Wow, how the time has flown. We are now in our second full week of performances. As I expected, I am exhausted, particularly after two-show days. And if I am, you can imagine what Jeffrey Demunn and others who have more stage time feel like.
Short, intense rehearsal periods like the one we had for King Lear are so engrossing that once a show opens, you have to remember you have a life outside of performance and many many other things to do. My sister is getting married two weeks after Lear closes, so you can imagine my panic when, after opening night, I awoke, took a nice long yawn and thought, "Oh God, I have to get my dress hemmed, buy some shoes, write an unforgettable maid of honor toast, come up with the perfect gift for my sister, send out invitations for a last-minute shower I'm throwing, AHHHHHH!!!" Not to mention prepare for upcoming jobs and maybe squeeze in some time for some basic errands and chores around the house. Oh, and maybe I'll get a bike ride in. Oh, and BLOG, BLOG, BLOG!!
Three weeks of eight shows a week seems like a lot, but it flies by. Here I am, halfway through those 3 weeks and of course I feel like I haven't gotten anything done. Oh boy. When's vacation?
I love the run of a show, however. Showing up and running the show is my job, yes, and, like anyone else, sometimes I feel reluctant to go to work.....you know who you are. But truly, running through the same actions every night (and day) with the same people is a ritual. And the more you perform that ritual, the deeper it imbeds itself into you, and settles as a whole. That, to me, is the best part of the process. I always look forward to the moments you come across, during a run, where you say the same words you've been saying for over a month, but they come out differently, or they resound for you in a more profound way than before. That ideally happens every show. That's what I look for anyway.
And then there are the reviews. Oh, critics. Thanks for keeping our heads out of the clouds, if only temporarily. Every actor makes his or her own choice to read reviews during the run of a show, or whether to read them at all. Whether you do or not, you respect the professional space of the theatre and do not discuss what you've read backstage. I choose to read them. I keep a pretty good perspective on them, remembering that the review is only one person's opinion, and such. That is, until you read something that, initially, sets you in a panic; something that you realize many people have also read, many of whom, perhaps, you would like to work for in the future; something that you wish had never been printed. It happens.
I lose my perspective briefly, have my little anxiety attack, and then......move on. I may take the critique into consideration, but what I get up and do every night (and day) is tell a story, as honestly and responsibly as I can. And I get to tell it with some incredibly talented actors and wonderful people.
And I'm still learning of course. I realize, to quote Mr. Lear, "I am not ague-proof."