This was the only time the various casts got to see each other perform. I have to say, I was impressed with both of the other plays. And I was surprised by all the compliments mine received. Everything came together in the last minute. Still a ways to go, but the end is in sight.
My brother drove up from Anaheim on Thursday, which happened to be Dress Rehearsal for the one-acts. I figured this would be a good opportunity to do something nice for the casts, so I asked him to stop by Krispy Kreme and pick up some donuts on the way up.
- In case you've never had one, these are like donuts squared. I can't really describe the experience, but they're way beyond the scope of normal donuts. It's not so much that these are exceptional donuts as that all other donuts are shameful imposters. These are donuts of the gods, never intended for mere mortals to consume. And they're not easy to come by here - the closest branch is a good 40 minutes away.
I can tell immediately that my gift has had the desired effect. Morale is up. People are happy. A very good energy fills the air. In short, everyone's on a sugar high like you wouldn't believe.
This is at 5:30. At 7:00, we perform for a live audience. I return from the wedding rehearsal in time to give my cast some last minute pointers. And then we're up.
Watching the show, I can't quite put my finger on what's wrong. People aren't laughing at the jokes; the timing is off. Everything's too slow, not enough energy. The actors seem tired. As though the entire cast has hit a sugar low. I ask around. Apparently, all three of the plays had that problem.
I miss the beginning of my play, arriving late from the wedding reception. The audience continues to not laugh at our jokes. I punch up our delivery for tomorrow's performance, but begin to wonder if we're not insulting the audience's intelligence by going for the cheap laugh.
I suspect this is the day the reviewers came to see us. Pity...
I spend all day in constant dread. My older brother asks whether he should drive out for tonight's show. "Don't bother," I tell him. "It will just be sad."
We continue refining the play, bringing it closer and closer to a vision which doesn't seem to be what the audience is looking for. But the changes work. We're able to grab the audience and keep their attention through most of the play. They laugh in more or less appropriate places. It is a good sign. We're moving in the right direction.
In the midst of Justin's exit, the final moment of our play, his leggings proved slippery and the man fell on his face. He made a good judgment call, and decided to lay there like a corpse until the lights faded for curtain call. My dad thinks I should leave that in there.
Justin isn't gesturing as he has in the past. He's handling his props differently. Something is wrong, and I can't put my finger on it. The play ends. He holds hands with his castmates to take a bow, and his pants fall down around his ankles. Apparently, they weren't secured properly today, and he'd been holding them up the entire time. These are moments I live for.