A Word Premiere Experience by Scott Lange
It feels like yesterday, and also a decade ago. In January and February of 2020 Pigeon Creek was
rehearsing and performing our touring performance of “She Stoops to Conquer.” That was the last time I
was in rehearsal with a full touring production. Since that time, we’ve done a few stand alone
performances. I can probably count on one hand (with maybe some help from a second?) how many times
I’ve gotten to perform since then. We’ve done a few radio plays, video-recorded readings of new plays, a
few outdoor performances (with masks) and now, here we are!
There’s a lot of pressure that one feels having not done “the thing” in that long. One of our
running jokes is “does anyone remember how to act?” But to a certain extent it is true! Acting is a skill just
like cooking, sewing, or playing an instrument. If you don’t use it, your adeptness at it can diminish.
Memorizing lines is one thing to worry about. Your memory is a muscle, and I’ve heard from a LOT of
actors who have said that’s one of the hardest things about coming back into rehearsals and performances.
They just can’t retain their lines as easily as they think they should. So far, mine seem to be sticking ok.
But we’ll see how it goes!
Our production of “Blue-Eyed Hag” is what we call “ensemble directed.” This means that we
don’t have a single outside director; but that all cast members are responsible for setting the staging,
helping each other with character development, and a thousand other considerations. Dealing with a large
group-think can be difficult even in the best of times. How would an ensemble directed cast handle itself
after a few years of stress, and a few years out of practice. I didn’t need to worry. This whole cast, to a
person, is supremely talented, professional, and considerate. Everyone is a fan of everyone else. We all
want the play to succeed and for everyone else to put on their very best performances.
There’s one more high pressure issue with this play. It’s a NEW work! The playwright is still
alive. If we do something silly like perform Macbeth with Scottish accents; (p.s. no one has let me do this
yet, by the way. Send angry letters.) Shakespeare doesn’t really care one way or another. But Jim Lair
Beard may very well see the production at some point. We’ve got to get all the words right, tell the story
truthfully, and hopefully put on a production that lives up to his vision.
There is a lot to consider putting on our first fully touring production in over two years.
Thankfully I’ve got a great set of folks around me to put it all together.