Show week. We all both dread and look forward to it. Actors worry that they're not totally prepared. The backstage crew is training and springing to action. Equipment, sets, special effects, lighting, makeup, and costumes are all being added. More rehearsal time is required. Yep! It's crunch time.
Most often, I get the question, "What do I need to do?" Let me answer that to the best of my ability making generalizations to encompass everyone. First, know when you're supposed to be there. Special words like, "cast call" , "house opens", and "curtain call" seem unfamiliar to the first time thespian. You would have been given a calendar that tells you when you're supposed to arrive. Stick to that schedule and be on time. Your team of directors have worked tirelessly to orchestrate many people like a well oiled machine. If an actor isn't ready for run through because they've arrived late and they're still putting on makeup, then it is very likely that there are at least 35 other people waiting on that one person. Even crew members and show time volunteers need debriefing, instructions, set up time, sound checks, lighting cues written down, etc. There isn't one person involved in the production that doesn't need to arrive early.
Secondly, be present and aware. Whether you are at the merchandise table or your'e the lead actress in the show, inattention can cost the production big mistakes. Being late on a cue or forgetting a line causes dead air and pulls out the run time to be longer. Not having concessions ready to go can cause a long wait line and for some patrons to decide they didn't want a soda that badly. Long ticket lines cause patrons to become frustrated before the play ever begins. Long scene changes likewise mark a group as "amateur" or ill prepared. This means that everyone has to be paying full attention to the production and be giving full effort to their individual tasks for a show to run smoothly. Being on the cell phone or chatting with others sets off a ripple effect of mistakes that can effect an entire performance.
Lastly, do everything you can possibly do to arrive and perform in a positive mind frame. Participate in self care where you get enough hours of sleep, eat a healthy well balanced diet, calm your mind and surround yourself with positive vibes. Talk to others who encourage you and show up to be the encourager when you're in the theater. This burst of light may be the one thing that keeps others going on a day with two performances where the energy might be running low. Don't let personal drama, egos, frustration, or a small slight get in the way of you and everyone else having a great experience that you'll never forget!
Kristi Kargic is executive director for Footlights Community Theater based in Athens, AL. She is an elementary teacher with a lifelong love of performing arts. She strives to provide art in her home community at little to no cost to participants. Kristi is a published poet, playwright, and performing musician. Her motto is "if you build it, they will come."