I was going to blog about this last week, but Mr. Feels Sad resigned from the Englert and that took up most of my words. As regular readers are aware, I was directing a show for the Young Footliters. That show, David Mamet’s The Poet and the Rent, went up the first weekend of March. We had three performances: Friday, March 4; Saturday, March 5; and Sunday, March 6.
Now, if you had talked to me a week before the show (say at poker on Saturday, February 26) you would know that I was fed up. I was not liking the experience and was desperately wanting it to be over. The main problem was the lack of focus the kids had. We really could only rehearse for about an hour each night before they completely lost it and turned into a pack of wildings. My initial hope about the quality of the production was rapidly disappearing.
Then a funny thing happened. We built the set that Saturday, though we did not rehearse. We didn’t rehears again until Monday, when we were on set in costumes with full props. In a word? Magic.
I don’t know if it was getting into costumes, or getting on the set, or working the props. Doesn’t matter. What was a generally unruly pack of kids turned into focused actors and actresses working hard on their performances. Every night that week the show improved. It continued that way through the last performances. Oh sure, there were moments when things got out of hand. But they were few. By and large, the kids were great, and at the end I told Footliters I would gladly direct for them again.
One of the greatest pleasures was seeing how, when all was said and done, I actually seemed to have had an impact on some of their lives. Oh, nothing dramatic. (Heh. Dramatic.) But they seemed to enjoy working with me as much as I enjoyed working with them. I had several newcomers, all of whom came through and gave great first performances. I had a couple of regulars that I was able to work out some nice comedic bits with. And I had two kids, one who was the biggest troublemaker, one who was a consummate pro, give great performances.
It was a good show. I’m definitely proud of it, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to say that. I want to do it again, and I was sure I wasn’t going to say that.