We started to write this blog last week (when we still had a week to go before first night) but as the build-up to performance is so busy, we have ended up combining last week’s and this week’s posts. Truth be told, we’ve simply not had the time.
But that’s because we were spending that time on doing all of the things required for performance. When an audience come to see one of our shows, we want to give them a slick, smooth experience. We want them to buy or show us their tickets, offer them a programme, show them to their seats, let them buy a drink, and watch a performance that is going to engage them, enthrall them and make them laugh/cry/smile/applaud/be moved (delete as applicable)
But in order for all of those things to happen, we have a huge amount of work to do in advance of the all-important performance night.
We’ve talked on previous blogs about learning lines, blocking and choreographing. We’ve talked about our directing team getting together and planning rehearsals, responding to action and reaction and putting the vision together. We’ve talked about the crew backstage, designing, building and moving set, props and costumes. These things are inherent and basic; we can’t move on without them.
But there is a wealth of other “stuff” we have to do too. The regular committee meetings, where we design the programmes/posters/tickets/marketing, and where we allocate different people to do all of the different things involved in making those transform from an idea into a reality. The endless hours spent on lighting and sound design – and more consuming – actually rigging, moving and setting those lights. Building a tech script. Plotting the desk. What about the front of house team? Managing the online sales and the offline sales. Working out who needs to sit where. Planning who’s going to show people to their seats, who’s going to be in charge of takings, who’s going to sell programmes.
And all the while, not forgetting that this play in particular, is slapstick physical theatre. It’s a constant barrage on the audience’s senses. Making people laugh is hard. Sustaining that laughter is even harder. But one thing that we have learned over our many years in this world, is that if ALL of those other things come together – if the booking process is smooth, the doors are opened on time, the audience is greeted with a smile, the programme is good value, the bar is open, and the environment is welcoming; then, simply put, our audience will be in the best frame of mind possible to enjoy our show.
It’s our job to entertain you, and that starts from the second you see our first poster on Facebook, or the first flyer that sits on your seat at a previous show.
So, now we come to first night. We will, of course, publish some reviews of our show in another post. But for now, and writing this the morning after the first night, we just wanted to let you know how much FUN it was for us all last night.
How everything came together – even when the pre-recorded safety announcement crashed the sound system at 6:30 and Jacob (who is also the lead role) had to sit and manually re-input all of the sound cues. How Jess and Daniel motivated the cast backstage. How Pete just sorted everything out backstage effortlessly, with his stellar backstage crew. How Carl in the lighting room never lets us down. How Bec and Stacey on Front Of House had everyone in a good mood before they even took their seats. How Linda welcomes everyone personally. How the John Godber Centre staff go out of their way every single time to provide us and our audience with the most professional experience imaginable.
And how our cast ROSE to the occasion. My goodness, but this is a belter of a show.
It was a magnificent night, full of praise from the packed audience. There was so much laughter, and the cheers and applause at the end raised the roof. What a validation of all of the hard work of the last few months.
How proud we all are of each other.