Opening night

Late Bus to Mecca2 by Pearl opened Sunday night after a couple of great previews – we were working on the technical elements and directors Chuck Smith and Thomas Jones were giving notes to the actors through the weekend as we got ready for the opening performance.

One of the most interesting things to see (for me, anyway) is how a show evolves after opening night – all of the major choices have been made, and actors will stay true to the work they’ve done with the director through the rehearsal process, but things always change slightly as actors settle into roles and the stage manager gets more comfortable with the sound and light cues.

I don’t know what Chuck or Thomas plan to do, but I always like to stop by a show that I’ve directed a couple of weeks after it’s opened – not to give notes or criticism (as some directors do), but just to enjoy. Sometimes the rhythm gets sharper, sometimes the characters feel more fully explored, sometimes a new discovery has happened that changes the tone of a moment.

HospiceThat’s one of the main things that attracts me to theatre – unlike film, where your work is locked into a specific moment in time, a play grows and changes over the time it’s running, and each individual performance is a completely unique event and an unrepeatable work of art.

2 by Pearl is an especially interesting night of theatre to revisit – since the two actors in Late Bus to Mecca are alternating roles through the run, you can watch two different interpretations of the same characters evolve as Frances and Alana explore their own work and watch and listen to each other’s. Hospice, which focuses on a complex and layered relationship between mother and daughter, will grow as well, as Tanya and Noelle continue exploring the subtle nuances lying underneath the surface of their dialogue.

This is not to say that these shows aren’t fantastic now – of course they are, and I hesitate to say that they’ll be “better” as they go along – just that they’ll be different, and it’s worth coming back to see how those little differences change the overall experience.

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