Opening Night


hursday, August 2, 2007

It’s here. The opening night. They call it “Press Night” here which gives way too much power to a group of people that we must not think about today. There is no call in the morning! Yippee. A chance to sleep in, and putter around writing opening night cards, and ironing dresses, and shaving legs and armpits. That kind of morning.

At noon, my parents came across the river on the Ferry right to my doorstep and we went to the Courtyard to check email. Peter Hinton sent us the most amazing message:

“There is no such thing as an opening night.
Not really.
Just another performance in the never ending conundrum we call process.
Everyone comes to the theatre actually wanting it to be good.
Wanting it to be right.
And yet we all know that there is no right or wrong only the daring of the attempt…
This is a once in lifetime experience – so why not resist the obvious and go all the way. Let go of what you fear and embrace all you have and know and are yet to learn.
Move the public by your daring not by a need for their approval.
Because you have everything to lose makes it so worthwhile.
To excuse daring by nerves is not to honour what you are trying to achieve.
Y’all are in the drivers seat.
It’s never ultimately about where you are going – but rather how you can get there.
Be brave.
Be strong.
Be yourselves.”

Thank you Peter. Thank you for your support, and for your consuming love for the theatre. We soooo need people like you. What a great leader. How we wish you were here with us tonight. Ah well. You are on your own Odyssey in Stratford, Ontario. And we wish you a parallel voyage of discovery.

Other wishes from home were greatly appreciated as well. It’s hard when you’re away from your usual system of support. Hard for Jenny to be away from her boyfriend Gord. Hard for Pam to be away from her family, and her father who cannot travel. But we feel the well wishes, and we are so grateful.

We had a short afternoon call. Josette gave us some parting wisdom. She knows the show will grow, but encourages us to keep the integrity of what we have worked towards. I cannot speak highly enough of my regard for this woman, and what she has given to this piece. A few quick spacing things, a little fight review, and we were off.

So many cards, chocolates, fruit. Faxes and messages posted on the call board. Anxious preparations backstage: a little something to eat, an attempt at lying down and at least breathing, if not sleeping. A great warm-up with Charmion and Mike. And while we were preparing, a reception was being held by the High Commission. (My mom and dad enjoyed chatting with lots of folks there!) Then we gave our Penelopiad. I don’t know what to say really. I think we all took a step forward with the play, which is an excellent accomplishment for an opening night. And the people who were gathered responded, and seemed to follow us on a journey from Sparta to Hades with many stops in between. These nights are somewhat surreal, and not terribly well marked in the memory.

The Backstage Crossover

Somehow the adrenaline works as an eraser. So before we knew it we were in The Dirty Duck for drinks and a barbeque and receiving words of praise and gratitude from the many supporters from both England and Canada, and beyond.

We did it. Such hard work that has built steadily to this day. And now it has happened. And the crazy thing is… tomorrow is another day.

But before that, dancing into the night to let off a little steam.


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