I arrived at the clubhouse almost 90 minutes before the show after a relaxed meal with Your Sis and Parents. They brought us more goodies from the cruise, and I can't tell you what they are until you get your stuff too. But it's pretty good stuff. And they brought Bass Ale. These are good in-laws (much better than my last ones, he whispers).
The director has indeed given up on the light gang and taken over the board himself. He made a new cue sheet and reviews it with us two actors. Now, we hardly touch the light switches at all and instead swipe our hands over them to pretend we're working them. This includes some changes from the previous night but nothing big. He does run backstage during the show to give me one last change, and it delays me from going onstage for a second. I take it in stride. We're all used to it. I was relaxed enough before the show that I was humming Tom Petty's "Change the Locks" instead of running lines.
The 20+ people coming to see the younger actor is in fact a group of retirees who know his mom. They have four rows taped off for them. The TV monitor downstairs are working tonight; I've never been able to watch a show on TV as it happens, even in the larger theatres. This is swank. Our pre-show pep talk is almost sad. Now we're in the last days of the show. We will perform this seven more times including tonight. That's it.
Tonight's crowd made the show. We were good, yes, and we had our A-game on, but this crowd -- this crowd of 70+ with a similar average age -- were into it. Unfortunately, they were so into it that they talked about the show the entire time. Out loud, I mean. Normal-voiced commentary, especially on the front row. We wondered if someone were narrating for a blind person. The comments ran the gamut from "I think that actor has a cold" to "oh, he's reading a map." There was no map; that was a Dear John letter written to the husband. We don't know where they got a map notion, although the creaky stage still sounds lime a pirate ship. The audience was responsive to the threats and tension and respected the cross-dressing murderer instead of laughing at this 6-foot student in a wig and mink.
I had a small mental blank in Act Two, but my script subroutine kicked in, and I was working on auto for half a page. Didn't drop a line, and got them all right. The script is in my head for sure. Normally, I call up the next line as the other actor is talking, but I got tangled up in similar lines just as the mistress is interrogating me about the murderer's lies. I don't think she ever noticed.
Oh, and I also tackled the desk lamp in Act One. I'm supposed to just jostle it in surprise, but this time the lampshade popped off. It had never done this before, and I had to reverse engineer the coupling between my lines to repair it. But I did. And that gave me more confidence as the act ended.
The show ends with two gunshots, and, even though they were warned 2 hours before and they were waiting for it, they exploded. We couldn't have gotten a bigger reaction if I had shot Bambi's mother. They gave good applause during our curtain call (for which I enter last, just so you know), and an usher presented roses to the two actresses. The curtains closed, the show was over, and we filed out to greet the audience. We got plenty of compliments and failed theories about what was going to happen.
But there was one guy -- an older man with a face that bespeaks his apparent disgust with everything -- and he walked right up to me and said "This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen. It was meaningless." I apologized to him, and his wife walked up. I thought she might poo-poo this curmudgeon, but she agreed with him. And then they just stood there, content to fume and sigh while people waited behind them to talk to the actors. I caught the wife's eye and said "well, you can't win them all" and apologized some more. They were content with that and left. Now, I know that, to quote Lex Luthor's dad, people are no damn good, but Christ a'mighty, why would anyone think it's OK to say this to someone who just spent three hours working his ass off. And thank God he said it to me, who will happily dance on his grave, and not one of the actresses. But, to quote Lex Luthor's mom, fuck them in their stupid fucking face.
I cleared out of the locker room and joined the reception in the lounge. Your Sis made the rounds with the crew and cast and finally got to meet my "other wife and mistress." We sat with the director and crew, including the makeup lady who says she has to darken my arms because they "glow in the dark", and we closed down the place about half an hour later. She wants to volunteer with the group when her workload allows it (read: never), and she might attend our Wednesday rehearsal to see how the sausage is made.
I felt good about it. I'm proud of getting past a brain hiccup and a prop disassembly, and I'm eager to work the stage confidently.