The props and sets were moved from the cold barn to the warm school on Friday afternoon. Jerry spent the whole afternoon helping with our pickup.
Saturday all day was to be taken up with 2 complete run-throughs plus the dress rehearsal in the afternoon. This was a pretty tall order for everyone, but especially for the set movers, because we were required virtually all the time.
We all arrived at 10 in the morning. The first run-through began, and gradually deteriorated into the fussing over details, re-do’s of bits of business, scenes over again. By 1:30 Russ, the leader of the set movers, took a look at Jerry and me, said “Go home, have a nap and come back at 3.”
When we came back they had made it through only one run-through. The dress rehearsal had already started. It was dark except for the stage. I found the prop person, Laura, and asked where Russ and his wife, Cathy, were. Cathy had written up a plan of action for the set movers with all their cues. It took about 6 legal sized pages.
Laura said, “There’s been some drama since you left. Russ and Cathy had a melt-down and went home!”
“Are they coming back?” I asked.
Laura shrugged, “Don’t know.”
Here’s what happened. At the beginning of the dress rehearsal there was some flapping of angel wings that Cathy was in charge of. The stage manager called out, “That’s been changed.”
“No it hasn’t,” said Cathy, “This is dress rehearsal; you can’t change any more things. If one more thing is changed, I’m out of here.”
So they changed something else, she put down her script and went home. Russ thought she had just gone outside to cool off, but after a while when she didn’t reappear, he said, “My Wife has gone, I’m leaving.” When he got home he found Cathy cleaning house and doing laundry.
Meanwhile, back at the school, Janice, a managing sort of person on the set crew, took over directing stage set up, and some of the prop people were pressed into service. There was some confusion, and the changes were slow, but we were muddling along.
About two thirds through the rehearsal, at around 6 o’clock, I stepped back from moving a set piece and fell off the stage. Though the fall was only a couple of feet, it seemed to take a long time to land. I ended up on a coal bucket used in the Tiny Tim interior scene. It made a lot of noise, and caused a brief delay. But I brushed myself off and continued to move sets.
After a while I noticed that my neck hurt. Since there was less work for set movers at the end of the play, I got substitutes for Jerry and me, and we went home. Thus, as we approached the one actual performance, Jerry and I had never been present for the end of the play.
I took a couple of ibuprophins, and Russ called. He and Cathy were in good spirits, having spent the afternoon celebrating with a bottle of wine. He said Cathy would come to the play to watch, and he would move sets for the performance.
The performance took place on time. There was only room for about 70 people in the school gym, and it was completely full. At least 70 more people were turned away. According to my daughter and grandson who saw it, the backstage confusion was not evident, though there were some places that seemed a bit slow. The actors did a good bit of ad-libbing but they got through. There were a lot of kids in the cast, and they had a ball. The applause was deafening.