I suppose I ought to be used to this by now, after close on forty years of doing theatre with young people. I used the roller-coaster metaphor last week, so let’s see: highs and lows, peaks and troughs, elation and despair. To clarify, when you are preparing a production with the young, one minute you see glimpses of wonder, the next you are convinced you have an absolute disaster on your hands.
On Tuesday, half my cast – the girls – were missing from the rehearsal. The swim program had begun, so they were 10 kms up the coast, and I had had no warning so had to re-think on the spot. I do understand the problem: with volunteers arriving all the time, introducing their own enthusiasms (which inevitably disrupt whatever schedule existed before), and then leaving again, leaving a hole to be filled, this is bound to happen. I am just another one of those disruptive influences, so can hardly complain. But it did make for a difficult rehearsal. There are just two short scenes which have only boys, and once we had rehearsed them… we played zip zap boing.
On Wednesday, things turned around 180 degrees. I had already been told that Cecilia and Carol, from the REAL group, would be there, but when they were absent at the beginni9ng, I carried on with my original plan of working through the difficult final trial scene. So by the time they arrived – parking problems – we had that scene ready to be seen (after a fashion). They were suitably impressed, and told the cast so, which was good for morale (mine too.)
Next day, we returned to the beginning of the play, and the cast appeared to have forgotten everything we had done. They were late, which made me fractious, and we also had Michele and Michelle from the swim team to watch. Humph. Still, we had another rehearsal in the evening – our first such venture, held to allow James and Iman, who would be adding accordion and guitar to the show, a chance to see it and try out some ideas. The cast were all there, they were on time, and the rehearsal ideas we had worked on had stuck.
So, at the end of another yo-yo week (another metaphor!) I am reasonably positive. Enough went wrong (and then some) for no-one to feel complacent; but enough went right (including the music!) to show that maybe, just maybe, it will be all right on the night.