Opening night jitters?

It’s Friday the 13th and it’s our opening night tonight.

If I was superstitious, I’d be worried – and even though the theatre world is very superstitious – I actually love the fact that we’re opening on this black-cat day.

The evening has been going through my mind for a number of days!

On the one hand looking forward to that almost electric feeling of anticipation as we all put on our costumes and make-up. The nerves that bunch up in the tummy as the chatter of the first audience members filters through to us over the tannoy. The quiet whispers that descend on the green room as the main light is replaced by the blue light in our waiting area.

On the other hand though, it’s the night we know a critic or two will be there, many of our parents will be there, and of course – our dearly beloved thespian friends will be there. Those friends who are both most supportive and most critical – they’ve been there, they know what it’s like.

They also know what they would do better, who they would cast differently, and what colour we should have used on that back corner of the set. If they’re kind they gently give us tips on how to improve this & that. If we’re humble we listen and learn – and take from it what we want. And we work out how much to take from whom. Many a gem has come to one’s aid from surprising sources 🙂

Above all though, they know how important it is to have a drink together afterwards, giving lavish praise where possible – as that is what we all ultimately want (yes, admit it!).

We had our final dress rehearsal last night – our “oldies night” as we call it. We’re as grateful to the old age home for giving us an audience that claps, sighs and laughs as they are for the outing to the theatre.

It really does make a massive difference to suddenly have reactions where there weren’t any before. To have laughs in unexpected places, to have silences where we had paused for loud smiles and to feel their thoughts & expectations in my neck.

This final non-stop dress rehearsal also helps to iron out lighting cues and to remind us that loud laughter in the green room during a dramatic pause on stage will be heard by the first rows. And that ultimately we are a team – and need to save each other during moments of memory-loss – ‘cos you never know when it’s your brain that misses a beat.

Now, with 2 hours to curtain up, I am excited to be on the Masque stage in front of a full house tonight – and 8 further performances. To make our friends and fans smile, gasp and have an evening of entertaining.

My normally warm hands are already going chilly and clammy at the thought – but I can’t wait!

If you’re a fan of Oscar Wilde, come and watch “Lady Windermere’s Fan” at the Masque theatre in Muizenberg on until 21 August. Bookings during office hours on 021 788 1898.

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