Being a cohort is a true privilege and I am so grateful to Sean for allowing me in. We get to drop in throughout the time when people come together for the 2-3 weeks before the show goes on to the stage. We get to chat with the folks and get to learn so much. Scary thing is, today they told me they read what we write. Um, they are the pros at that….
I chose to take advantage of seeing an extra preview last night. Our tickets are for Friday preview. And yes, they really do change things right up to the end. Seeing the two shows back to back, I got to see how that works. Aside from a different energy of the audience, they made some changes – subtle and not.
On the subtle side, is changing the emphasis of a few notes of music. Kevin who plays the piano in the show gets it, scribbles on the music and done.
On the not so subtle side is changing a major moment in the play. Trying not to go for spoilers, but there is a building to a major point where Charissa enters Milton’s (the 80 year old boyfriend) apartment. Earlier they tried to give a sense of moving through the space of the apartment by working on the lighting and that was how it was last night.
This afternoon, that’s gone and Charissa goes a short distance and faces the audience. Sounds minor, but it impacts on Charissa facing the audience with all the emotion of the moment. But it does take away a little time from my brain catching up with what is going on. And it changes who she is speaking to.There is such a willingness to change such a key moment.
That said, this is it. No more rehearsals to make changes. Tomorrow is opening night and it’s “locked in”.
I continue to be interested in the dynamics between the creative people of who’s in control. Who’s show is it? This being Charissa’s own story she told me she gets more say in the development – normally as the actress she does what is asked. But there are writers. It is their words and music and lyrics. There is Sean as artistic director and director of the play. It’s not his story, but he adds meaning and interpretation.
The answer here is that it shifts. Charissa, Christian, and Edward have worked on this for three years. Charissa has a story that they are writing. And I expect this to be the writer’s who have the say. And Sean joined in long ago in the workshops and has worked with them. And Sean comes in and makes this a team.
But in these previews it moves into the hands of Charissa and Kevin. In the show, Charissa explains how these shows are her kids. And now she is taking on the show and it is hers. And she does a great job.
I was happy/relieved when Christian told me that this is the point where he is happy to let go. Now that tonight is here, it is indeed time to let go.
Now it won’t be asking Charissa to do a scene several times so the lighting can be adjusted, or the sound, or whatever.
Now it is both her story and her show.
Congratulations all. You’ve done a great job and I hope the show has a great life. Thanks for letting me watch.
-Geoff Bryant, Cohort
My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend runs through May 21.