So, tonight is opening night which means we’ve had two preview performances, and as I suspected, I have already learned a lot about the play. It is a completely different expereince seeing it in front of a live audience with full tech than any other way of “hearing” your play, and is absolutely essential to growth as a playwright. Not a new thought, of course, but one that bears repeating. It’s a lot of work to produce a play, and its helpful to remember that it is both necessary and worthwhile.
We’ve had two critics come to see the show. Our press opening is not until Saturday, so nothing is published as of yet, but I suspect that one will be fairly negative, and the other … I don’t know. I was sitting in front of one and behind the other, and the gentleman behind me clearly was dissatisfied. I’m curious as to why, and am already trying to detach myself so I can read the review rationally, and not as some open wound. The gentleman in front of me seemed like he enjoyed it more, but who knows? These are, of course, just two people’s opinions … we’ll wait and see what they say.
I do know that some people loved it, because I heard them talk about it to each other. These were bona fide strangers with no tie to the company, and the fact that the play reached them is to me a major victory. You don’t really know that is going to happen until it does. We also were treated to one of those rare moments that you live for as an artist. A man came in off the street to see the show, saw the director making notes, and then told him after the play that this was “special” for him. “Something different.” It clearly moved him. And, that, too is a victory, and bears repeating as well.
The show gets better with every performance. The mistakes I see in the writing are glaringly evident to me and others I’m sure. And in this business and being human, it is so much easier to see your mistakes and failures than see your successes. At least it is for me. But these terribly talented actors are so alive and invested, and able to make even me – as close as I am to the process – forget that I’m watching a play sometimes. They imbue these characters with humanity and love, and it’s a thrilling experience watching them work. I hope you take the opportunity to do so.
Tonight is opening night … the education continues.