Opening Night for The Sound of Music was headed at us like a train coming down the tracks – we were in full dress rehearsals and everything was coming together. It was coming fast, until that giant snow storm set its eye on us. The forecast called for 7-10 inches by Friday evening. For a couple days, Opening Night was up in the air – if there was a Level 2 or 3, we would automatically cancel. A truly horrible thought.
But, the predicted amounts didn’t quite materialize and, while the roads were pretty nasty, the show indeed went on. We had a nice audience for our opening; I am sure some folks decided not to even try attending but I also witnessed folks coming early to ensure they didn’t miss the show.
It is an exciting and exhausting time – the 7 scheduled shows are basically sold out and soon there will be no tickets to be had, if there are any now. So far, Em has survived and is even thriving under the pressure.
- She is handling the tweaks to her meds schedule – we are shifting it all back an hour or two so her Diamox and pain meds will keep working until she can take her bedtime doses. Seems to be working so far.
- She is surviving rehearsing until almost 11 and getting home at midnight and getting to sleep whenever sleep finally claims her. She is not getting enough sleep, but she is surviving. I suspect she is living on adrenaline and will crash hard after the 15th, when we wrap it all up, but for now, she is ok.
- She survived (literally) the balloon animals backstage, that were a well meant treat for the Von Trapp children because I hadn’t said anything about her latex allergy when she joined the cast. Ok, surviving meant that we panicked a bit – she dashed out to the lobby, took a Benedryl and had to leave rehearsal and the building completely. Fortunately, the balloons were all removed and backstage aired out by the next evening and she was fine.
- She is managing to keep her blood sugar at a decent level, although, it seems to be becoming more of a problem as we go through this very long week. They technically aren’t supposed to eat while in their costumes but nobody abides by that rule and she has a real reason to break it. Although, as a former costumer, I did seriously cringe when I saw her eating Cheetos in her black nun costume.
- She is surviving the constant up-and-down the stairs and the physical strain of a 3 hour rehearsals/production. Her part isn’t strenuous – the nuns are staid and proper, walking serenely with hands clasped in front of them. But, the dressing rooms are downstairs and she is in several scenes, so she has to go up and down many times in an evening. We got her a spiffy pair of shoes that seem to be doing well for her. She found them online and campaigned for us to buy them for her – it is a good thing because she was supposed to wear flats with her costume and that was killing her. These have a bit of a heel, which apparently lock her ankles so they don’t slide around, a good insole, decent arch support and a good textured sole so she doesn’t slip. And they are cute and even look 1938ish, so everyone is happy. She doesn’t seem to be in much more pain than normal, although I don’t know that she would tell me if she was.
- She is also surviving the non-stage drama, which always exists. This is a cast of about 50 people crammed into some pretty tight spaces- the nun chorus is ladies of all ages and quite a few teenagers. Where there are actors, there is on and offstage drama. Where there are women, there is drama. Where there are teenage girls, there is drama. At a theatre, there is drama coming out your ears. But, she is navigating the teenage girl and all other types of drama well, albeit with little tolerance for stupidity, but she is figuring it all out and making friends. Fortunately, the girls are sweet so it could be much, much worse. Seeing her making friends is a beautiful thing and having theatre friends is something she has missed greatly.
- She is thriving on being helpful and productive, after 4 years of being sick. She is helping with make-up and costume changes and just generally flitting around being helpful. (And possibly bossy. No idea where she gets that from!)
- She survived the snow and cold of opening night – the nuns have to walk around the building to enter at the back of the auditorium to start the show. Usually just mildly annoying, but with snow, ice and freezing temps it was more unpleasant than usual. I hate to think of her slipping and getting hurt, but she says her costume shoes have better traction than the boots she wore to the theatre so go figure!
- She survived the cast party and staying out past midnight, although she is going to be beyond exhausted today and tomorrow.
All in all, it is fun and exasperating and exhausting and invigorating. And it will all be over in a little more than a week – a bittersweet, scary and happy thought! This is an experience that she will carry with her forever, whatever the future holds, these memories will be precious.