Tonight is our third preview performance! So far so good: the audiences have been loving the show, and we are working out technical issues and making rewrites. This is the whole purpose of previews, and we are taking full advantage.
(photo by Jeff Carpenter photography)
Our book writer Joe can’t be with us until our opening on Friday – he had a prior commitment to be in La Jolla – so we’ve been rewriting using the following system: 1 - our director Lisa (usually along with others on the team) notices a problem area and tells me and Brendan about it after the show. 2 - we talk to Joe early the next day, and if it’s dialogue we send him our bad version of a rewrite. 3 - Joe fixes it and emails it to us. 4 - we slam the changes in, with full tech, in the afternoon and try them out that night. (Just to give a little perspective – SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK had 182 previews. We have 5.)
So Wade and I are in hyper-alert memorization overdrive mode. During the afternoon rehearsals, time is very limited and we have to get through Lisa’s work list, so we don’t get to practice the rewrites very repetitively. Often we’ve only done something brand new ONCE before performing it. It’s stressful, but in an exciting way because we know we’re improving and tightening the show with every one of these changes.
My blue and purple hair is significantly faded after only two washings! (No wonder more people don’t have hair like this; it is VERY high-maintenance.) The skin on my neck and chest is a little irritated from the temporary tattoos, and from the neck tape that keeps my mics and ear monitor in place. On my dressing room table is an array of: baby oil, cold cream, rubbing alcohol, hair spray, witch hazel, baby wipes, makeup remover, loofahs and washcloths as we figure out the best way to deal with the tattoo removal and skin issue. So far rubbing alcohol is the winner (though it’s kind of a Pyrrhic victory), and we may have to change out the tats nearly every day.
I look down at my left hand, and am surprised every time to see no wedding ring; I’ve taken it off for the show, since my character Kat is unmarried, and it’s hard to take it on and off so it’s just off for the whole SHACKLETON run. Between that and my hair and the tattoos, I’m presenting a different self to the world than I’m used to…and getting quite a bit of flirty attention from strangers.
Despite that I remain steadfastly devoted to my husband Brendan (who incidentally wrote the music to this show, in case you didn’t know). Of anyone here, he is perhaps channeling Shackleton the most. He rushes from grocery shopping, making meals, homeschooling our son (temporarily while we’re in Seattle), to troubleshooting the malfunctioning harmony box which I use on stage…and doing it all with a buoyant, Shackletonian grin.