“This too shall pass” was probably the phrase I heard the most from my mom when I was growing up, closely followed by “Try me”, which is entirely different blog! She said this when things went really rough, when I was studying a lot or when the general pressures of high school just got me down. And as she said, it goes for the bad as well as the good. And so it is with a production. No matter how long you have a run, no matter how long you work on a show, from the beginning you know that you will have that last show. Sometimes you’re quite thankful for it, but you know it will never be the same again. It will never be the same cast, the same place, the same audience, the same mistakes, or that line that you keep messing up and eventually get it right on the last show.
Just before our final show for CHASING, at the Krekvars Festival, one of my fellow cast members said that she had had such a feeling of gratefulness during the last performance of the previous show she had worked on while being on stage. And standing in the wing, waiting for the audience to come in for what we knew was going to be a full house I had that exact same feeling.
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I had survived Krekvars. I had climbed on ladders to put up posters of KNEES, I had marketed to everyone person on my path. Between Spotlights blowing and suddenly replotting the lights for KNEES 20 minutes before curtain up (only to see a fixed spotlight after our last performance in another theatre), between microphones suddenly not working halfway through a performance of SUIKERBOSSIE and cast members forgetting their words. Through the room divider in KNEES falling over halfway through my very emotional monologue and falling over a prop left in the wing. Through the salt burns on my feet, the corns on my toes from turning and turning and how the choreography of CHASING will always remind me of the smell of peppermint because of the transact plasters I had to wear to get through the performances on an injured knee. Through messing base on my dress 5 minutes before I have to go on stage, rehearsals which sometimes had me in stitches, sometimes in tears and sometimes in fits of anger clouds of curses Krekvars was almost over for me.
What makes live theatre so interesting is because it is live. Our director for CHASING, Nicola Haskins, would often say to us “Guys, it’s live theatre. Somebody is going to make a mistake somewhere”. And that’s the beauty of it. Never again will there be a moment exactly like this in time. It’s not like film where you can watch it over and over again. Each performance is unique and special.
I remember having the most surreal monologues in my head when I was dancing in competitions. Halfway through a dance, or a routine, I would find myself thinking that it was so odd that I had prepared for months and months and hours on end for these few minutes on stage. All this hard work went into these few seconds, which would be over before I know it and so much was at stake. In this little fraction of my life so much could be made or broken. And it, too, would pass. I had a similar feeling on stage when I performed in THREE WALL TEMPLE the first time I was in Grahamstown. I spent about 5 minutes during the show lying onstage with my back to the audience, and every time I lay there I would think about how amazing it was to be on stage, and I would think about how, in 30 minutes or so it would be over. I would be in the dressing room, taking off my costume and washing off my makeup and carrying on with the rest of my life. And I would try to hold on to that moment in time that I was on stage before I started dancing again and I had to concentrate on what I was doing.
Back to the moment before I stepped on to stage for CHASING all these ideas where spinning through my head. On the last show we abandoned our usual strict group focus and just jumped around in our circle holding hands to the Chris Chameleon pre-show music that was playing while the audience was walking in. I knew it was going to be an amazing show.
I think one of the sweetest moments was when one of the male cast members of SUIKERBOSSIE for who this production was his first, came and said goodbye after the final run of the show. I noticed his eyes were red, but I didn't say anything. His friend noticed and said loud enough for the auditorium to hear "Dude, are you crying?". This had me in tears. Even though the show was finished, I told him that it didn't mean that the friendships he had created in the cast were nos finished too.
And now, this Monday morning, Krekvars has passed. In the words of Ingrid Jonker that we said in CHASING “Alles wat breek, val of eindig” (Everything that breaks, falls or ends). Krekvars has come to pass. And if I’ll be here again next year I don’t know. But this year, I was on stage, and I have moments that I can hold on to.