Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Hell Week From Hell

I always used to wonder what would happen if one of my family members died during the final week of a production. unfortunately, I found out this week. My father, who was one of the kindness most considerate people, seemed to extend that to his passing. He died during the summer and it seemed, in retrospect very convenient for everyone. All relatives, I thought, should pass away during vacations when we can take our leisurely time to mourn. I always new that that circumstance was the exception not the rule. I have gone through the deaths of many friends and aquaintances and relatives of friends in the last three months, so my Mom's passing last Sunday, was the culmination of a really depressing autumn. So, Mom passed away on the weekend before the opening of our annual Shakespeare play. But what happened to the show?

Well, miracles and angels it seems. While I was making final arrangements and saying final farewells, my students and friends, colleagues and admistrators were filling in, helping out and stepping up. Rehearsals were held, tech was continued and work progressed. I chose to return on Wednesday evening, even though the funeral was held that morning. "The show must go on" and all that stuff, I suppose. But also, because my mother would always say, from her healthiest moments to her final week in the hospital: " Go. You do what you gotta do. I'll be here. I'm not going anywhere." So, I returned to work and rehearsals, to find a truly dedicated and hard working group of people.
Tonight was opening night. We made it. A half hour late, but so what, that had happened under much more optimal conditions in the past. Running time was within the confines of the show that we expected. The result? Pleasing to the audience and pleasing to me because the structure of the show and the basic bones, as it were, are there. The focus, effort and commitment are there. The students, without exception, from the box office to the backstage followed thru and executed 100%. They really rose to the occassion and proved to me that they really have learned something in Drama.
Now, its up to me to complete my contribution. The students have been doing all this hard work without benefit of directorial feedback and guidance. Scenes still need work, characters still need development, but all that comes from the director's feedback and the in which to execute the necessary changes. I will now begin to contribute my final share of the workload. It won't be easy, and it may not be kind but I expect and hope that in a follow up blog, I can report a more than successful final product.
My mom was always proud of the work that I did on shows. She always appreciated the hard work that students put into the productions and enjoyed the energy and delight that came from student performances.
I know thats she is proud of the effort on this one because, I know I am.
Bravo, On Tour and thank you.

Now, let's really do it right.

Sal

8 comments:

Eli said...

Cool, there's an On Tour blog. I didn't know about it until I realized that the Director's Letter was a blog post.

Here's my take on it, as an audience member/alumnus: from watching the show, it wasn't obvious that there had been a particularly difficult Hell Week. I quite enjoyed Friday night. (things were missing, of course, but what can you do).

I won't be coming next weekend (Spamalot tickets!), so I'll wish On Tour a good second set of performances.

Spencer said...

mr salerno!!! nice blog! TOTS is amazing and we owe it to you!

Anonymous said...

sal i'm gonna die! put up the lists already!

Anonymous said...

Second! :) btw, this be molleh :)

Anonymous said...

Happy thanksgiving sal! :)

Anonymous said...

Now when you say Sunday, what time frame are we dealing with?

Anonymous said...

lol update plz

Susan said...

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