Traversing Another Opening Night (“Heavier than…”)

This is the best part, it really is. This is the culmination, the last stroke. This is what the man hours were for, the ruined shoes, the sore muscles, the exhaustion and frustration. This is what the time was put toward, the money was spent on, the sweat was dripped for. People in their collared shirts, their nice shoes, their dresses and glasses and polished faces. The new programs, the clean seats, the refreshments, the small talk. The sturdy set, the naturally lived in lines, the surge toward end. The finished product. The world premiere. Everyone’s job, for the most part, was done.
Last Saturday I was lucky enough to attend yet another opening night. However, this one was different, this one was a little more special. It’s true, I am no more than a lowly Production Intern, and I can’t claim to have done more than a fraction of what was put into Heavier than…. However, more of me was a part of this production than what has previously been the case. I’ve helped stage dress, I’ve help paint sets, I’ve helped usher and do concessions. This time around I was given a role, I was given tasks to complete, I was given power tools. I know I must sound like a broken record because  I keep repeating this sentiment but it’s such a different show when you know you’ve done something to make it possible.
I took my 13 year old sister to opening night as my guest. We arrived at the theater at around 7:35. I introduced my sister to the Boston Court staff I’ve come to know these last 6 weeks, retrieved our tickets, and sat down and waited with her talking about the new Harry Potter movie and talking with fellow intern Emily once she arrived with her boyfriend. Then the doors opened. In no time we were all seated in the second row staring at the set we’d spent weeks walking all over. However, now there were actors on it, actors we had seen before, except they weren’t the same people we had watched in rehearsals, they were their characters, they were living in another world now. As the theater started to get filled I stood up and walked to the edge of the stage to give it another once over. I looked at the audience in the 99 seat venue and saw very familiar faces in suits and ties and blouses and dresses. I saw designers who spent countless hours playing around with tiny details that made a world of difference. I saw the director whose guidance steered the whole production to that precise moment. I saw the playwright whose words were the building blocks of this rock and metal universe that lived in front of us. I saw the Boston Court staff whose tireless dedication and support made the whole thing possible. And then I sat down, and I watched, and I waited, and was asked to turn my cellphone off though it had been off since I walked through the door. And then, the show began.
And then before I knew it the show ended. I was happy that I kept myself as ignorant about the play as I had. Of course I read it when I first arrived at Boston Court but there had been changes since the draft I read and of course reading something is much different than watching it lived on stage. In that regard I left myself room to be surprised. I didn’t know all the punchlines, I didn’t know all the plot lines, I hadn’t seen all the costumes or the props or the effects. As opening nights go, the play was extremely well executed and the cast, crew, artistic team and BC staff all deserved a piece of the applause.
And now the production is frozen, and will continue to run until it is over, and I sit here on Monday in the booth excited about the next production, A Dinosaur Within, wondering what I will get to work on for that show. In fact, I think after I finish this post I will re-read the script in the silence of the theater below me. What I keep learning from working in theater is that you’re always looking forward. Just today I was part of a conversation about how we can utilize unused materials from this production for the next one. I am also aware the plans for next season have already been discussed and put into action and I’ve seen the proposed calendars for next year. Theater is a business, folks, it doesn’t just happen. Ideas, proposals, plans, designs, compromises, execution, and then, with the labor of a lot of hands, opening night.
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 at and produces/co-hosts the podcast ANGRY PATRONS RADIOEpisode #…? NOW UP! (Click here) OR, subscribe to us on iTunes.

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