It’s the morning after the last performance of Big River. I’m in that post performance daze where it seems hard to believe that 6 months of work is over.
There were many new experiences and challenges working on this project, but the stand out thing was the people I worked with. I was incredibly impressed by the director, stage manager, and the production team. It made such a difference working with people who had a strong vision for the show and were competent in facilitating that. I loved how the cast worked together. We had a story to tell and everyone helped each other tell it. There was a lot of love and support and a real feeling that we wanted each other to succeed and perform to the best of our ability. It was also a joy working with the incredibly talented musicians.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed working with costume and wardrobe. My sewing skills are basic, but I did manage to make my own costumes and some other pieces. I discovered that ironing costumes in the theatre before the rest of the cast arrived really helped with the anxiety I feel before performing. Actually, all the costume work did. Having cast members come to me because they had lost their hat or their apron gave me something to think about other than the fact that I was going to have to perform in front of an audience. I don’t do well if I have to sit still.
Acting with an American accent was a challenge. I have no idea if I was any good at it, but I tried. One of my friends who came to see the show appeared stunned by my performance saying that they had no idea who that woman was on the stage, but she wasn’t me. I’m going to take that as a compliment as I’m not an old, American, shrewish spinster.
Photo of “Do Ya Wanna Go to Heaven”, by Teruaku Ito
It was the first time I was involved in dramaturgy as I wrote a short piece on the historical context of the play for the program. I didn’t know what the word “dramaturgy” meant when I was first asked to do this, but I was happy to try and I did enjoy researching the history of the 1840s in America.
So for now I will find a place to keep all the lovely notes and mementos I received and I’ll take a break from theatre. It may be the end of my journey down the river, but it’s much too soon to know which parts of my own journey are only beginning.