Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Olelucia - the Start of a Holiday Tradition

Photo courtesy of John McAfee

On November 30th, I woke up, stared at the ceiling, and and thought to myself, "Tonight is Opening Night.  This is the biggest thing I have ever undertaken".   

An hour later, the phone rang.   It was my mom, calling to wish me a happy birthday.   I had completely forgotten about that!

There is so much that went into this show, that the average theater-goer never, ever dreams of.    Malita and I sat down and wrote out our first outline of a holiday show, over a year earlier, in November 2011.  We decided upon the characters that we wanted, who should play them, what dances we would perform, who would dance them.   There is one lead character in this show that was entirely an accident - we needed someone to dance in a number, but couldn't figure out how to get her offstage, in a way that would work with the story.    We needed a reason to get her offstage - et voila! - a new character was created, who would end up being pivotal to the direction of the storyline.

Auditions, choreography, music, set design, costuming, lighting, props, dialogue, rehearsal after rehearsal after rehearsal.   Rewrite after rewrite after rewrite.   Everything in this show was done from scratch.   Truly it was a labor of love - and a labor of bloody-minded stubbornness.     They say the Devil is in the details, and let me tell you - we were bedeviled!   By mid-October, we were scrambling to get all those details into place, and get this show off the ground. 

During Tech Week, things really came together.    The show we ran Monday night, was a different show Tuesday night.   By Wednesday tech, the show had gained a momentum - and an identity- that was bigger, different, and entirely unexpected.    It was as if this were a sentient creature that had awakened, unfolded its wings and was about to take off.   It was so much bigger than me, or Malita, or our performers, or production team.   The whole was immensely greater than the sum of our individual parts.    It was bewildering, astonishing.    And on Thursday - dress rehearsal - we knew beyond a doubt that we had something amazing!

I imagine that this is how the Wright Brothers felt in that moment that their fledgling wooden craft caught the air current,  and lifted from the ground, for the first time.

So we had a show... and now we were a little scared about whether anyone would see it!    We had sold a good number of seats for the Sunday matinee, but the Friday and Saturday show sales were sluggish.    The morning of our opening, we still had a lot of unsold seats.

And then, something amazing happened!    At 11am, I started getting phonecalls - people were buying tickets, and we were close to sold out.    By 1pm, we knew we were going to have to add seats for our premiere performance!

You cannot know how good that feels - to know that people are excited to come see your show!

The show was a success - we wound up adding seats, and every show got a standing ovation.   Everytime I think of those moments, at curtain call, I am so proud of our cast and crew, that I still get goosebumps! 

Someone asked me, after, "How do you get a show produced?"    The answer is... you persevere and persevere, and persevere... and you surround yourselves with people who believe in your vision.  This show was truly a miracle for me.   Everyone, from the performers, to the musicians, to the volunteers, to the production team - worked so hard to make this show happen.   Olelucia could not have happened without them, and I cannot begin to express my love and appreciation for their talent and hard work!

And this show could not have happened without our loving and supportive friends, family, and audience!   A thousand times.... Thank you!

And thank you, to Barbara Knott at The Grapevine Art & Soul Salon, for her wonderful review!

In eleven months, it will be time to celebrate Christmas  again, in the mythical, magical Kingdom of Olelucia!    We hope to see you there!

Photo Courtesy of Brett Stanley

Photo Courtesy of Brett Stanley