Letters to Holly

Sunday, July 19

Second Show

Cooler air helped the show start on a lighter note. The concession folks hooked up a popcorn machine before everyone arrived, and the hall held that aroma the entire night. The previous two nights finally cemented a routine, and I was relaxed. I think we all were. That was a little worrisome; this is when mistakes happen. We were taping tonight too.

The board president arrived just in time to do his speech. He's not a great conversationalist, at least with me. We're still getting to know each other. But when he took the stage, he had shtick, and it went over great. He warmed up the small audience, and I appreciated it. Before we officially began, I told my cast to enjoy themselves. I particularly wanted the mom actress to settle down and get her lines out quickly. She nailed it. She was a one-liner machine, and the audience went crazy for her. It was her best performance yet, and I lavished her and the others with praise. It was a shame the audience was too polite to guffaw; the cast earned a reaction similar to Friday night.

I read more and chatted more during the show, and it went smooth until intermission. The sound lady warned me that the computer was acting weird. I attribute all such comments to her competence. Also, she continues to add flourishes during the intermissions. She's playing more music and different music. I suspect she's asking the computer to do stuff without realizing it will now behave differently. Rehearsals are to establish routine, and she's removing that. So of course, when we got to the end of the third play and its required thunderclap, we got classical music instead. Luckily, the cue was supposed to be a sign from God. But still.

As the fourth play was set to begin, the lights stayed down. The audience knew something was wrong. I was just offstage whisper-screaming into the headset to hit the lights. The computer had to be rebooted, I was told. But the computer only controls the sound, not the light. Hit. The. Lights, I hissed. Finally, they came up. I stormed to the dressing room. The third-play actors were joking about the cue screw-up. The actor turned to me as I walked in.

"Hey, Gregory ... " he said.
"Don't worry. She'll die."

That got a laugh. I was Hulking out a bit.

When the show ended, I bee-lined to the tech table, and she began her tale of woe. The words "something" and "doohickey" were used, and I got enough to understand that she rebooted in time to give us sound for the fourth play. I thanked her for that. But I warned her to stop doing new stuff if it's going to lock up the PC.

Speaking of locking up, I got to close up the theatre around 11 and made the short drive for a Burger King drive-thru.

Things always screw up when we tape a show. Always. But Sunday's show is the end of a long week. I'll get to go home in daylight and take a few days off.

I got up this morning to weed the garden, tie up the tomato plants, and water the garden. I have to put out snail bait tonight, and I might mow the yard while the sun is still out. I'm willing to do anything once the play is done today. I can reshingle a roof if it means doing something different. I mean, besides washing all my stage-manager clothes. I have a pile of black to hose down.

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