Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 18, 2011 at 12:47pm

The next stage

Christian Carvajal's view from the wings of a typical "Frost/Nixon" rehearsal at Tacoma Little Theatre.

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A CRITIC ON THE BOARDS >>>

For thousands of nights, since I was seven years old, this has been my milieu.

Above is the view from the wings of a typical Frost/Nixon rehearsal at Tacoma Little Theatre. Notice I'm not sitting in the house waiting to critique the show; I'm a member of the cast. It's my first time working with TLT, but I couldn't tell you how many troupes there have been over the years, and the view almost always looks like this. It's always hurry up and wait. Actors are juiced on coffee and bravado; techies are slurry from lack of sleep. There's the usual backstage rumor mill, inevitably more inflammatory and entertaining than the truth. There are sweet, pretty girls and pop-nerdy boys. There's the murmur of lines being run while flirtations are attempted and sometimes achieved. And as the days tick off the calendar in the run-up to opening night, the cast and crew can tell from the exhaustion level of the director whether it's a good show or not. If the director can barely stand, it means every nuance has been addressed and the show has a chance of success. If he or she seems rested and cocky, say your prayers to Dionysus, 'cause the wings are on fire and we're going down fast.

Our director, by the way, is clearly running on fumes.

As I write this, we're hours away from our final dress rehearsal, which will also be a free preview performance. There'll be guests in the house, probably several. My girlfriend is coming. So is her family. Effectively speaking, the show starts tonight.
After our director's notes last night, I snapped a picture of the stage.

Doesn't look like much, does it? And it won't, till those pesky screens light up and that bare platform is swarmed by moving bodies. I'm in no way concerned about our Frost (James A. Gilletti) or our Nixon (Steve Tarry). I'm not even worried about me, frankly. I'm worried about you. Will you come? Will the show make money? I know TLT could use it. Will fellow Volcano critic Joe Izenman like it? You'll know the moment I do, when his review goes online next Wednesday or Thursday.

It's a hassle. Acting can eat your life if you let it, and it obviously gets in the way of my critiquing schedule, which costs me money and costs other companies reviews. But I love it. I can't give this up, no matter how much I try. It's in my DNA, right next to the cytosine and thymine. As I look at that bare stage, I wonder: What'll I do to help fill the next one?

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma, Theater,

Comments for "The next stage " (1)

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Christopher Wood said on Jan. 20, 2011 at 1:06pm

Sounds like an exciting show. The last TLT I went to was Camelot years ago, a magnificent revolving stage was the part I remember mostly clearly. How long is Frost playing? I hope to make it...good luck, Christian!

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