so I auditioned and was lucky enough to be cast in Easley Foothills Playhouse’s recent production of Agatha Christie’s The Hollow. I had no idea what I was in for and I mean that in a very complimentary way.
The director, cast members, stage management, and production/technical management of the production were seasoned professionals, all stuck with me … oh, how I look back and feel for them. Each member of this production, whom I had the great fortune to learn from, deserves a round of applause, not only for their skills and talents, but for putting up with my constant questions, my determination to play my character. Well, let’s just say not exactly the way the author envisioned him I’m sure, and my being at a complete loss some of the time.
So, thank you one and all for your patience, guidance and shared wisdom. Now for the fun stuff, for those who have never been a part of live theater.
Although the cast and crew are aware of every dropped line, missed cue, early or late entrance, with performers like the ones I worked with, the audience was never aware. Not that the rest of us didn’t, we just sort of laughed, shook our heads, or wrung our hands back stage. By the third night, it wasn’t unusual for someone to be napping between their scenes, camaraderie, jokes, and completely unrelated fun behind the scenes.
I had always assumed a production, even on this scale, took a great deal of work, but I had no idea how much. I don’t think this community realizes what a gem it has with their local theater as actors come from out of town to perform here. If you’ve never seen one of their productions, you should do yourself a favor and take one in. You won’t be disappointed.
Learning lines, blocking, motivations, repeated rehearsals, tech and dress rehearsals … there is an unbelievable amount of time, work, and dedication that goes into a quality performance and I am not going to take credit for any of it. These people carried me along on a wave of performances I won’t soon forget.
I made friends, stoked a new passion, learned to build a fourth wall and make an audience disappear, and just how much I still have to learn. I plan on doing more of that learning this fall, but I did learn one thing about myself that should last me a lifetime.
Should a lobster ever make an unexpected entry five minutes early, I know how to survive. You had to be there …