I’ve never been what you would call an optimist. As a child, I worried myself sick over things that were out of my control. During my adolescence, I developed a robust cynicism that I’ve spent years trying to temper. Still, I’ve come to realize that I harbor a near-blind faith in something called “Theatre Magic.”
The theology of the stage is fascinating. Considering that we dramatic types consider it bad luck to be wished “good luck,” and that many of us believe that the mere utterance of the name “Macbeth” inside a theatre is roughly akin to building a house over top of an Indian burial ground, there’s an odd sort of disconnect to the notion of Theatre Magic. As I understand it, this is a pie-in-the-sky sort of sense that no matter how rocky the rehearsal process, no matter how unprepared things may seem at a relatively late date, everything will work out just fine in the end.
As you may have learned from our fearless editor’s generous plug, I recently acted in “The Frustrations of Stoker Pratt,” a comedy that premiered as part of the Capital Fringe Festival. In the weeks leading up to opening night, I found myself wracked with uncertainty. Our short rehearsal period was further condensed by the pursuits of summer: The director was caught off-guard by a family vacation, which put everything on hold for two weeks. As soon as he returned, I had to leave on a pre-planned, weeklong beach vacation. Upon my return, fellow cast member Mikey departed for his own week at the beach. To further complicate matters, one actress had to bow out altogether due to schedule conflicts. Her replacement ended up with only two weeks to memorize her lines and learn her cues.
I personally had a lot riding on the success of this show. It was the first full-fledged production of Zero Hour Theatre, I troupe that I had some part in founding. We’re all learning from the ground up, so in addition to my worries about missed cues or mixed-up dialogue, I was preoccupied with a belated fundraising campaign and fears of sparsely attended shows. Eventually, I tamped down my doubts and handed myself over to Theatre Magic.
I’m pleased to say that the show exceeded my expectations on all counts. There were no major acting mishaps, we had significant and enthusiastic crowds for all five dates (including two sellouts!), and we even got a very favorable review from DC Theatre Scene. When it comes right down to it, our success was most likely due to a talented cast and crew that took things seriously.
But Theatre Magic sure doesn’t hurt.
From the eds: By the way, Crunchable contributing editor Steve Spotswood‘s plays at the Capital Fringe Festival also received glowing reviews from DC Theatre Scene: “Born Normal” and “Gilgamesh, Who Saw the Deep.”