From Page To Stage: The birth of Artless Charlie – Part 27

4/11/03

I was much more relaxed going into our second performance.  Having been so pleased with last night’s show, I felt that tonight would be a breeze as long as everyone just did what they had done the night before.  This, however, would not be the case.  As soon as the show started I knew something was wrong.  The first scene seemed to be taking forever and I could see that the actors, especially Dan, were not in tune with their performances.  The first act was painfully slow because people were not tying the moments together and playing through the action like they had the night before. I wasn’t sure exactly why this was happening, but I knew there was nothing I could do at this point anyway.

As the show went on, I sat writhing in my chair, thoroughly convinced that at any moment everyone in the house was going to walk out in disgust.  The second act went a little better, that is to say that it moved at a more determined pace than the first act. However, Dan milked his monologue in the breakdown scene for all it was worth.  I thought we were suddenly doing a melodrama.  He added a number of dramatic pauses in that speech that easily lasted upwards of 15 seconds a piece.  They were obviously excessive, and more than that, they were pauses that he had never used before. I was a little disappointed that he pulled those out on the last night without talking to me about such a big change, but seeing as this was our last performance, I didn’t worry about it too much.

As the show ended and the cast emerged for their curtain call, I was sure that they would be greeted with some minimal polite applause and nothing else.  As I braced myself for whatever the audience might angrily hurl in my direction, I paused in disbelief at what followed: The house rose to their feet and gave the show a standing ovation.  I couldn’t have been more shocked at the response.  I was so sure that the performance had been a disaster and I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I suppose that I magnified some of the shows flaws that night as I sat helpless in my chair.  I greeted some of the audience members after the show, I was so relieved to find that they did, in fact, enjoy it as much as the ovation suggested.  I was unable to locate the unknown woman that started the standing ovation, but I’m glad that it was someone I didn’t know instead of Adam’s mother or my girlfriend.  That made me feel like it was justified.

In the end, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the overall response that people had to the show. I was really proud of the work that all of us had done over the past few months. It was a long and arduous process, but worth absolutely every minute of it.

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