Prodigal 2011 – Preview

The final ingredient was added tonight – the audience, of course.  You work your show for so long, refining acting choices, choosing the costumes, brainstorming a set and all racing towards creating the production.  But the last element, the one you have no control over, are those people that fill the 110 seats in your theatre, ready to experience everything you’ve done.


How did it go?  The first thing you’re always stressed about is the design – usually the set, sometimes lighting, often costumes – will the trouble spots (for us, curtains) work?  Will there be enough light on their faces?  Will they remember that one costume has to be set on the far side of the stage?  In terms of the technical side, and not falling on your arse in front of a full house – we smashed it.  Especially Chrissy, who did a magnificent piece of performance art, then dropped her glass basin, which is no longer.  Luckily it was upstage, and we could leave it till after the show.

Then there’s the actors getting through it.  Which they did rather wonderfully.  We’d dressed this afternoon, adding my pre-show music piece, which involves grabs from songs that each of the characters loves, with Luke playing the piano.  Jeff Busby got some marvellous shots – worth getting there at 7am to give the Flannery curtains another once-over.  Dress was technically accurate, but very much marked.

So finally, the people who have to experience the show for it to be worth doing.  Our first four shows have sold out, with the rest very close, so we extended at lunch, doing extra shows Sat and Sun next week.  Tonight’s preview was packed, so much so that the creatives had to pull up chairs at the back to watch.  I stood for a while, but failed at typing on the MacBook, so got a folding chair eventually.  My best friend from Wesley was in, Kirsten, the first thing of mine she’s ever seen.  Matt was nervous, I not so much.  But as soon as the show started, I just can’t help it, I get so wrought.  It happens on every show (except maybe Trevor’s, I don’t know why).  I just want to audience to experience the show intensely, so I’m hyper aware of every cough, whether the laugh is big enough, whether we’re drawing them into this story.  I will let it go and just enjoy the marvellous work tomorrow, but tonight was the marathon.

So – how did it go?  There were tears, exhilaration, hearty applause.  It went well.

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About bryantandfrank

Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank write musicals. www.bryantandfrank.com
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