Premieres are a unique experience; the regular opening night checklists, adjustments, nerves, and box office elements are still part of the buzz of preparing for the opening. But, in the case of The Bluest Water, the script hits close to home, and some of the home-town people were in the audience to take the journey back to 1969 and Camille. Several people who gave interviews were present, and, perhaps, hearing parts of stories they shared at the beginning of this process. There were Endstation board members and fellow actors from Romeo and Juliet. Our playwright, Jason Chimonides, was back to discover how his text translated into spoken word and action. Even the weather, with the late thunderstorms and wind, seemed to have something invested in this opening. An awesome feeling, all around.
From Geoff's opening remarks about the production being "A Hurricane Camille story" to the backstage performers who were intent on sharing the story, there was a strong, unified sense of purpose - of doing justice, honor not only to the script, but to the people whose lives were affected by Hurricane Camille. And, of course, there was the energy of the opening as cast and crew were double checking everything from lights to sound to costumes to props.
Geoff often uses the the phrase "getting it up on its feet" when it is time to block a scene after working with the text. With Wednesday's full house and Friday's full house with a waiting list, the cast and crew experienced the show getting up and running and the added pleasure of knowing they would have an interested audience to share the story with. The excitement was palpable backstage; Maria was sweeping through the dressing rooms, making the calls. Performers were warming up in many places and in their own individual ways. There was also a special camaraderie formed as everyone shared "good show" wishes just before going up to places.
(Some of the boys of The Bluest Water)
As the show ran, many of us were amazed at how quickly the time passed - even though the show was eighty minutes or so, the smooth flow of scenes made it feel much shorter. The response from the audience was warm and appreciative - a good sign. Lynn Kable, an Endstation board member, had organized a wonderful opening-night reception, complete with personalized Endstation cake. There was champagne, a fitting toast, and a sense that something significant had happened this opening night, thanks to many dedicated, creative, and insightful people whose vision was to bring this story to life.....Awesome, indeed.