Letters to Holly

Saturday, November 3

First Show

I only know a few of the traditions of theatre (never say "Macbeth, never say "good luck," etc.), but I'm not sure what kind of omen to infer when your glasses fall apart an hour before you go onstage. As soon as I was all prettified in the make-up chair, I pick them up, and out pop the right lens and apparently one of the screws. Just as I think I'll have to perform with an Eastwood squint, the handwriting expert offers to go to the nearby college campus and get her repair kit. She returns, and I screw back into place the half-screw that remains in the frame. But I didn't panic. I was tickled by the timing. I also don't know what to think of the now-common observation during the make-up sessions: I supposedly look like Tom Cruise. Maybe everyone has broken their eyeglasses.

I apologize to the cop actor and make sure he knows it was my fault that we so derailed on Wednesday. Doc has made Stevens Law Firm magnets advertising aid for "revenge payback" cases. Volunteers are preparing for a post-show reception while the cast stake out small spots to change or practice. We are jazzed. We are eager to get started. We're practically vibrating. I am a mix of scared and giggly. While the Wednesday fiasco is my first such breakdown of lines, it rattled me (obviously), and I need to prove to myself that it was a fluke.

I can happily say it was. I practically swim through the play, the lines dropping out of my mouth as if I was a Pez dialogue dispenser. We have a good crowd to feed off -- 60 folks and a full jury. They laugh early, many times in places we didn't expect. Apparently, this IS a comedy. Not everyone enjoys it though; the stage-right cop falls asleep and snores during the first act. This distracts the audience sitting near him, but there's no way I can nudge him during this act.

Doc improvises to help out the judge but almost scuttles Act Three. The gangster is on the witness stand, explaining part of the conspiracy and loses his place. Doc gives him a cue, but it's from the wrong page, and both are left stammering. They manage to get back on track eventually. but it's awkward. Doc has a difficult Act Three. I mean, it is a lot of lines, but he can't keep straight all the cues to witnesses. He's still missing his confidence to object, sometimes waiting for any silence to speak up and other times missing the chance altogether. He ends his examination of the defendant way too early, and I think he mixes his closing and opening arguments. Maybe it's nerves.

The courtroom is much warmer tonight; the furnace kicks on and the increased audience body heat doesn't help. We have to project over the air system, and it's only when I change shirts backstage that I notice intense sweat on them. I attribute this more to anxiety; it has that smell.

The jury, despite my great close, returns a not-guilty verdict. It's not until the quick reception that I learn they're almost all defense attorneys. Reasonable doubt might scuttle my chances for a "guilty." But I still think I can sway them. The audience and jury congratulate us after the show. The curtain call is always misinterpreted, and we don't get a chance to bow. When the first row witnesses stand up, the audience thinks this is when they can too, and they miss everyone else standing up for bows. Ah well. I'm still doing this for the chance to play lawyer in a courtroom. Everything else is gravy.

A few of us go out drinking after and discuss the performance. I pick up Your Sis to join us, and except for very specific conversation, it's just another group of young folk celebrating the end of a long week. I'm muchly relieved to have the first show done. I'm again eager to get back in that room, but now it's to enjoy it, not to prove I can do it.

Official play website

Biding Time
The Last Rehearsals
Countdown: Two Rehearsals
Extra Drama
Countdown: Three Rehearsals
Countdown: Four Rehearsals
Countdown: Five Rehearsals
Countdown: Six Rehearsals
Countdown: Seven Rehearsals
Clock is Ticking
My Big Speech
Punching a Cop Is Bad, Right?

Act Two Redux
Friday Through Sunday
Getting Serious
Our First Friday
Act Three Lines
Dusting Off Act One
Line Trouble
End of Second Week
'Go and Do Likewise, Gents'
Script Work
Walking and Talking
Marking the Floor


First Night
Second Night
Third Night
Fourth Night


Anonymous said...

i love it when you blog on the weekends.

can't wait to hear about the show from my folks. I beleive they'll catch your performance tonight.

Gregory said...

Maybe I'm more amusing when I'm hungover. I know that I become Wile E. Coyote Supergenius when I drink. No one can deny my glory.