I can never work out what I feel when a production ends. It’s one of the questions I get asked, “how do you feel?”, “how to you think the show went?”, “are you pleased?”. But at the end of a performance I feel exhausted and flat. All the energy and focus I have for the stage must drain me and leave me devoid of any recognizable emotion.
This was a difficult show for me as I was both directing and performing. These are two incredibly different jobs and it’s hard to jump between them in rehearsal. There were times I was so engrossed with one of the cast members performances that I completely forgot that I had the next song to sing. I also needed help from other directors with my performance as you can’t see yourself on stage and I wanted to make sure that I had outside opinions that I could trust.
There were other difficult aspects of the show. The music is technically challenging and each song is a different story sung by different characters. There is very little time to prepare to be the next character for either the actor or the audience. The change in musical styles is also a challenge. Their harmonies are complex and the discords at times felt impossible to get right, but in the end we had a show that sounded beautiful. I was also concerned about over singing, as some of the gospel style songs in the songs can end up sounding like a vocal competition and I didn’t want that.
The cast were amazing. People say that a lot about their shows, but I was very fortunate to have so many professional singers and performers involved with the show. My production team also made sure that things ran smoothly and I’m incredibly grateful for all their work. There is a lot of focus on directors and actors, but there are so many other aspects to theatre that are required for a show.
Congratulations and thank you for a stunning Opening Night! You and your outstanding cast filled the theater with beauty, passion, joy, spirit, tears, reflection, sensuality, playfulness, awe…and also hilarity and hoots and hollers! A brilliant mix of all things human. — Rachel Walzer