where we learn 8 x 8 is too big
by Crystle Reid
I always find the last week before I open a show very strange. It’s in this week that what I imagined the show to be meets what the show actually is. Sometimes there are a couple days where I’m tired and I find myself hating every piece of the show. Or cursing myself for taking on what seems to be an insurmountable project. As the director I have to keep these feelings entirely to myself, which can be very lonely. Fortunately once the show is running I usually find myself loving it again. Sometimes I am struck with how truly ridiculous a life in the theatre is. For example when I find my self somberly stating, “we have to remember that right now you’re an octopus, or “can someone help me get the pony up the stairs please?” To add to all this craziness this is the exact week I need to be talking about how awesome the show is to every person I meet.
In the case of Alice it’s been a very crazy ride. It’s been unusual for me. I haven’t found myself hating the show. Quite the opposite: every rehearsal I fall a little bit more in love. I’m also usually really nervous. Again I’m just not having those feelings for Alice. I guess there is part of me that’s nervous I’m not nervous. I’ve been pleased with the end result of shows in the past where I’ve had those feelings of nervousness, fatigue and hate at some point in the process. Without them will I still be happy with our final product? I believe so. Honestly I haven’t had too much time to ponder it.
I have certainly been cursing myself a bit for choosing this show. Don’t get me wrong it’s an excellent show. It just has a lot of set, props, costume and little bits to worry about, and two 8’ x 8’ screens. It turns out that 8’ x 8’ is exactly the wrong size just by few inches to fit through most doorframes. 8’ x 8’ also doesn’t fit in a cube van, again just by a few inches. I find myself on my “days off” working on a dance number in a lobster costume while nearby fellow artists paint a turtle shell and fiddle with the octopus arms. My living room is littered with cow costumes, mouse tails, weapons made of playing cards, and a three legged conjoined twin puppet among other things. It’s certainly the opposite of daily routine. And for that I am incredibly grateful. Each day has new and uncharted challenge.
This is also the week where the performers actually get to inhabit a complete universe. This brings a very special energy to the piece. Watching our full run last night I was so excited! Each performer has so many different and equally hilarious characters fully developed. I find myself laughing hysterically at new discoveries and old jokes. There is no question that the performances are spectacular. I’m so excited for an audience’s reaction! Now if we can just get our 8’ x 8’ screens through the door of the theatre.....To find out if we succeed treat yourself to Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland at the Montreal Fringe.