Friday, June 19, 2009

The Show Must Go On! (Grassroots Shakespeare Company)

Last Saturday night we had the first (and, I hope--and fully expect--only) performance of our run canceled. Here's a brief timetable:

Late Friday Night: Wes sends out a message to everyone informing us that he was feeling ill, and Without Voice.

Saturday Morning: The clouds gather--both literally and figuratively. Several of us debate via Facebook the pros and cons of going on with the show, and feel like Wes should probably make the final decision whether or not he feels up to it.

4:00PM: After an afternoon of uncertainty, a verdict is reached--we'll do the show, with our stage manager, Daniel Whiting, on book as Wes' characters.

4:30PM: We congregate at Wes' place for our pre-show barbecue, as planned. Wes decides he'll play Borachio, while Daniel will read The Messenger. The skies clear figuratively, if not literally.

7:00PM: It's time to ship out, and, two-and-a-half hours later, we still haven't generated enough of a flame for any of the hamburgers to cook (except for one lone, medium-well-done burger right in the middle of the grill, which may or may not have actually ever been eaten by anyone). We load everything up (including the grill) in the back of the truck and head over to the park by Springville High School where the Art City Days events are going on, to appease the Muse with our theatrical passions and our unfilled bellies.

7:15PM: Joel and I arrive first. We head on in to the festivities, and, after scouring the premises for twenty minutes or so, conclude that this thing is contained within practically a square foot--there's absolutely no place to set up and do the show, except, perhaps, on the perimeter by some parents enjoying a peaceful chat on a bench by the playground as their wee ones frolicked. That, or on the edge of a parking lot, with our audience sitting in the street, a chain link fence between us, and competing with a classic rock cover band.

7:30PM: We return to the Springville High parking lot, and report the bleak news to our comrades-in-arms. The more enthusiastic rally us round and convince us that the show must indeed go on.

8:00PM: After lugging my 40 lb. accordion for what seems like (and could possibly have been) a half a mile, we set up in the field just outside the festival, where our stage may or may not be invaded by either, a) some kids playing soccer, or b) some kids in a Shetland pony-drawn carriage. We struggle to find a spot that isn't either overshadowed by the giant glowing rollercoastery circle-of-wonder, or made up entirely of mud (since we also have an audience to consider--we hope), all while trying to make as much use as possible of the limited foot traffic we have.

8:15PM: Against all odds, the show begins.

8:30PM: Cue torrential downpour.

8:45PM: Our audience of ten-or-so stalwart souls cowered under umbrellas, the guitar getting soaked, the accordion having fled into its plastic case, those of us wearing glasses now rendered blind either with or without them (covered in obscuring droplets of water as they are), all of us freezing and those in dresses ultra-freezing, the tambourine incapable of producing a decent jangle because the head is so saturated from the moisture, we have, after a hard day's night of fighting the good fight against the anti-Shakespearean gods, finally been defeated. We gather behind the scenes and discuss the best plan-of-attack, and, at the conclusion of Wes and Joel's evil conspiracy scene, step out and thank the audience for their gracious weather-enduring--as we struggle to laugh in spite of the buckets of water being poured down our lungs--then let them know about our next show and where they can find our schedule online (i.e., here).

9:00PM: We retire to the parking lot, bruised, battered, beaten--and, by golly, very beautifully bonded by the shared experience of doing our darndest, by gum. Never has the phrase, "The show must go on" meant so much; and, oddly enough, never have I felt closer to all those in our wonderful little cast.

9:02PM: I search my drenched pockets frantically for five minutes, thinking I've lost my keys.

9:07PM: Phew. I drive home.

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