I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and Chag Sameach to those still celebrating Passover! Having a week off from NDW was weird! Maybe you didn’t notice, but I did. Saturday seemed much longer to me.
At our last rehearsal our actors did a lot of everything while also getting in and out of costumes for our Debsan Window Photo Shoot. (Doesn’t it seem more fancy when every word is capitalized?) I can’t wait to see how these pictures turned out. I know that many of our actors weren’t at this rehearsal, but fear not – you’re turn is this Saturday.
I’m always amazed by how time moves. Just a couple weeks ago it seemed as if we had a huge amount of time left to rehearse. Yet, when we return on Saturday we’ll be less than a month out from our show. That’s right, we have 4 Saturday rehearsals left. That’s it. Now the good news is that all the music has been done and our basic blocking (or first layer of blocking), at least, has been done for all but the last scene of the show. Choreography is moving along, and will continue to do so now that Lisa is back, and almost all lines will be off-book (right guys?). So why do I feel like time is running out? Because it is. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.
In addition to blocking the last scene, almost all of the fights need to be blocked, the fair scene is still a work in progress, and not all the dances have been learned. Can we do this is 4 weeks? Yes – if everyone cooperates.
Now let me tell you all a story. Last year I directed, choreographed, stage managed, produced, etc. a play for the school where I work. The cast was made up of 15 teenagers from grades 5 through 8. And they were awful. They talked, they didn’t listen, and it was super challenging to teach the boys how to do a jazz square (something I take for granted at NDW). On top of all that, because of the way the school and our venue had to schedule things, we only had 1 true tech rehearsal. I told my parents not to bother going to the show (granted, they wouldn’t have anyways, as I work over an hour away from Natick) and I was sincerely afraid that my boss would see the show and decide not to rehire me. That’s how bad it was. I worked Memorial Day weekend (and Memorial Day) painting the set, as I couldn’t get any help from the school’s art teacher, let alone any one else. I was prepared for this show to be a disaster.
At some point, these awful students (who are great individually in a classroom setting) realized that they were going to have to do this in front of the entire school and their families and decided to take the show more seriously. Did rehearsals go smoothly at that point? No. But they started to be a little bit better. I did have one girl who kept asking what would happen if she got sick and couldn’t do the show (her family allowed her and her brother to be “out sick” the day of the chorus concert so that they wouldn’t have to participate). In my head I was thinking that I might have to prepare to go on stage to take over her part. I truly believed that she might not show up. Luckily, the rest of the cast talked her out of it. They may have been forced to do this show, but they understood the importance of it.
We got to our tech rehearsal and it went pretty well, all things considered. The person running lights and sound had no idea what was going on despite having had a script for months (because she was also the musical director), and lines were skipped, but we had a show and I could finally relax a little bit.
Then it was show time. The kids thought they did an awful job, but they pulled it together and I thought, considering what we had all gone through, that it was great. The next day they did an in school performance and it was even better – and they all felt really good about themselves.
So, why tell you all about this awful experience? Because, no matter how little time there is, no matter how much work still needs to be done, I know that if I was able to get those kids to pull off that show, that we can do everything and anything. Seriously. We have 4 weeks, plus 5 tech rehearsals. We have behind the scenes people who know what they are doing and want to help out. And more importantly, all of our actors want to be in NDW and are invested in this show.
So no matter how much time we have left, I know that with a little hard work and a dab of theater magic, 4 weeks is plenty of time.
See you all Saturday,