All in all, I'd call that quite a triumph.
We had about 400 people in the audience, the largest I've ever performed for, and in by far the largest and most professional theater. We were called for 3pm for our 6:45 house open, and I brought a book because I figured there would be down time. Hahahahaha. Between the group before us running over their rehearsal time, waiting for everyone to get there through the snow, frantically figuring out a new stage plot (the one we had oh-so-cleverly figured out ahead of time, the one that fit all of the foley equipment plus 8 mics and 16 chairs apparently didn't actually include the speaker stack, since they didn't *tell* us about them), testing all of the mics, running up and down and up and down 3 flights of very narrow stairs to the makeup and dressing rooms... well, anyway, everything got done eventually. I did get to have some fabulous chats with some of the guys who work there, some of whom have been working there since the '70s. Dinner was a bit of a misadventure, but I got to eat half a bagel and cream cheese and a bag of peanut M&Ms before I went on, and my bagel and lox was waiting for me when I was done.
And then at 7:30 all of the chaos stopped, the house lights went down, and we stepped out of stage of that amazing old theater. It felt amazing to be standing out there wearing my tux (and mustache), waiting for my cue, the first one to speak on stage. I was -- not quite nervous, but definitely filled with adrenalin, hyperconscious of everything around me. And then the show started and the only thing I was focusing on was that magic unspoken communication with the audience, the unspoken transfer of energy back and forth. There's just nothing like it.
There have been an awful lot of incredible talented people on that stage, and I'm not entirely convinced I deserve to be there, but hey, I'll take it. And the audience really loved us -- it was wonderful to feel how with us they were, even as they were shivering in their seats. (Trust me, it wasn't much warmer onstage.)
We finished Red Shift later than anticipated. I had originally figured I'd have 15 minutes to change out of the tux, take off the mustache and male makeup, and maybe even rinse some of the hair goop out before I went on for Chicken Heart. Instead the call came "ge tback on as fast as you can!" so I ran up to the third floor, where the fabulous missmelissa
yanked off my mustache for me (youch!), wiped off the worst of the eyebrows and sideburns, then as I was pulling off the tails, shirt, vest, and tie (luckily, I was smart enough to wear the foley t-shirt was underneath) she swiped on some more base to cover those areas, and I ran back down to the stage. Phew!
I of course was focused mostly on the sound effects for Chicken Heart, but those went very well overall. I'm told one or two of them were not as audible as we had hoped, but most of them were much better with the mics than they had been in rehearsal (especially the jello!), and we hit all of our cues. The sign language interpreters were standing right in front of me, and I had been a little afraid I'd get so caught up in watching them I'd forget to watch my script! Anyway, the audience seemed to enjoy our sounds, especially the jello and joyeous
's fabulous slurping.
As soon as the show ended, we had the fastest strike in history to clear the stage for the next group, flew upstairs to change back to street clothes, and then back down to the lobby to greet our admiring fans. Thanks so much to everyone who came -- I know some of you couldn't stay to say hi afterward, and I'm sorry to have missed you, but I really appreciate your being there.
I was sorry to miss all the parties afterward, but as soon as the adrenalin rush was over I was pretty wiped. I went with ironpoet
, and sectionchild
to the Hynes to actually see a bit of First Night myself, but by 11pm or so we were back on the T heading back to Chez Babish. We watched the countdown on TV, had a glass of sparking cider, and then all went home. It didn't feel quite as celebratory as I usually like my New Years to be, but spending quiet time with good friends is not a bad thing, and I could use some more of that in the next year. I don't think this is how I'd want to spend all of my holidays -- I don't really envy the life of a professional performer -- but it was an amazing experience, and I'm very glad to have done it.
Word is we will be performing at Arisia, although we're not sure quite what yet, so I'll hope to see some of you there! The mustache may even make a reappearance.