I know I’ve probably said it once before, but I just really love being a part of the theater program here at Hanover College. Auditioning for a show is always very stressful, and the process of memorizing lines and having to deal with multiple changes in the show sometimes makes me wonder why I even wanted to audition in the first place.
Then, that one week comes around. We like to refer to it as Tech Week. It’s supposed to be one of the most stressful weeks in a theater kid’s life and yet, during that week, I always discover the reason I still participate in theater.
During that week, you are pretty much at rehearsal from six at night to ten or maybe even later. On the Sunday that starts the week, you will probably be there from one in the afternoon to ten or later, with a few breaks. You have dress rehearsals from Monday to Wednesday until Thursday hits; in this case that was Opening Night.
There are no words to describe the emotions running through the cast during Opening Night of a show they have worked on for so long. Before you go on stage, nerves are racing through your body, and you try to take deep breaths in an attempt to transform them into adrenaline and energy.
Then, it is your cue, and you step out on the stage while the audience hushes to discover what this new scene will be about. Now, you are confident, you have left all the nervous energy backstage, and you only live to be your character.
You might try to take a peak in the audience, to see if your best friends or that really cute guy in your Spanish class came to see you, but you aren’t distracted. The lights are pointed at you, everyone is staring at you, and yet, you don’t mind.
You just want to give them a performance that will change their lives. If the show is a comedy, you want to make them forget all of the worries and stresses in their lives.
If the show is a drama, you want to teach the audience that there are much worse things going on in the world then being stressed about their hair dye not turning out properly. This is when I remember why I do theater and how much I love it.
This week has been Tech Week for One Act Plays, a series of different shows designed both to entertain the audience and teach them life lessons. I was cast as Candy in a short play called, “Candy Likes Your Status.” No spoilers, but at first I was appalled by the ending of the show. It disturbed me and I wanted no part of it.
But, as rehearsals ran on, I began to see the show’s point, and I hope the audience saw it this week, too. As Tech Week comes to an end, I remember that the audience is the most important part of any show. Teaching them, entertaining them, whatever it is we do, I hope that they carry a small part of what we actors say on stage with them for the rest of their lives.