The night before the night before dress rehearsal I must admit I thought the show was doomed.
I met with Greg at about 6pm before any of the actors had started showing up and he and I sat in the middle of the theater while he worked thru light cues. I could tell tensions were high. He led with, “Dave, remember life is a series of compromises…”
A few minutes later costumed actors started taking the stage in funky Elton Johnesque green pants, rainbow coats and sonic green wigs. I sat thru the walk thru of actors taking their marks and mumbling their lines. It was as if a cardboard doubles of the original cardboard Al Gore had possessed the entire cast.
Two days till dress rehearsal and there were still seemingly hundreds of little decisions to be made. Michael was still tinkering with the music. The Overture had become this metallic amalgam of new themes light on piano and heavy on guitar. I couldn’t believe that the show had somehow spun so far off our original concept, that after all these years of waiting and trying to hold this thing together the dark side had taken over.
The cast and crew worked the ins and outs of the show as a walk thru. “Who’s supposed to strike this table? Where do I put the fire thing? When’s the fire guy coming with the flame? This is Pandora’s box? How does it open?” I am not kidding, these are real questions from real cast members three days before opening.
The walk thru was for transitions only, so the music would start with the crescendos and fade to the end of the song and the cast and crew would descend on the set and make the moves. The mechanics of the show floated by and all I could see everywhere I looked were these crazy green wigs. It was like a Dr. Suesian nightmare. Thing One and Thing Two on steroids were multiplying and taking over my show.
Tuesday night was like being a father and having a wonderful magical bright eyed sweet daughter and then sending her off to school. Tragedy strikes and you are unable to get back to her or get her home again. So for years you hold on to this enchanted vision of your little girl. Finally, years later the moment comes when fortune has at last returned and you at last are going to meet your little girl again for the first time in all these hopeful years. And in she walks with green hair and screaming guitars, and though you try to love her you are just so dumb founded you can’t feel anything except a bewildered awkward resentment for your daughter and for the hope that led you along and then cheated you out of this moment.
It was awful. All the hope for this beautiful child of a dream that I have been nurturing for all of these years melted from my soul and the hollowness was terrifying. I called Suzi and told her the show was awful and that she still had to come, but not to expect much. I have 40+ friends flying in from all sorts of places to see the show and I was embarrassed to think that they were coming to see this “World Premier” and it was going to be a disaster. Honestly, I was devastated. That the green people had taken over.
You may laugh at this now… I can laugh at this now, but it was absolutely terrifying at the time. Greg’s final words that night as he and Michael and I parted after a rather tense and abrupt parting was, “Hey, it’s only Tuesday.”