Tuesday, January 12, 2010

L’Italiana part 2

First things first – the internet is functioning again, much to my great relief. I don't quite feel as if I am constantly banging my head against a brick wall anymore.

Now onwards to today's post…

Performers universally complain about the second-show syndrome. The adrenaline of the opening night has faded, everyone has sort of settled back into a more relaxed mode, and without that electric buzz of excitement and nerves coursing through the performers' body, dramatic reflexes are a bit dulled. Countless times I've heard or said any variation of the following: "Wow, I am so tired and just can't get into this today – this totally feels like a second show." It's an incredibly surreal feeling, because the sensation of standing in front of 1,000 - 3,000 people, wearing makeup and a costume - and perhaps a wig, singing in a foreign language at unnaturally loud volumes in other people's faces suddenly feels somewhat banal and mundane. Sometimes, the performers blame the audience, but more often than not, it is just the natural progression of things. Euphoria is always harder to reach and never feels quite as good the second time around.

Sunday's show was not your typical second show in the sense that we were prevented from sinking into the second-show syndrome by the fact that our poor Mustafa was sick. Because of the short notice, a guest whose name was Derek came in and sang the role from the side of the stage while Oleg, the incapacitated Mustafa, acted his role. I found out about all of this when the director who remounted the show caught me on the staircase to my dressing room just as I was going to get my hat for my first entrance in Act I. I never found out his last name, and didn't even lay eyes on him, let alone shake his hand, until intermission. He was magnificent, grace under pressure, as was Oleg, who despite not singing, was threw his usual 150% commitment into everything he did on stage. It certainly did keep things fresh and us on our toes!

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