It is nearly midnight and I really should be in bed. In the last five days, I have put in nearly 30 hours of rehearsal with the Fort Dodge Senior High cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Since we started the rehearsal process, we have lost nearly 10 hours of rehearsal time to weather issues, conflicts with other major school events, etc. Needless to say, that makes for one very stressed theatrical director. Namely me! (And I have it on good authority that the vocal director – my friend Joe who, as the head of the choral department, is also the executive director – is a bit stressed as well!)
We open next Thursday which is still a little scary. But I am cautiously optimistic. The kids have worked hard to make up for lost time, coming into rehearsal early to clean messy choreography, putting in extra time with the vocal director to create some beautiful music and going back and doing complicated scenes “just one more time” As a result, the show has shown SERIOUS progress in just five days. We’ve still got lots of work to do and I will continue to push them hard. I believe they will rise to the challenge.
But they are already making me proud. There have been moments that made me laugh hard enough to cry. Other actors have given performances so real, so believable that I stopped watching like a director and simply got lost in the magic.
They have put up with the cranky version of me yelling at them to do it again and do it right.
They have made me laugh until I cry.
They have captivated my imagination.
They have given me goosebumps.
They’ve caused me to burst into spontaneous applause during rehearsal.
We have work yet to do. And I’m going to be pushing them to give me more than they think they are capable of.
Am I tired? Yep. Have I lost sleep? Oh yeah. Spent quite a bit of time tossing and turning, trying to figure out how to make up for lost time and give “my kids” the direction they need. Are the vocal director and I stressed? Of course! Have I spent more time in the theater than I have in my home? Almost! But there is no place I would rather be at this time of year than in the countdown to opening night with “my kids”.