The final performance of The Importance of Being Earnest takes place in a few hours. I wanted to share highlights of the past week in this last post of the blog series. The week included building days, tech week and quite a few performances.
During the building days last Saturday and Sunday, almost the entire cast and several of their family members worked together to build the remainder of the stage and the full set pieces for the show. Thank you to Jim Bien, Darrell Denson and Jayne Denson for working with the cast to build the remainder of the stage and covering it with insulation and luan. Along with the cast, they painted the stage and covered the exposed parts at the front of the stage with 12" high luan strips. Everyone worked hard to make it a successful build.
Tracy Rosa and Julie Rosa brought soft tacos for lunch, which everyone gobbled down heartily. It was a very nice meal. Thanks to both the Rosas for their generosity. After lunch, set designer Laurie Russell and I visited Main Street Mercantile on 1000 Main Street and its warehouse at the corner of 18th Street and Elmwood Avenue and found the loveseat / sofa that fit the decor of Algernon's flat in Act I. It was a huge discovery and we were both flying high as we finally found the final piece of the set decoration puzzle.
The main set pieces for the show are periaktoi, triangle-shaped constructions with different scenes painted on each of their three sides. Thanks to Mark Hoffmann, Alex Hoffmann and Eric Barlow, the periaktoi were built to move easily and gracefully around the stage as the scenes changed for each of the three acts. They were painted and decorated by Laurie; they have proven to be quite attention-grabbing as the majority of the audience seems to remain in the theatre during intermissions to watch them be changed from one set to the next.
The opening of tech week brought the backstage crew and booth crew together for the first time. Although the Sunday rehearsal required that the actors be on stage only to deliver line cues so the crews could work on their duties, it was a very important rehearsal as everyone understood and rehearsaed the timing and precision needed for the hsow.
Later in the week, the Journal & Courier sent Tim Brouk, its entertainment reporter, to interview a few cast members and me. Also there were Jamie Lynn Chevillet, the J&C photographer, and Marcos Cisneros, the production photographer. There were several distractions that night and we ended later than expected, but the actors remained focused and the crew carried out their duties very well.
Marcos had previously taken headshots of the actors and photos of the crew, which Tami Robinson used to create the most stunning production callboard I have ever seen. Thank you Tami for your talent and skills.
Thursday night was the pay-what-you-can preview performance; although there were a few moments that needed to be tightened up technically -- speeding up a light cue here or moving a set piece slightly upstage there, for instance -- the audience enjoyed itself. The actors became accustomed to holding slightly for laughs, and there were many. Since that preview night, the cast performed twice on Friday (a school outreach performance and opening night) and twice on Saturday (an afternoon matinee and an evening performance). Each performance, however, has been better than the one before. The actors and crew have proven their endurance in putting together consectuive 2-hour-long shows back-to-back on consecutive days; their talent amazes me.
I couldn't be prouder of the entire cast, crew, and their families. From Day One everyone involved has been working toward a common goal -- to produce an excellent piece of theatre -- and there's been 100 percent commitment to making that happen. Everyone and everything has exceeded my expectations for the production, and the results have been outstanding. Of course it's easy to have an oustanding show when you're working on one of the best comic scripts ever written and have an immensely talented cast.
Thank you to readers who have followed this blog series. I hope some of the insight into the production process has been entertaining.