ATG – Night Music 20 – Ah, Hell Week

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Ah, community theatre. Ah, Hell Week. Where to begin?

The April 18 rehearsal couldn’t be on the stage as the Stage Committee was there in force putting the finishing and, in some cases, beginning touches on set pieces. In a corner of the Clubroom, Stan LaFramboise was figuring out how to attach a tray to an antique wicker wheelchair so Madame Armfeldt (Diana Reynolds) could play solitaire  during some of her scenes. In another corner, Kim Donovan was working on a costume.

Back in the shop a mannequin was being painted so it could morph into a granite statue. At a shop work bench, Master Carpenter Gordie Mosley was making the steering wheels for the Egerman and Malcolm touring cars\

Backstage, Michael Falzon was touching up the beautiful birch trees that will move onto the set in Act II. On stage, John Sczomak and Chris Boudreau were adding pieces to the “stage of a local theatre” for the play-within-a-play. Upstage right, Lillian Wilson was painting one of the cars

Technical Director James Mayne was scurrying about answering questions and providing direction. Ken Kilgore was working on lights. And Scenic Designer Jennifer Maiseloff was wondering if everything would come out the way she planned.

I apologize for not naming everyone that was there. I know I missed a few folks who were there to help. I’ll get you next time.

Meanwhile, the cast was rehearsing in the Clubroom while members of Patricia LaFramboise’s Costume Committee, tucked in the corners with their sewing machines and ironing boards, were busy at work. Dialog and music competed with the whir of sewing machines throughout the rehearsal. When Act I began, Fredrika (Jade Reynolds) sat down at her “piano” pretending to play only to discover that the paint on the keys wasn’t quite dry.

It’s community theatre. Hell Week starts on Sunday. I wrote this for an email to the cast earlier in the week. “The final week before Opening Night has acquired a variety of names over the years. I’ve always called it ‘Hell Week.’ Sometimes it can be difficult getting through it. People get up-tight, anxious, on edge, etc. Don’t focus on that. Be your wonderful, talented, beautiful selves. Keep your focus on the the glorious show we’re going to find at the end of the tunnel.”

We had some “up tight, anxious, on edge” moments last night. People got upset. One actor walked out of the rehearsal. We hope it was just to cool off. Others are upset because a costume doesn’t fit, or a prop is missing, or they didn’t get a music cue. Still, the rehearsal went well. We got through the show. It’s coming together.

Ah, well. Hell Week. “Welcome to the theatre. You fool, you’ll love it so.”

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