The show, the show! What a joy it is! Four performances this weekend, all lovely, all fun.
It's all running smoothly, with a few "magic-of-live-theatre" mishaps. In one show, Prospero's staff was accidentally snapped at the top of act 2. Thankfully it happened offstage, but our stagehand Kyle leapt into action to make sure the staff was in one piece, ready to be broken at the end of act 2. In another, my necklace getting caught in on itself during a harpy quick change (this happened to me during the run of The Pajama Game in Oz. I had a quick change in the middle of the song and dance number, 'Hernando's Hideaway', and my necklace, which held Gladys' key ("you'll never get my keeeey!"), somehow wrapped itself around my mic. The song went straight into the scene where Sid manages to trick Gladys into giving him the key. I was sitting on stage, playing drunk, with a massive chain and key dangling from my cheek. The actor playing Sid, Lachlan, looked at me in horror and mouthed "Key!". I shrugged and prayed he would somehow get the key off. By sheer magic and divine will, he did it. I still don't know how. When I stumbled off-stage the dressers and sound op leapt into action to get that damn chain off my mic. No one could understand how the chain had wound itself round in the first place!).
Our entire team is organized, efficient, and a delight to be around. Have I mentioned how much fun I'm having? I arrive at the theatre two hours before curtain. I have the luxury of my hair and make-up being done for me. I get to sit in the chair and have a wonderful team of people transform me into Ariel. Suzann or Shannon on make-up. Bronzer around the temples and down to the cheekbones. Shimmery white highlights, black eyeliner, red and bronze shimmering lips. In the seat next to me, David is transformed into Caliban with mud and stinking scars applied on his arms and legs and cheeks.
Face done, I head down the hallway for hair with Kirsty. She blow-dries and sprays my hair into a pixie wave, and combs sparkling copper highlights through. Then it's all sprayed again.
Warm-ups, a team effort. Al leads the physical, everyone contributes tongue twisters and vocal warm-ups, and I finish off with a "rain dance". We head back into the dressing room for final touch-ups and changing into costume. I help Ali into her corset, she ties mine. Ali heads back out to Kirsty to have her wig pinned into place. Boots. Necklace. Check face. Check hair.
Aubrey calls "places". Water bottle placed backstage. Calls of "chit chit!" and "break legs!" and "chookas!". The lights dim. Sound effects of waves. Stand in the stage right wing, wait for the end of the storm - "I would feign die a dry death" - to place the stage right rock. Blackout, move quietly and quickly. See the glow tape, set the rock. Exit, fast. Listen to the Prospero/Miranda scene. It's quite long. I have time to meditate - I do one of the Feldankrais exercises Judi taught us during rehearsals. Stand feet hip-width apart. Gently rock forward and back, slowly rocking into a circle and keeping your feet on the ground. "Now I arise". Head up the stairs, waiting at the top for my cue. The build up of nerves and fear. "I am ready now". I have time to watch the projection - a pink tinkerbell light across the scrim. And then, the flesh-and-blood Ariel leaps onto the platform into the light.
The joy of speaking Shakespeare. I love it every single time. Hitting the marks, investing in every moment, hearing every line anew. I notice Caliban at the back of the set, preparing for his entrance. Stay focused. Prospero is the most important, and only, person in the world. Focus on your desire: freedom. By being Prospero's industrious servant, you shall be free!
The relief of making it through the scene. Back down the stairs. Ferdinand is waiting for his entrance. Time for a sip of water. Keep breathing. This is it.
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