Thursday, October 20, 2011

Striking the Set: TEN LITTLE INDIANS Blog 10

It'll be two weeks ago this Sunday that we struck the set of Ten Little Indians. It takes so long to build and paint a set; the number of manhours involved is enough time to be working a full-time 40+ hours job for a couple of weeks. Then, when the show is all over in a matter of a few hours everything is gone and the stage is left bare.

I like set strikes more than set builds. However, it's because I feel more helpful at tearing a set down than I do building it. At the same time, set strikes are usually bittersweet moments. For several weeks, sometimes a few months you have been working with a group of people on a production. You've all been working toward the same goal of putting on a great show (outside of the plot for The Producers, I've never heard of anyone trying to put on a bad show; even those places that do really bad theatre consistently try to put on the best possible performances they can give). When strike arrives, you know that the little company you've been a part of, that has been a family away from your family, is breaking up for good. You know things are over when the final curtain falls, but it's not until when the set is struck that things can really sink in. The fellowship is broken forever by that point and even if you were all to meet again and do the same production at the same place, it wouldn't be the same.

The sweetness part of a set strike is the realization that you're actually going to have a little free time now, that you can spend some time with your family and friends, and catching up on the things you've been neglecting the past couple weeks (or in the director's case months). It's nice to not have to be in an anxious and frenetic state of apprehension and excitement. But, sooner or later you hear the siren's lull again and the process starts anew. It's a different cast and crew; faces old and new; new memories to be made and old skills to use and strengthen.

Ten Little Indians was a fine little show. I was privileged to have a great cast. Some of my cast were theatre veterans and a couple had never acted in a production before. Each of them had to stretch and grow and reach new boundaries. They did a wonderful job and I'm proud of all of them. I know that some of them I will probably work with again while there are others I might never see again except perhaps in passing. That saddens me a little because though I'm an introverted extrovert, I really do enjoy people and it saddens me when I meet someone and get to know them and become friends with them, but then have to say farewell. No matter how big I try to make my tent, I can't keep up with everyone (not even with Facebook).

The stage is dark now, the seats are empty, and the theatre is cold. The experience was a good one for me. I was incredibly stressed at times (partially because of the show, but mainly because of things happening outside the production) and I had to not be as sociable after rehearsals as I would have liked (when you have to get up at 6:00am every morning and drive at least 45 minutes to work by yourself, staying up to 1,2, or sometimes 3 in the morning is just not an option). I probably made everyone mad at some point. However, I think overall everyone had a good time and the final product turned out great. I don't know when or where, but someday I'll direct again.

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