Not everyone understands why I do what I do, and why I love it so much. Why would I want to “waste” my whole summer just rehearsing and performing a play? It interferes with family things, makes me tired, takes up most if not all of my free time, and for what? A free t-shirt and a water bottle?
I auditioned for the Scarlet Pimpernel because I really liked that show. I had seen it before and loved the music, the costumes, and the story. I knew I would only be in the ensemble at best, if I did get in. And, I thought if I did this play at the Scera, it would have less conflicts with my weekly bell choir rehearsals, since they don’t perform on Wed nights at the Scera. It was difficult to not be in the Alpine Community Theater play, since I have a lot of friends in that group, and Natalie was in that play, too.
There was a real sense of community in this show. Almost like a family. Maybe it was from the Director.
Jerry is 83 years old and has been directing and acting for over 60 years. He is really quite amazing, but he’s soft spoken and when he gives direction, most of the time it’s in a positive way. On our first attempt at a run through, after it was done, he said, “Well, that was pretty good for a Monday.” Which we knew meant that it wasn’t that great, but he was still accentuating the positive.
At the beginning of the rehearsal process, they schedule people to only have to come when their scenes are rehearsed. Since I was only in 6 scenes, I didn’t have to come every single night, and when I did come, it was usually not the whole night. Kind of easing us into the reality that we would be spending every night with these people. When it’s run through time, there’s a lot of free time for the ensemble. The leads have things to work through, and the rest of us get time to chat. We learn things about each other, like that fact that about half of the cast is related. Seriously. I was talking to one girl, and she pointed out her four sisters and about 8 cousins. “Oh, and Jerry’s my grandpa:, she said. So, most of the cast knew Jerry was related to Jerry, or had been in a show with him at some point.
Even though MOST of these kids are young (like I could be their mom, that’s how young they are), I grew to love them. At the end of the show, one of the cute 20 year old boys came up to me and gave me a huge hug. “You’re my mom crush,” he said. He tried to explain that by saying I was like a mom, or like the mom he would want, or something like that. I understand, though, because I grew to love that boy very much, as well.
One night at rehearsal, I brought some balloons and ended up making animals and swords for a bunch of people. I tried to teach a few people how to make things, and I made LOTS of swords, since this is a sword fighting show. But then I worried that I was making TOO much noise. Have you ever tried to twist balloons quietly?
When we moved to the outdoor stage, we started adding in the scenery, props, costumes, lighting and sound. IT went from just a bunch of people saying lines to telling the story. One Saturday we spent several hours just learning our scene changes. Every set piece had a name, and we were all assigned to move these pieces at different times in the show. It made things more complicated, because instead of just sitting backstage between our scenes, now we had to figure out when we were doing our costume changes, and when we had to be there for our scene changes.
I am happy to report that I never missed a scene change.
We really had to work together to make everything work. There are some pretty complicated costumes, and a lot of us needed help to tie corsets, get out of dresses, do hair, fix hair, fix skirts, etc. And few things bring people closer than helping each other change clothes. I mean, you’ve seen me in my underwear, so we must be pretty close, right? We would laugh in the dressing tents as we were all changing, laugh as we fixed our hair, but not right backstage, of course.
We started rehearsals June 17. We started performing August 2. We did ten performances at the Shell. A couple of them, we weren’t sure if we would actually have a show because it was rainy and windy right up until the show started. But we never had to cancel a show for rain. Then, once our run at the Scera was over, we moved everything over to BYU, and did four shows right in a row for BYU education week. Because the stage is different and things had to be changed to accommodate it, even though we had just done 10 shows, we had to have additional rehearsals to get things right. We ended on August 25. So, that’s 14 actual performances we did together. More than two months we spent a LOT of time together.
We formed some pretty good bonds. We performed through sickness and injury, jokes and laughter. It’s also a much more emotional show than I’ve ever done before. There’s love, hate, betrayal, deception, imprisonment, death, beheading (that usually leads to death), and joy. When you go through such a range of emotions, even if it’s just pretend, it really brings you closer together.
The cast had a few get togethers through the show. Many nights people would go out after rehearsal, and they even had a couple of parties. Because I do have a family and live 30 minutes away, I didn’t go to many of those, but I did go closing night out with some of the cast to Sonic. Sorry to the servers, it was late and we were loud.
Now that the show is over, it’s like a part of my life has ended. Well, a part of my life HAS ended. I have to go back to ‘normal’, and remember with fondness my time that I got to share the huge Scera Shell stage with so many friends.
I laugh at the pictures that friends post of backstage and rehearsals (thank you, facebook), sing “Falcon in the Dive” while I load the dishwasher, or hum “Madame Guillotine” while I’m doing laundry. I will never forget this experience. I may be crazy, I’ll admit, but I’m glad I am. I am so glad that I took that leap out of my comfort zone, that I was brave and tried something new and scary. It’s only when we try new things that we can have new experiences, meet new people, and have more joy.