Father Jack Production Diary: one weekend

So, one odd thing about doing a play at the performing arts school is that we only have one weekend of performances. Four times through, Thursday to Sunday, and done. I’m used to three weekends—I’ve done some that were four weekends, but three seems to be more usual. I have written before about how I wonder what it’s like to do a thirty-performance run, but I don’t think I’ve written about the short run.

For one thing, of course, it’s just a tremendous amount of preparation for only one weekend. Four long hours of proverbial for one short swim in the whatnot, if you follow me. And then there’s the knowledge that anything that goes wrong with a single show is ruining a full quarter of the performances you will ever do. There’s also, I think, a different attitude toward readiness—not that any show I’ve been in has wanted to be unready for opening night, but that there is sometimes a sense that we will not really know how this bit works until we have an audience, and that’s all right, we’ll adjust as we go. We still don’t know how that bit will work, but there will be very little adjustment. There’s even a sense, with a comedy anyway, that the Friday houses are different from the Saturday houses, which are different from the Sunday houses, and we adjust to that, or attempt to. And the dressing-room conversation is different as well, as the gah, this audience is dead or they love slapstick tonight is necessarily less comparative.

But the aspect that I’m most aware of right now, as we begin tech week, is that in the world of amateur drama, tech week is pretty much a long, long weekend followed by three or four late, late nights of rehearsal followed by four or three performances—followed by three or four days off, and then more performances. During that week, I begin to long for those days off. A Monday evening spent at home with my Best Reader and the Perfect Non-Reader and the Youngest Member, watching an old Doctor Who episode or playing Fluxx and then going to bed early becomes the light at the end of the tunnel. Not that I don’t enjoy the rehearsals, even the technical, and not that I have stopped looking forward to getting the show up in front of an audience, but that I miss those restful evenings, too. And after tech week, after the opening weekend, there are restful evenings to look forward to, and then more performances to look forward to after that.

With this single weekend of shows coming up, I feel that when I look forward to my restful evening, it will be when the show is all over. And I don’t want the show to be all over—I don’t want to look forward to the show being all over. I am still working on Jack, and I’m still enjoying working on Jack. So that’s a difference that I hadn’t really expected.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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