Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Turnaround

When things carried on going terribly wrong for us two days in a row, there wasn't much we could do except pray for a turnaround. We had the WORST tech rehearsal in the HISTORY of all tech rehearsals. I mean.... it should have got an award for being so bad.

As we entered the theatre for the first time, we were thrilled with the space. It looked perfect, much more elegant and suitable than the stage we had the previous year. But there was one key thing missing.... the projector. We'd arranged to rent a projector off another company who were buying one, and as they do not arrive until the week we leave, they had the projector delivered to the venue 2 days before our arrival.

Now you'd think, with an entire professional tech team, you might have the genius idea of actually opening the boxes, putting it all together and having it ready for us to use. But, alas, they chose to do this in the mere 1 1/2 hours we had to set up lighting, sound, and do a rehearsal. And it took them 95% of that time, to lay out the hundreds of screws and bolts involved in setting up the mount for the projector, and to inform us that 'unfortunately, it just doesn't fit. Sorry, nothing we can do.'

Ah, okay... well since there's nothing they can do....

In a whirl of panic, with only 5-10 minutes left, we set up the projector on a DESK in the audience. I quickly programmed the lights, and we left. Without running ANY scenes.

Award-worthy, I know.

But there HAD to be a turnaround. What goes down must go up.

The next day was a big one. Saturday was 'meet the media' day, and our very first preview show, where we would go on un-rehearsed. The small glimmer of hope was that the group going on before us hadn't started their run yet, which gave us a teensy bit of extra time before going on to run a couple of short scenes.

At 9am we got in the queue to meet the media. People normally start showing up around 11am, but you're only allowed in at 2pm. The queue by then goes right round the block and down the street. We were determined to be FIRST in line, and we were. I did Korina's hair and she did her make-up while we were in line, and then some friends kindly took our place in line while we went off to do our show and come back.

And that was the moment of truth. The show had every potential to be a complete disaster, yet there was a quiet cool in both of us that told us everything would somehow just magically work itself out.

And boy, did it. The show, with its 69 unrehearsed technical queues, went off without a single glitch. We had an audience of 14 people, which is pretty impressive for a preview show, and they all seemed to be enjoying it. A few people came to us at the end, very enthusiastic about what they had just seen.

A huge weight was lifted. Because we didn't know if it could work. Not just technically... but if a fringe audience would respond positively to this work. It's so different. It's like nothing else out there. How would people see it??

Glowing with the success, we hurried back to reclaim our first place in the never-ending queue. And then the lovely people from 'soundcloud' gave us free t-shirts, bags and an interview for being first in line! I'm not one who's usually excited to do interviews... but I took that one on with a huge grin on my face, and proudly told them we'd got here at 9am!

At 2pm they opened the doors, and chaos reigned. We now had to re-queue for each reviewer, and this totalled up to another 4 hours of queueing. The amount of people, the heat and noise in the building was overwhelming, but the atmosphere buzzed with the energy of so many actors, performers, directors and musicians, desperately trying to make their show stand out.

 And some... really tried. (see photo)

Overall I do believe we did well here too, with several reviewers confidently stating they would attend and provide a review. We left the building starving and exhausted, but extremely content. We'd done it. The day could not have gone any better. Oh, and we bumped into Korinna McRobert, an old friend from Theatre Antidote who came to our show and loved it, and promised to come and film us on Monday, which is fantastic, as we really needed someone to do that!

Today is Sunday, and the first of our 'Yoga for Performers' workshops kicks off at 11am. We're entirely sold out for the yoga sessions, which is very promising. The program is a new, experimental program devised by Korina, and we hope that if it goes well it's something we'll be able to expand in various ways.

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