We have a lift off!

After an intensive four weeks of rehearsals (absolutely the minimum amount of time we could have done this in so MASSIVE credit to EVERYONE at Polka and Unlimited), we had our first public audiences in on Saturday. The two shows were ‘previews’ which I’ll have a quick go at explaining as I wouldn’t want to assume that anyone knows what a ‘preview’ is. Basically‚Ķ

The show isn’t complete until we perform it with an audience. Any show (if it’s any good) relies on the relationship it creates with all the people present as to whether it will achieve what it wants to do. Hmmmm. That doesn’t seem clear. It’s much simpler than that. There is little point making a show if we’re not going to perform it with some other people present*. And there’s no point inviting people to spend time with us if we’re not going to acknowledge their presence**. And it’s probable that we’ll have made some assumptions about how those people might want to engage/interact/be with us and the show. And us/it with them. And some of those assumptions are probably going to need some challenging when we do it all together for the first couple of times. So that we can make the best use of our time together and achieve as many of the things that we’d like to together. So basically, we need to practise hanging out together. And that’s what I understand a preview to be. Would love to see/hear anyone else’s understandings…

We had two ‘official’ previews on Saturday – you know they’re ‘official’ previews because the tickets are cheaper. Which I guess means you’re allowed to be a bit unpractised? Which is fine in theory except all 350 seats at Polka had someone sat in them for the 2pm show on Saturday, which was a hugely exciting way to start and not a situation in which you want to be “a bit rubbish”. The theatre has been shut throughout our rehearsal period so it was pretty emotional suddenly having so many children around. There were a couple of birthday parties in, parents and grandparents and a boy who’d come dressed in a silver space suit. I was giddily pleased with with how it all went, especially since this was only the second time we’d run the show with everything in it.

These previews are vital opportunities for Clare and Sebastien to learn how to drive the show – until they’ve had a few more runs at it there’s enough tech and just remembering where stuff goes for it to feel a bit like it’s driving them for the moment. That said it was properly wonderful seeing the moments where they’re clearly secure with all the elements and they’re able to enjoy themselves – I’m a little bit in awe and love with them both for so brilliantly taking on as much as we’ve asked of them in such a short period of time. Even with just a couple of (massively well earned) days off since then, the show today was already feeling much more like they’ve got one hand on the wheel while the other adjusts a wing mirror, elbow nonchalantly resting out of the open window. By the end of the week I reckon they’ll be lighting cigarettes while changing songs on the ipod and shouting “Scrubbers!” at passing school girls. Hmmmm. I’ll work on that analogy. Or maybe come back here and edit it out of this post when I’ve developed the appropriate level of shame.

Let’s try flying instead. The show is learning to fly. Yes. Come fly with us…


* is there?
** is it?

Team Unlimited Polka (pic Max Alexander)