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A glimpse at an actor’s experience.

September 20, 2015

Photo on 8-17-15 at 3.02 PM

September 20, 2015

I love acting in the play, “The Fantasticks,” and yes, I did complain about the sparse audiences the first few nights. However, the last two performances we’ve had good audiences. I mean, they were vocal as well as numerous. They laughed loud and long at the funny business. I’m not even sore about how they laughed at the obvious pain my character was in when his son was gone for more than a month.
I love the music, the songs. I love the story. Each time we do the play it seems to go by quicker. I checked and the difference really isn’t the time spent performing. Comes out to about an hour, 40. It is the perception. Oh, it’s not there yet! I’d be lying if I said the play was perfect. It’s not. But the music is still memorable. Most of the singers are strong and the weaker ones are still pretty strong. Very satisfying for me when I am in the show and most of the time, well, all of the time really, I’m onstage. Sitting with my back to the audience. I cannot see, of course, but I can hear and I shake with laughter. Gerry Roe asked me not to laugh out loud. I’m at the point where, if something goes wrong, I relax a bit more and like it!
Today I arrived about an hour before the matinee performance, about 1 p.m. Through the theater front door. I greeted the charming box office person. I don’t remember her name, but she is tiny. Cute, plain, lovely. Just the way I think women are, at their ultimate cutest. Today I also saw two police cars outside the theater, four policemen standing by talking to a civilian. I hoped they would let me past! Turns out the charming tiny woman tripped the alarm when she opened, summoning the cops. She told me all about it. Then she told me how she had trouble unlocking the money drawer. (I’m thinking, good!) She said it was a good thing she knew the police officer who responded, because he asked her if everything was okay. She told him it was. I was thinking, well, what if a crook had a gun trained on her? I realized I was borrowing trouble.
In our dressing room, which isn’t really a dressing room, but a carpeted room used for music practice. I encountered our lead man, a gentleman, choral teacher named “Q.” He teaches in the school in Lockwood. I am proud that we have him to play “El Gallo.”
After we had about a half-hour left until performance, I got myself over to the “green room.” It is just another big room with a table and lots of chairs. I usually find our two musicians there. One, named Myra, another named Brenda. Both play piano. Both are educators. Brenda is from Louisiana and she has a southern drawl. Fun to tease her, to mimic her drawl. Myra is a theater person and schoolteacher. She talks incessantly, very intelligent, very theatrical. Sometimes I leave the room because I want to think about my lines and my part, and Myra jags up the air with her chatter.
I am thinking because of word of mouth we will probably have large audiences next week. I know the audiences we have had have enjoyed themselves, whether they gave us a standing ovation or not. Today I think they didn’t, but I am not feeling bad about that. Not at all. I know they had fun because a couple of them told me so as I was walking across the Rex parking lot after the show. They called to me. I agreed the show is solid material.
My experience: Shortly after overture, I enter after the mute, make an elaborate bow, get coveralls from the mute. Then I go to the back of the curtain. I help Belamy with the bench.
When El Gallo drops the curtain, I wade out onto the stage, coveralls at my ankles. I hear the audience titter. I flop onto the stage, pulling up the coveralls. If I’m lucky I hear more laughter. Then I finish the coveralls, taking care not to interfere with the mute who is throwing oranges to El Gallo.
At last all of us (except the two old actors in the trunk) doctorate the stage with our arms raised in pretty fashion.
And so on. Until we take our bows at the end. I enjoy the blinding lights, circles of yellow in a row over our heads.

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