After the show

Nearly six months of rehearsals, several false starts, numerous sleepless nights over administrative problems, thirty-nine cast members, dozens of crew and musicians dressed in black, six performances, one visit from the Lord Mayor and a very subdued after-show party, and it’s all over.  There is now a Kiss Me, Kate-shaped hole in my life, and I have the potential to study, or perhaps even relax, on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons.  Since I am young, male, and now on the radar of the local performing groups, this doesn’t mean a quiet life (I’m already back in rehearsals for The Sound of Gershwin at the Whitstable Playhouse and have a July concert to work towards), but I really am going to miss this show.

I’m going to miss the thrill of ‘Too Darn Hot’ (though I won’t miss the attempts of certain cast members to embarrass me about the exposure of my chest during the number).  The pressure of getting the rhythm of the number going by tapping my clipboard and whistling before the orchestra joined in.  The excitement of watching our lead singer for the number, a first time performer who really sizzled.  The sense of anticipation as I and another actor joined the singing and dancing as the number began to build.  The heart-in-mouth moment when said actor would leap into my arms as the vocals reached a climax – a comedy moment in the choreography, but truly terrifying as I could easily have dropped him.  The tangible buzz from the whole cast as the choreography built in intensity.  The incredible reaction of the audience.  And the responsibility of breaking the moment and getting the show going again with the next line.

I’m going to miss the rest of the score, with those outrageous lyrics and the absolutely infectious orchestrations.  The amusing touches from the percussion.  The contrast between the on-stage music and the off-stage.  The amusing section of dance music that my character forced the orchestra and dancers to repeat many times over until a set change was achieved.  The vocals of our leads.  I have the cast recording, but it really isn’t the same.

I’m going to miss the shouting, though my voice hasn’t forgiven me for it, and the tenor register has gone on vacation, leaving me with bass notes and croaks.  Shouting is not something I generally do in real life, and I’ve certainly never received a laugh or a round of applause for shouting before.  The irony of making ‘Will you be quiet?’ the loudest line in the show by quite a large margin.  The startled looks from cast members, even six months into rehearsals.  The thumbs up signs I’d get from other cast and crew as I returned to the wings.

I’m not going to miss the frantic costume change from stage manager to Shakespearean finery complete with a hat worthy of Bill or Ben the Flower Pot Men.  The frantic terror that I wouldn’t make it into the auditorium in time to sing.  The mad checking that no vestiges of stage manager Ralph (glasses, watch, cravat)  were present.  The dry mouth that assailed me as I ran madly from stage to quick change room to auditorium.  I might miss the whispered ‘well done’ as I appeared next to the auditorium door in time to hear the last few lines of the scene before my sing.  Perhaps.

I’m going miss working with the cast.  No doubt I will perform alongside most, if not all, of these people again, but you can’t help wondering whether the next combination of people will be as much fun.  The company jokes, and the shared enjoyment of particular lines and moments of choreography.  The support and encouragement that flowed with no prejudice.  The complete lack of any arrogance from any of our lead performers.  The gratitude the leads expressed for the small contributions I made to keep their scenes flowing.  The willingness that everyone had to help each other with costume changes, prop placement and other details, to an extent I’ve never seen before.  The way in which all the major and minor principals, from Kate and Petruchio to the suitors and the stage doorman, came to inhabit their roles like a second skin.

But I can be proud and happy.  Proud of what the Society achieved despite the false starts and difficulties along the way.  Proud of a group of performers who created something rather special, some of them more easily than others.  Proud of myself for pulling out all the stops and stepping over a couple of inhibitions.  And proud to add ‘Ralph, Stage Manager’ to my list of roles.

  1. You should be proud. You (and the rest of the cast) did a grand job.

  2. I’m so glad it all went so well in the end, and that you can be so proud of the Society, and of yourself. It’s great.

    I have been happily trying ot picture you as Ralph. I wish I could have seen it. One day I will insist on turning up and seeing you perform.

    So there.

  3. Thank you, Lilian.

    Reed, you would be welcome in the audience any time. Particularly if you whoop loudly during curtain calls and/or wait at theatre bars to gush. 🙂

  4. Pleased it all went well. I did try and picture you last week as we ran a parallel experience of performing after months of rehearsals. You are right about the feeling after it is all over. Rehearsals seem a chore at times but they give a structure around which you organise things. When it is over there is quite a gap. Suddenly I have to think of things to do with my time. Before I just arrived when and where the emails told me. You sound as if you have a harder row to hoe because I am not on any of the company’s committees (temperamentally unsuited), and that must take up valuable time.
    Make sure you take care of that voice. This is one time where ‘resting’ for a performer is an important thing to do.

  5. So how do you feel about members of the audience being spotted holding ‘we love you Singing Librarian’ placards in addition to loud whooping and gushing? If you are particularly lucky we could upgrade to ‘I want your babies, Singing Librarian’! *Grins evilly*

    Would you ever live it down?

    Glad it went well!

    • Singing Librarian
    • April 10th, 2007

    Hmm, I think I could cope with anything short of the ‘I want your babies’ placards! Though even that might be OK in a large venue, as I can generally only see the first couple of rows.

    Voice back in working order now, thank goodness.

  1. March 5th, 2010

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