04 March 2011

The Show Must Go On

Some kind of bug seems to be circling the theater department. It sure has led to some interesting performances. During our tech run, one actress was on a no speaking/singing restriction because she'd lost her voice. The restriction was maintained until her voice returned, which was before opening night-and what a beautiful voice it is. Another actor was in the green room before the show last night, drinking hot tea and sucking cough drops. One of the spot ops was sick last night as well-his call was adjusted so he could show up right before curtain and leave immediately afterwards to go home and rest. If they could've found someone to take his place during the show, he wouldn't have had to come in at all.

Things like this happen a lot in the theater, which can be particularly troublesome at times. My school doesn't employ the practice of casting understudies. Why? No idea, but there are a lot of reasons I can come up with including a limited number of students in the department, costume complications that would stem from having to fit two people for one role, and the fact that an understudy might not have to appear onstage at all for the entire run of any given show. I've heard some interesting stories and witnessed a few as well; all of them just increase the idea that the show must go on.

Once, an actress got her nose accidentally broken onstage during a performance. I wasn't present to witness this one; I believe it happened one year during summer stock. As I recall, she finished her lines and got off stage to stem the bloodflow.

I've seen actors and actresses work through sore throats, sprains, strains, migraines, colds, and every shock, ache and pain you could possibly imagine. Once, an actress had to get her costume and blocking adjusted when she hurt her elbow a few days before a play opened. She played her roles, including two costume changes during the show, wearing a sling with her arm as immobile as possible.

There are times I have to admire the other students I work with. I'm glad I share their determination. No matter the cost, the show must go on.
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