When offered the chance for a one-off performance at a locally important-ish Christmas event, The Other Company* jumped at it. The venue is good, and the event usually well attended, and they had on the back burner these two small Christmas things of mine: a ten-minute-two-people thing, and a small one-act play… And there was plenty of time to work on them.
So they eagerly accepted, full of confidence that, hey, what could possibly go wrong?
And indeed, I couldn’t point out the moment when everything started to go pear-shaped, but blimey!
Just imagine: our leading lady has been missing rehearsal after rehearsal, our leading man entered his tantrum-throwing phase on Wednesday, our ingénue caught a monster cold, and has no voice left, we can’t have a dress rehearsal at the theatre on Friday – and we are to play Saturday night.
If all of this weren’t enough, yesterday we should have had our make-shift not-quite-dress rehearsal. We were scheduled for half past six in the afternoon, then delayed an hour, then we had to wait while the local kindergarten children were persuaded to relinquish the stage after their Christmas pantomime, then we were informed that we could not have the stage after all, but a rehearsal room was at our disposal – provided we were quick about it, as others would need it later. So we hauled our (thankfully minimal) scenery and props to the Arctic-cold rehearsal room, and worked in a very jittery fashion for, perhaps, an hour and a half, before the local boys’ choir evicted us – because they had to rehearse, didn’t we know, and the children couldn’t be kept waiting**…
It seems we have landed smack in the middle of some feud or other inside the Town Council – a feud we have no part in or knowledge of – and forty hours away from curtain-up, whenever I think of Saturday, I want to hyperventilate.
What’s more, the leading lady is currently out of town, and supposed to catch a late train home at some time tomorrow evening. If, for some reason, she shouldn’t manage, she’ll be caught in the quagmire of a railways strike… Which means no one knows at what time we can expect her back Friday night.
What’s even more, the already far-from-well ingénue, caught some more cold tonight, and went home with a very sore throat, and an aching ear…
And I don’t want to go imagining what else could go wrong, but I’m sure plenty more can. And will, if these last days are anything to go by.
So, while I know that this onslaught of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster is the natural condition of theatre… well, I am frankly terrified. This time I have very little faith that everything will turn out well. This time we are marching towards unqualified disaster. This time we are all dooooomed.
Unless, perhaps… Who knows, the leading lady might be stranded out of town. Or the poor ingénue might develop a temperature… We have no understudy for either, and we’d be forced to excuse ourselves.
See? We are doooomed. Frankly, how bad must it be that either the strike, or the flu, or both, right now look so very much like the only road to salvation?
* Still the bunch with the Centipede, although the Centipede is long gone.
** And I could point out that for the children the did turn on the heating.