|A rainbow over the stage, after the storm and after the show.|
The Summer Theatre Institute has been meeting at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater for three weeks. In that time the 18 young people have worked on their acting skills, projection, diction, character, etc. They also have been working on a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The talented Director, Grace Lazarz has done a wonderful job getting the young people ready for this past Friday's opening night.
Sadly, the weather has not worked in our favor. The Friday performance was cancelled due to rain. And Saturday was even worse, the rain started early and would not let up. We always use the phrase "The Show Must Go On," but rarely is that usually much of an issue. However,anyone familiar with outdoor drama, knows that Mother Nature has her own set of priorities and ideas.
After all the hard work, it seemed a shame to take away any opportunity for these actors to perform the show. Grace Lazarz and her talented counselors (Adam Mengler, Nate Breneman, Maggie Furtner and Hannah Lazarz) talked it over with the cast, went through some rough movement ideas, entrances and exits, set pieces, and a general plan to move the show from the huge Amphitheater stage, to the tight rain shelter. With just a little planning, the young cast was as ready as they could be. The rain never let up, and with a flooded stage, the decision was made to move the show.
Live theatre is great, for many reasons. One of which is that you never know exactly what is going to happen. Every show is different, strange audience reactions, actor with slightly different timing, forgotten lines, missing props, etc. The mark of a true actor is that these things do not phase them, and that they are able to adjust on the fly. Eighteen young people faced true adversity last night, and thrived. Just a bit more than 100 people stayed for the show, and they had quite a treat.
The cast was nervous, some tears were shown prior to the performance, and the cast had doubts about the move. Would the show still work? Is the audience going to stay? Why can't it stop raining.?!
As the night went on, it soon became clear that something special was happening. The energy coming from the actors, partially driven by fear, was met and returned by the audience. The laughter was strong, the connection with the cast was ideal, and the show was a hit.
At Civic Theatre, we often preach about the benefits of participation in the art. How the training, and practice of theatre will do so much to prepare young people for life, both on and off stage. The ability to think on your feat, work as a team, adapt to adversity, and to thrive. I am very proud of our Theatre Education activities, led so well by Lori Portner. Last night proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that what she does, and what our young counselors do, matters. What these young people did last night was nothing short of magical.
There is one more chance to see the show, Sunday, June 30, at 7:30. The weather calls for only a 20% chance of rain. But no matter what happens, these young actors will be ready.