Sunday, 30 June 2013

Going Grahamstown: Old hat, new mittons!

Today marked our first performance of As Night Falls at the  National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Tomorrow marks our first performance of  Chasing, and two days ago we performed at Smithfield for the Platteland Preview. The day before that too.

This is the fourth year I`m performing in Grahamstown, and even though some things are old hat, each brings something new, but this year marks many firsts. This year is the first time that I am performing in two shows at Festival (Or Fest, as the locals and regulars call it), it is also the first time that our director is not here, the first time that we performed on our way down to Grahamstown, the first time we didn`t sleep over in Colesburg. The first time we had preview performances in Pretoria as well, and the first time we had to raise funds to buy costumes and props and have money for our S and T.

But, it is also the first time our first performance had an audience of over 80, and when you are relatively unknown and performing on the Fringe and audience bigger than our cast of 8 is something to be proud of. Especially considering how or technical rehearsals went. Our technical rehearsal for As Night Falls was scheduled for 23:30 to 01:00 last night to this morning. Upon arrival at the theatre the LED lights (which provide much needed colour and atmosphere for a dance show) were not working. Someone was sent to replace the cable. The lights also decided to replot themselves half through the process, and our cast and technical people struggled on until our lighting states were planned, lit and recorded into the lighting board. Which meant that we left the theatre this morning at 02:00 and were all up again at 07:00 to get ready for our 10:00 performance today.

And yet, considering Smithfield, we can`t complain too much.

Performing at Smithfield was interesting, as the small town was not particularly equipped for a dance show. Performing on a slippery, raked stage, we skated more than danced the first night, and despite  our efforts again the second  night. Instead of running, and `chasing` each other across our makeshift stage, we...walked with great energy and intention. 

And tomorrow morning I will arise again at 06:30 to perform at 10:00 (Chasing requires me to wash my hair before the show), and again at 14:00. Tomorrow evening I will be bruised, I will disinfect the multiple burns on my feet, I will laugh with my cast members about the mistakes we made, wondering if the audience noticed. We will joke about an audience member walking out of the show or arriving late. We will complain about the mistakes the technical team made, and I will be happy. Happy and excited to perform again the next day. Cause this is what we aim to do. To perform.

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