Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nerves of... Scrambled Egg

The Teenage Thug has his last dress rehearsal tonight, and he woke up this morning looking a bit pallid and wan from nerves.

Final dress rehearsal is always rather dicey in any production. For some reason, if anything is going to go wrong with the technical or blocking or cue end of things, the last dress rehearsal is ALWAYS where it goes wrong... often disastrously. Lines are forgotten, microphones don't work, lighting won't track, costumes fall apart, scenery topples over with a crash, the special effects explode and set actors ablaze. And all these things happen in front of an audience of friends and family (who often are sympathetic, but who also tend to prove the old saw "familiarity breeds contempt").

Traditionally, after final dress rehearsal the director, cast, and crew think strongly about just pulling This Disaster Of A Show and slinking away with their tails between their legs.

Luckily the next day's show tends to be successful in equal proportion to the degree to which the final dress rehearsal was disastrous. Panic lends an extra kick of adrenaline and determination, perhaps, to the performance.

Knowing this does not make final dress rehearsal feel less terrifying.

So the Teenage Thug would normally have trepidations at this time.

But now his nerves are in even greater disarray because he has a lead role AND because quite a few people have both openly and covertly expressed their opinion that a PSEO student is too young and inexperienced to be trusted with a role this complex and challenging in a college production. Not to mention that some feel he hasn't Paid His Dues (I suspect that most of these are either not familiar with his resume, or go by a casting rule that folks who have been hanging around the particular theatre longest are the ones who should automatically be granted the biggest roles - in which case my parents should get leading roles at the Guthrie, by dint of having been devoted audience members ever since the original theatre opened).

So there is a lot of pressure on the Thug. He has to vindicate the director's choice to give him a shot, and he has to prove to the department that younger actors can handle the more challenging roles with grace, and should be given the opportunity to do so. To date he has done so by being diligent at rehearsals and expressing his appreciation of both cast and crew. And certainly he has been very positive about the show; he thinks the costumes are gorgeous, the lighting is the best he's ever seen, and he has been very positive about his fellow actors. But as far as his own performance goes, the proof will be in the pudding.

So if you have a chance, and are in the Twin Cities area this week, stop by and cheer on young Mozart in Concordia University St. Paul's production of "Amadeus", which is running at the E.M. Pearson Theatre from Nov. 20 through Nov. 23, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30pm and on Sunday at 2pm. On Friday and Sunday, at least, you can also stop to say "hi," to his doting mum, who will be hovering supportively in the lobby after the show.


timary said...

oooh!!! I wish I could be there! Tell the Thug to break a leg!

Barbara Maloney said...

No! Do not tell him that! I did that last time and he really almost did (if a twisted ankle counts), making him miss one performance (the first time ever). Anyway - we saw the rehearsal last night and there were no disasters. Is that bad? The Thug did a great job - even eliciting a tear or two at the end. So tonight starts the real thing - we're looking forward to seeing it again.

Carrie K said...

Charming of the unbelievers to mention it overtly or otherwise. He'll be fabulous. How could he not?