So, I think I might end up watching every performance this weekend, which I think would be a first for me.
Of course I have to be at preview, for notes, and I’m always there opening night to show my support and “let go” of the show. After that I’m there long enough to greet patrons and do a curtain speech, then I’ll typically split. Ok, so maybe I stick around and watch a scene or two before leaving to see what kind of audience they might have.
And I almost always, without fail, take the Friday of opening weekend off.
It gets maddening sometimes as a director, through no fault of anyone involved with the show. please don’t mistake me, that’s not a reflection on anyone – ever. It’s just that you stare at something for seven or so weeks and then get it up, and your director mind still hasn’t shut down. I want to keep picking, tweaking and playing. I’m a little OCD that way.
So the only way around that is to take a night or two off, then come back with fresh eyes so that you can just enjoy the work.
I knew on Thursday night after the show I’d be back to watch on Friday.
I knew last night by intermission I’d be watching it again tonight.
It’s for a bunch of reasons. If you saw my personal blog post (WARNING: potty mouth etc behind this link, which is why I didn’t post it here) you read how much of a fanboy I am of the creators. I’m also a big fan of everyone up there on stage. There’s so much to enjoy, and no knock on any of my other children but I haven’t had such a tight, solid, cohesive, tenacious, determined and drama-free group since I don’t even know when. I’m jealous, frankly, that I’m not up there with them.
So I sit in my seat and bop around and try not to laugh or clap unless other people are so I don’t look like the a-hole out there sniffing his own farts. (Pardon the expression, both of them)
And it’s a new show, so I admit to making a few, teeny-tiny minor adjustments as the week has gone on. Honestly all real small stuff.
Then there’s the audience, which is another reason I’m still fascinated by this show. I believe I am witnessing a pattern. For the first proper scene of the show, in which there are two songs, the audience is a bit tentative. Are they allowed to laugh? Is it supposed to be funny? We’re talking about incest after all. They don’t know what to expect. To read about the show I know makes it sound like it could be dense.
Then there’s a point at the end of the first scene that seems to consistently crack the ice and we do nothing but build in energy and response as the show goes on. Well, ok, last night was a little different, but they too seemed to eventually wake up and we ended up finishing as strong right with the audience as we have the other performances.
Then Joe tells me last night that he got feedback from some of his people who came that said they were actually afraid to make too much noise, to hoot or clap after songs – because I do the whole “silence is golden” bit in my curtain speech. To be fair to myself, I specifically say that “we love your laughter and appreciate your applause” but I just go on about not talking.
Maybe that approach works better with more traditional theater offerings.
I can take a note just like anyone else, so I’m changing up my curtain speech tonight in an effort to loosen the audience up and beg them to be into it while still stressing you shouldn’t talk through the show.
Still, watching the audience from the top of the show start with no expectations or unsure faces as to what’s about to happen and get progressively more and more into it up to that wild, crazy finish we have at curtain call is something else.
I love this show. I love what Neil, Shawn, Tylor, Brian and Joe have made. I love what my actors and design team and technicians have done with it. I love watching audiences discover it.
And that’s why I’ll probably see every single show.
Hell, Mark Leib loved it even, proving once again you can honestly never ever anticipate what a critic is going to think of something, even when you think you have great supporting evidence as to why they’ll hate it.
We’re sold out tonight, but we still have open seats for tomorrow and for every other show 8/13-23. We really could use your support, and I promise you it’s worth it. Hope to see you soon. I’ll be there every night, I just know it.