By Paul Kane
Live theatre exists in the moment.
The curtain only opens that exact way only once. The lights flash at that exact time only once. The mouths make words in that style only once. The body bows with that exact depth only once. Live theatre exists in the moment, and there is no moment more exciting than opening night.
This is it. You’ve survived months of rehearsals, likely had a grueling tech week, and burnt the midnight oil between learning lines and doing homework. You’ve made new friends, and strengthened bonds with old ones. Perhaps you’re about to walk the stage with someone for the last time. Perhaps the stakes are high, and you can’t stop shaking with fear. Perhaps this is your first time doing this. There is no cocktail of emotions so high-proof as the one you’re served on opening night.
But you have a duty. It’s time to show the world that you suffered for your art. It’s time to reap your reward. It’s time to tell a story. In the moment you step on stage, the shaking stops and so does the world. You can feel the buzz of energy between yourself, your fellow cast, the crew, and the audience. And you know that something special is happening.
This past weekend, I performed the role of The Wolf in The Penn State Thespian’s production of Into The Woods. On our own opening night, I grabbed my phone camera and attempted to capture the moments that define an opening night honestly and candidly. With the help of Mr. Evan Young, who supplied several key bits of footage of the actual show (as I was in the show, I could not do this myself) I was able to assemble this montage.
I present: “The Sights and Sounds of an Opening Night” partly because I believe that words alone cannot justly describe experience, and partly in the hope of sharing one of the most electrifying and life-affirming things that I get to be a part of.
Welcome to opening night.