Friday, June 02, 2017

I can't get my pants off

Not that I do a mountain of physical activity in our show -- the bulk of my exertion involves moving a few set pieces between scenes and pointing a toy gun at someone for a few seconds -- but I've made it all the way through 8 weeks of rehearsals, including this long production week, unscathed only to throw my back out eating a jalapeño burger at our opening-night cast party tonight. Now I can't even manage to undress for bed so I guess I'll be sleeping in my clothes, struggling occasionally to roll over and cursing the first person to discover the spicy but backbreaking deliciousness of the jalapeño pepper.

But we had almost the most perfect opening night. The audience laughed and clapped enthusiastically from the very first song, and when you know the audience is engaged, the show becomes exponentially more fun to do. I was late on one set-moving cue, though. And our sound person missed a phone ring at a critical moment, but our Norma -- the ridiculous moll played by a consummate comedic actress -- didn't miss a beat, announced that she thought she'd heard the phone ring, and left us all stuck on stage with the Harvey Korman giggles while she went to answer it. It usually takes a lot to crack me up on stage, but this did the job so efficiently and so thoroughly that it took me three or four pages of dialogue to compose myself. Which is what I love the most about live theater: There's no guarantee everything will go right -- from simple sound cues to the collective buy-in from the audience -- and you have to adapt to every situation and make it work with little or no warning. Just try not to get the giggles when you're supposed to be holding someone at plastic gunpoint; at some point you have to make eye contact but making eye contact is the LAST thing you want to do when you're both trying not to laugh.

Do you think holding in a laugh for three or four pages could throw your back out instead of jalapeños? Asking for a friend.

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