By the time you read this, the first performance of “Oedipus and the Sphinx” will be over. The curtain will have gone up, the actors will have said their pieces, and the curtain will have fallen.
Except there is no curtain. [But is there a spoon? –ed.]
Despite all protests to the contrary, we were all freaking out over getting up on stage, in front of a live audience, and exposing ourselves to their ridicule and scorn (or laughter and praise (luckily, I can tell you with a straight face and utter confidence, last night it was the latter)).
Megan felt like she was going to throw up or pass out.
My throat was dry and ragged, and I was convinced I needed some water I wouldn’t get until after the show (forgetting that, as part of the show, I drink from a bottle of “wine” that, luckily, Jesus hadn’t gotten a hold of yet).
And neither of us could leave for the entire performance, considering that we were the main characters and constantly in scenes that flowed together like hot syrup, seamless (if I do say so myself (and, unfortunately, I do)).
Not that Mackenzie, Clara, or Fleet were any better off. Since we had no backstage, anyone who wasn’t in the action at the moment was back against the wall keeping their own focus on the action and in clear view of the audience we were so happy had come to pay us a visit (well, pay Bootown, but visit us).
But the good news about being a performer in a play is that once you start the performance, you can’t stop it. It rolls onward whether you like it or not, carrying you through your time upon the stage like a feather on a bird. At some point, the bird comes to rest on a branch and you’re at rest, but until that point you’re hanging on with your feathery fingernails as you travel hundreds of feet above the ground.
As a feather, however, your falls are relatively gentle. A gust might take you in hand and slam you groundward, but most of the time you fall for only a moment before a breath of wind from another actor sets you aloft again with the right word or phrase or action to trigger your memory and to erase all mixed metaphors like this from your word-weary mind.
All of this is to say that the opening night (also, The World Premiere) of “Oedipus and the Sphinx” went off without a hitch. Applause greeted us at the end, and a number of people who didn’t have to tell us how much they liked it stayed around anyway to, well, tell us they liked it.
And though I feel good about this, certainly, as both the playwright and actor, I’m really proud of and thankful to our director, Erin, and all the other actors who make acting their professional hobby, and act well enough to make acting their profession, if they wanted to, which I would endorse, and provide recommendations for, and even applaud.
Where do the blues come in?
Simply in this: the first night’s over. The beginning of the end of the show has begun. And I will miss it.