Last year, towards the beginning of rehearsals for “The Crucible,” I told a guy who had joined the cast a bit late, and for whom that play was his first time acting, that he’d feel every emotion possible towards the play. He’d love the play and he’d hate the play. He would be proud of the play, and he’d be embarrassed by it. He’d be angry at the play and he’d fear for it. Because a lot of things can happen over the course of three months, and in theater everything is amplified.
The process is different every time, because every play is different. Some plays start off great, and run into problems midway through. Or maybe a play will just develop more slowly than you want. Actors may quit, the set may not work like you want, you might have budget issues… any number of different things to get adrenaline going for different reasons.
The one element that’s consistent, however, is that moment where you know that this play is going to go on, and you know it’s going to be amazing. Sometimes that moment doesn’t come until opening night, or even until your first curtain call. Sometimes it comes a week before the show goes up. But it always comes, and it’s always the same. Some strange mixture of excitement, anticipation, euphoria, and probably a good bit of sleep deprivation.
Because it’s this point where you know that you know your lines. You know everyone around you knows their lines. You know that even if you mess up for whatever reason, someone will be able to cover for you, and you know that if someone else messes up for whatever reason you’ll be able to cover for them. You know what you’re doing, and you trust the people around you.
And you’re about to show a room full of people precisely how amazing you are.
It’s taken a while for “Rumors,” the play I’m performing in next week, to get to that point, but we’re there. We had rehearsal until 2:00 in the morning last night, and it was tough, but I left feeling incredible because everyone was right on the ball the whole night.
I can’t wait for our first show.