“The Wild Party” opened last Friday! Until it closes this Saturday, it continues to consume every fiber of my being, so I’m going to write about it one last time (probably). In honor of the show’s opening, here are five things that happen, in my experience, when you open a show:
- Nerves. Opening a show for the first time is terrifying. You’ve put so much (read: literally more than anything else ever) time and energy into one thing for the past four months, and now you’re showing it to the world – that’s scary. You’re juggling all these expectations placed on you by yourself, by your other performers/staff and by the audience (including friends and family). You want to perform well and you also want people to like it. Being judged like that – being judged based off of four months of intense work and hours upon hours of rehearsal – is scary.
- Excitement. Opening a show, in spite of (and maybe a little bit because of) the nerves, is exhilarating. There is, without fail, a wild sense of excitement among cast and crew (and even audience). For many of the same reasons that we’re nervous and jittery, we are also jumping at the chance to (in my case) perform, and we cannot wait for others to see the show. We want the audience to experience this story for which we’ve been working our collective ass off during the past four months, and we can’t wait to share it with people beyond those in the rehearsal room.
- You get halfway through Act One and start thinking, “This is going pretty well.” Wow! Incredible! I thought for sure we’d have messed up by now! And the audience seems pretty into it, and it sounds really good. I’m impressed.
- Screw-ups! Because of course, nothing can go perfectly all the time. The first screw-up might happen before the curtain even rises: a misplaced prop, an unplugged cord, a flying drumstick. Or it might happen further on in the show. A missed cue, a jumped line, a fudged chord. Sometime screw-ups are minor, negligible, you can just brush them off. Other screw-ups are a little more noticeable. But no matter what, the show continues; screw-ups aren’t noticed, get forgotten and/or get covered.
- Relief. This feeling tends, for me, to set in around intermission. (This is partly because I like drumming for Act Two of “Wild Party” a little more than Act One, but that’s just me.) Somehow, a show that barely existed four months ago managed to go up in MemAud. All those hours and hours (and hours) of work have paid off. The show has FINALLY been seen by the public. HOORAY.
Let Matt Bernstein know if you’re seeing “The Wild Party” at mbernstein ‘at’ stanford.edu.