An actor is sick and another will have to go on in her place. On book. Which means they hold the script and they read from it. There are no understudies. Even here. Even here with the hundred dollar tickets, the cost of understudies is prohibitive.
The artistic director makes a speech. I do not hear it, but I know what he will say. I think I know. I know what I would say. This is what theatre is like. This is the risk of live performance. These people that you see up here are real. Sometimes they can get sick. Sometimes they need to be replaced. The words they are speaking are being spoken live, in real time. Theatre is live action. Theatre has always been in 3D.
He will say that the show that you see tonight has never been seen before and it will never be seen again. It exists just for you.
The artistic director will say that the show must go on. That we’re very fortunate that someone has been able to step into the role and that tonight will be a truly unique experience, a peek behind the scenes. You’re seeing how a professional theatre company builds the world of a play.
And eventually you won’t notice that one of the women on stage is holding a script. Eventually you won’t remember that at one time, before the characters really existed, all these women held scripts.
And the artistic director will tell you that you’re lucky. You’re seeing the birth of a character. You’re seeing something no one else has seen.
They are live. This is not a film. This is not a song on the radio. This is here, right now.
This is just for you.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 27th August 2017 as part of Internet Care Package.
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