Reflections From an Empty Theater

By James Haro

1:35 PM Okay, not quite empty. I sat down to write this and the playwright walked in. SO, it was empty, but I’ll continue with Steve’s company. It’s his fault, you know? All of this. The columns of rebar TD Pete formed and welded, the mountains of rocks that scenic designer Kurt has made and placed and the beautifully textured stage he painted. Of course I won’t give too much away, I want EVERYONE to see this show and not have it ruined for them by some snot-nosed blogger. I won’t do that to you, instead I’ll lead you HERE and move on.

2:05 In enters the stage manager, Rebecca. This theater is becoming less and less empty as I write this. I suppose there’s some poetry in that somewhere but I don’t have the time to flesh it out fully. Lunch break is coming to an end and more and more people will file in and continue to put together this world. I know I’ve mentioned it before but it’s such a transformation to be immersed in the technical aspects of a show and to perceive it with technical glasses. Usually I’ve only ever come to a show as an actor, stepping on and over and through what technicians and carpenters and painters and designers fabricated around me. I’ve participated in taking apart a set, never in putting one up…

Oh my god…this set is going to have to come down at some point. This theater will become a blank slate again. It will be even more empty than it is now. I don’t know that I like thinking about that. Again, I’ve left characters behind, plenty of them, and I’ve had the chance to build their lives and craft their tendencies and play out their wants. However, I’ve had a hand (more like a finger) in putting this set together, this series of solid structures that relate and play with each other and tell stories of their own. It’s another concept altogether to consider breaking down something you helped build. Characters aside, tearing down this set is going to be sad, I’m calling it right now.

4:05 Blogging in real time is quite the exercise. I was called away to do Production Intern-y things. The theater is not so empty anymore. Instead of there being one or two bodies shuffling through there are now about eight.

4:15 Now 10, including the 3 chorus members up on the platform reviewing changes to the set. Mics are on, everyone’s voices have a hint of reverb floating underneath. I’ve stolen away to finish this post. Sound designer Martin is running through cues, actors are getting notes backstage, things are relatively calm.

4:35 Rehearsal is getting started in about 5 minutes. I’m wondering what it’s going to be like to watch the final product. At this point I’ve only seen scenes, but I want to leave myself an opportunity to be surprised. There have been some rewrites that I’ve kept myself ignorant about. I am definitely excited.

4:45 And they begin. Actors amusing themselves on stage, scene one going into scene two, the director and designers are figuring out how cues should be timed. And oh, hey, look at the time! I’m off! They’re going to try it again from the same spot and I’m going home!

James Haro is a Los Angeles native currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia, seeking his BS in Entertainment and Arts Management, Theatre Concentration. He co-operates a blog and produces/co-hosts the podcast ANGRY PATRONS RADIOEpisode #0.99 NOW UP! (Click here)


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