For better or worse

Although i’ve abandoned my personal theatrical pursuits, i still try to support friends active on the stage.  Chasing this show or that, i have generally been delightfully surprised with high quality performances in our local community theater community.

Today?  i knew it would be challenging… Not a show of great interest*, i had a couple friends on the stage – including one friend who had one of his first leading roles.  Word on the street was that “there are issues”… 

Snagging two of my Tuesday night drinking buddies, i booked three seats.  RJak and BS are relative newcomers to the local theater community, but have been enthusiastic supporters.  Over the past year, they’ve had the opportunity to see many fine shows, and were looking forward to yet another theater outing. 

i e-mailed them yesterday, strongly suggesting that we “pre-game” with a few drinks at my place before the 3:00 pm matinee.  RJak phoned to say she was running late – i told her i’d prepare her a flask with gin and tonic.  BS arrived in time to have a beer, and i was slamming bourbon when he got here…

As we were leaving, i offered to smuggle in an extra beer for BS – he declined.  Silly, silly BS.

When the curtain closed after an hour an 20 minute long Act I, we grabbed cookies from the lobby and escaped to the parking lot for fresh air and cigarettes**.  We worked hard at finding the bright spots – and there were a few.  A few “Family Groups” were performing together – on-stage and behind the scenes.  That always makes me happy.  Our friend was doing a nice job with his performance.

BS:  That was pretty painful.  Would it be rude to leave? (as we watched one minivan full of patrons skulk from the parking lot)

RJak (draining flask):  We could come back in an hour and just greet the cast in the lobby.  Maybe they wouldn’t notice?  Nice bar across the street…

daisyfae:  Ugh.  No.  We have to suck it up.

BS:  Really wish I’d taken you up on that smuggled beer.

We scarfed a couple more cookies as we made the death march back into the theater for Act II.  The performers were giving it their best.  The show had moments of “cute”.  Sets were fine, band was ok, some nice harmonies in a few songs.  Act II was mercifully short – well, less than an hour.

i’ve been in shows like that.  i know how it feels to be there – trying your damndest to make it work and knowing it’s hopeless.  You still try.  Weeks of rehearsals, set construction, practice.  These folks worked hard – and seemed to be having fun.   And i guess that’s the point… 

Sadly, it takes just as much effort to put on a bad show as it does to put on a good one… The next time you are staring down the barrel of two-hours of “Ouch”?  Don’t forget to pack the anesthesia.

“You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”

* i tried to sink this one when i was on the play reading committee.  i failed…

** BS pointed out the ‘logic failure’ in this, as he sneered at the home made clove cigarettes proferred by RJak.