Three of these guys have taken my class. That makes me smiley.
Honestly, I've had mixed feelings about South Pacific. It's an "old time" musical, one that has a long first act and a long second act, and repetition to ensure that the songs are firmly etched in your grey matter when you leave the theatre. (I can testify, having awoken this morning to my brain singing, "I'm bromidic and bright as a moon-happy night, pourin' light on the dew!" as the soundtrack to some COMPLETELY inappropriate dreams. Stupid subconscious.)
bro·mid·ic – adjective
pertaining or proper to a platitude; being a bromide; trite.
Huh. You learn something new every day.
Anyway, something really amazing happens during hell week of a musical. When you've got a cast this big (35 members?) you rehearse in bits and pieces; you feel disjointed and out of the loop, where you're actually introducing yourself to fellow cast members a couple of days before final dress. It isn't like a straight play (my first love) where nine times out of ten you spend six weeks becoming a family, an ensemble, seeing them every day, where they become ingrained as a part of your life.
But if everything goes well, and the planets align, and you hold your mouth just right, a group of 35 people from every different walk of life imaginable (doctors, students, small business owners, housewives, postal carriers, teachers, ministers) become a cohesive group in a very short amount of time. Even if there is nothing else in our lives in common, we have the art of live theatre to tie us together. The amazing thing? It's more than enough to do it.
And I know this sounds ridiculous and redundant, but performing in front of a live audience is still one of the most gratifying thing I've ever experienced. You get immediate approval, response and completion of a circle. You perform, they respond, you up your game a notch. It's a living, breathing, organically wonderful process that, if done well, grows into something marvelous by the end of the evening.
And even if that weren't enough to make me love it, having elderly gentlemen, the ones that are my grandparents' age, who actually served during World War II, to have them come through the receiving line with tears in their eyes saying that we did a fantastic job and that they enjoyed themselves while reliving memories, both bittersweet and wonderful, makes it enough. To touch people, to become a part of their history, even if only for a brief moment in time, makes it all worthwhile.
Come see South Pacific. It runs weekends September 16 - October 3. I don't think you'll be disappointed.