Urban Shakespeare: Week Five-Hell Week

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

Week Five is now over and done, and I needed the day to separate myself from Hell Week (part one). For those not in the know, Technical Rehearsal week is unofficially called Hell Week.  It is full of stops and starts, is long LONG hours, tempers are high and patience is at a minimum towards stupidity, lighting, sound and final blocking cues are locked in, costuming should already be happening, makeup, the stage manager should have the action running ON stage while the Directors (actual production director, musical director, technical director and Choreographer) work on the minute details and honing, the actors SHOULD know  all their lines, entrances and exits, and…did I mention the long, long hours?

Theater Hell Week

Tips for Surviving HS Theater Hell Week

Caliban’s Revenge: Hell Week

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.  ~Richard Carlson

As is the normal case with running around like mad men (NOT the TV show!), a good many of us are sick. Head colds are running rampant, and I have sneezed, coughed, hacked and fallen asleep at the computer more times this week than I can actually count, let alone shake a stick at. Not sure why I would want to shake a stick, but if I had one, I tell you…you would see some real stick shaking!!!

I am glad for this weekend to, first, spend time with family and friends (yesterday) and, second, to have a day of just me, music, writing and napping (today). As of tomorrow, I enter into the final week of the six week production process that culminates in what it’s all been about: a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast? said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.

“I have had a most rare vision.” ~Bottom

At this moment, I know that the main part of my job is complete: I have shard my artistic vision with cast and crew. My needs have altered, finding a need to delete and add as the needs occurred, made discoveries of the great and not so great kind, and in the end: it is all about the kids.

Normal camp/school productions, they make a big thing about bringing the Director out after the kids get their curtain call. Me? I’d be happy if they just let me be. I don’t  want to come out on stage.  Let the kids get the applause they will deserve. Let the show be about them. My applause comes from what the audience will give them.

Like Bottom, I have had a most rare vision: seeing my ideas put together on stage for a show I’ve performed in a number of times, SEEN performed far more, and have loved ever since my mother sat with me and we watched the 1935 movie version (with Mickey Rooney, James Cagney, Dick Powell, Joe E. Brown and Olivia De Havilland) on our black and white TV when I was a kid.

This Week:

  1. Will I have costumes? I have not seen a blessed thing yet: any costuming I’ve done, by raiding my own prop/costume trunk from The Brothers Grinn. Supposedly, I will see it all tomorrow…two days before our first show in front of a paying audience!
  2. Will I have an assistant/stage manager? Did no one but me see that asking someone who interviewed for the director’s job (which I got) to volunteer their time NOT be a disaster in the making?
  3. Will the choreographers (yes, plural) do the fine tuning needed in time for Wednesday?
  4. Will the actors remember their lines, their blocking, project their voices, stay in character and not fight with each other?
  5. Will all the tech cues happen when they’re supposed to happen? (this one is the one I have the most faith in, at the moment).
  6. Will the counselors/stage crew get their heads out of their you-know-whats and do what they are supposed to do?
  7. Will I have a voice and sanity (which is always questionable!) when Friday night has come and gone?

Next Saturday/Sunday: the wrap up of Urban Shakespeare.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Li @FlashFiction
    Aug 07, 2011 @ 11:21:58

    Sounds stressful indeed – and exciting. And yet, I’ll bet everything comes together in the end.
    Your computer sounds like it may need a visit from the Hazmat crew.
    Love your quotes BTW. I think Pooh and I have a similar outlook on life. 🙂


    • bornstoryteller
      Aug 07, 2011 @ 11:24:32

      Thanks Li. yeah, I really should have Lysol, antiseptic sprays, et al around me right now. I have not stopped sneezing for the last two hours. My garbage can is full to the brim. Ugh…my head.

      The show WILL be good. I have seen great things happen already. Stay tuned.


  2. Penelope J.
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 17:02:02

    All I can say is good luck, good health, good humor, and that the Director survive Theater Hell Week and get his just reward at the end!


    • bornstoryteller
      Aug 10, 2011 @ 18:12:41

      Thanks Penelope. Today went well. I’m assured tomorrow will not (that almost always happens) and then Friday’s show will be absolutely amazing. I’ll write about it on the weekend.


  3. bornstoryteller
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 20:41:56

    Annie: nice to hear from you…and thank you. You were a great Puck, and I hope you had fun!! Sorry we did not connect on Friday night: it was crazy after the awards. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and again, thank you.


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