This week has reminded me of why actors often refer to the final days of tech and dress rehearsals as "hell week." With Acts of Desperation having a Thursday opening, it was a short but intense week leading to a wonderful opening yesterday. The venerable old Warner Grand Theatre offered its own challenges, particularly with lighting, but director, crew and cast persevered. The Relevant Stage is now launched and is well on its way to making a major contribution to thoughtful theatre production in San Pedro and surrounding communities of southern California.
The two opening performances yesterday were exhilarating. After technical problems resulted in the cast only getting in one full run-through over the 3 days leading to the opening, we were really cooking. I am honored to be part of what has become an outstanding ensemble of actors and dancers ranging in age from 13 up to The Ancient One's 70 years. The pacing, energy and intensity for both performances were amazing. And each performance was different, partly due to the difference in the audiences.
The matinee was played to several hundred middle and high school students. They openly reacted to what they were seeing and appeared (based on the Q&A following the performance) to be touched by this multimedia look at the impacts of bullying and school violence. The evening audience was quieter and more reflective. They were pushed to look at the subject matter in ways they may not have previously seen it. At the opening night reception following the performance, audience members were clearly supportive of what the production is attempting to do and some were urging Artistic Director Ray Buffer to find a way to take the show "on the road," directly to local schools.
Right now, I am exhausted. And I leave in 2 hours for today's 2 performances; another school audience matinee this afternoon and a paying audience tonight. I will write more after the run ends. Right now I can only say that I am proud to be part of this production, delighted to be working on the stage of the historic Warner Grand, and honored to be part of such an outstanding ensemble.