We only have a handful of performances of Side Man left, and that is always a bittersweet feeling. In most storefront theatre, you get just around a month of performances, maybe a little more, sometimes less, to sink into a show, to get really comfortable and solid with all the elements, and get to let loose and play. For the first weekend or two, oftentimes (and this was true for Side Man), my focus is split between the acting/character work, and all the other backstage business.
In Side Man, for instance, I start the show in partial old age make up and graying hair, then after my first scene, I race to the dressing room, change makeup, brush the gray out, take off a layer of costume, add heels, and rush back down to the stage to make my next entrance. The whole show is like that; rush offstage, quick change, run around to another entrance, grab a prop, and then, if you’re lucky, you take a moment to think about the acting. Because the show jumps forward and back in time, often moving from one scene to the next, this can be tricky.
All the prep work we did back in rehearsal helps, but it’s just now…now that we are almost closed, that all that other backstage business has settled into muscle memory, and you can really turn your attention to the work on stage in a new and exciting way. This is not to say that our acting in the first weekend was subpar, it wasn’t! It’s just that something magical can happen over time, and I think this weekend, our final few shows will be very special.
By Suzanne Miller
Playing Terry in Side Man