Frozen in our kingdom…
“I’m freezing the show.” Were the words from director Kevin Moriarty today in rehearsal before our 3rd preview. We had just finished reworking the epilogue and had only moments before our dinner break. My breath caught for a moment, because I had never heard this term before. He went on to explain how the show was now in our hands, along with our crew. My head was spinning. I realized that we were at that moment when a director leaves their cast.
Not that we won’t see him again, I mean we are going out for drinks tonight and we will celebrate with him opening night, and he runs this theater center. We still have four more previews to iron out kinks and explore the dynamics of the story, but our sacred workspace is empty one person.
Theater can be tough for anyone with separation anxiety. You say goodbye to loved ones when you leave for an out of town job, you say goodbye to having the script and the table in front of you, you say goodbye to the rehearsal room, you say goodbye to ideas that don’t help the story, you say good bye to the director, each night you say goodbye to the audience, and finally, in the end we have to say goodbye to each other, cast, crew and theater staff, at the end of a run. Yet each of these elements stay in your connective tissue, throughout the run, after the run, and late in life when you tell stories about “there was this time when I was working in Dallas….”
We have been released to continue our work in this kingdom of Oedipus El Rey. We get to fine tune our fight choreography, master time management before the shows, warm up our voices, interact with various audiences, love or hate the reviews (or not read them at all,) and know we are working and loving the hell out of our jobs. All the while, we will have the voice of our fearless leader in our hearts. Our director, our King, our Rey, who ruled our kingdom with a firme hand (along with hilarious stories and random lectures on topics such as architecture.)
He wrapped up our rehearsal notes today with words of thanks. Mentioning our strength as an ensemble, how we are connected and all on the same page telling the same story, how our ideas and sharing enriched the cultural conntext of this play. It was because he set the tone on our first day with energy, curiosity, wonder, humour and intelligence that we are now a royal family on this journey.
So our show is frozen… we now have the luxury of exploration, repetition, observation and ownership. Our Rey will watch from afar and know that he brought us together and set us free, to fill our stage and ask our questions…