After approximately two weeks of rehearsal and two days with the creative team, the day of the staged reading was upon us! The MFA Musical Theatre Class of 2016 was dressed in “hip clothing” and ready to show the San Diego theatre community the beauty of On the Eve.
The day started with a few hours of music rehearsal with the band (the band meaning piano and drums), which I was unable to attend due to work. It was a little nerve-racking for me to have my first time hearing the song with the band be during our final run-through, but it was also exhilarating to let the changes influence my performance in the show. The last run-through had its stumbles, mostly due to the fact that we were eager to get out of our books on the stands in front of us and really perform. The reality of the situation, though, was that we still hadn’t had much time with the material and it was better to be somewhat involved with the script – that way lines weren’t dropped or flubbed. We were aware of the moments that NEEDED to be delivered with our heads out of our books, but we also knew that our real job was to tell the story to the best of our capability. A note for me personally was that I was trying to face my scene partner too much. Because we were recording the audio of the show for the creatives, it was important that I cheated to the side, rather than face profile, in order to capture all the sound. It was a tough adjustment for me to think about during the actual performance (since I was given the note just hours before curtain) but I knew it was important to get right.
Before we headed off to get ready for the show, one of my classmates got us all together to sing the final number of the piece in support of #performforpeace, a movement in the artistic community to show support and love to those affected by the terrorist attacks the weekend before the performance. This show beautifully tells the story of a group that stands up against tyranny and those who squelch creativity, and the number “Blessed Highway” is full of hope for those who survive and need the courage to keep moving forward. It was a very special moment to come together as a class, with the creators of the show, and sing in support of those struggling. I will never forget that feeling of pride for such an amazing group of people.
The performance went well! I would be lying if I said it went flawlessly, “but what is the good in flawlessness” (a line from On the Eve). There was a talk-back hosted at the end of the performance where audience members could ask questions and give feedback to the creative team. I continued to be inspired by the answers coming from Michael, Shawn and Seth and was very sad to see this chapter close. I was touched at how they kept acknowledging how we brought them into our family and how fun the experience was for all involved. I believe that performers can be so concerned about who is in the audience, the song not fitting right in their voice or how they will interact with others (all of these being MY concerns) that the storytelling can get muddled. It is the moment when you trust in your talent, skill and instincts, let the fear and indecision slip away, that the true heart of the piece can shine through. We are involved in theatre to be the vessel through which art is performed – our own insecurities can change the piece and the story that needs to be told.
Doing the staged reading of On the Eve was an amazing learning experience for me and I hope you were able to see a little glimpse into the life of a staged reading!
This last week the MFA Musical Theatre program teamed up with the creative team of ON THE EVE – a new musical and performed a staged reading. In honor of the many who were lost by tragic events this last week, we took some time out of our rehearsal to record the final number of the show: "Blessed Highway". We share this with you all in hopes that more live performances are posted showing that we will not live in fear or stop telling stories. Instead, we will celebrate life and do what we know how to do: PERFORM. But, this time for peace! #performforpeace #homebyhovercraft #vivelafrance
Posted by SDSU MFA Musical Theatre on Saturday, November 21, 2015
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