Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Birdie Buzz

We've got our Birdie legs (wings?) after a week's worth of performances. Audiences seem to love this piece of musical comedy fluff, and the two reviews have been love letters to the show. (I confess that I cannot really trust one of the critics, who called me "subtle." My performance as Harry Macafee is a lot of things, but "subtle" ain't one of them.)

Probably because the show is the final show of the season, I'm detecting some "senior-itis" among the ensemble. They've been on campus, working very hard, since Memorial day, and they now see the light at the end of the gig. And for the first time all summer, they do not have rehearsals to attend during the day.

So, there is a regrettable inconsistency among the kids' performances. When they are ON, they are terrific, but too often, they are sliding through the work just to get it done. Though I understand this, I am saddened by it, as I still maintain that this is the strongest overall ensemble I have worked with at Shenandoah. Though I've been out here four times in the past decade, this is the first year I have worked the final show of the season, so I don't know if this is a common phenomenon here.

Next week, this group of close to 100 actors and techies will part, many to return in a few weeks for the school year, but more than a handful will be gone for good. This year's ensemble includes students from other theatre programs, as well as several graduated seniors who are now finished with their college years. I'll be wishing them all well as this ensemble disassembles, but selfishly, I wish they were a little more willing to infuse these last few performances with the enthusiasm they all felt when they first arrived.

As for me, I shall miss "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" and "Kids" and channelling Paul Lynde.