Performing WITH an Audience

As I write this, it’s the morning after our first rehearsal with an audience for the murder mystery I wrote and am starring in, Lei’d to Rest – A Hula-Dunit Murder Mystery. I know I’ve talked a few times on here before about how how nerve-wracking this whole experience has been thus far. While this isn’t the first time I’ve written a play, it’s the first time I’ve actually been in one I’ve written, which means I have spent the past five weeks wondering if what I’ve written is any good.

This isn’t exactly the type of thing I generally write. It’s supposed to be funny, it’s highly interactive, and it’s loose with plotting in order to keep things as easy as possible for the folks who are drinking and eating while half-paying attention to what’s happening on the stage. This means that it mostly consists of trying to come up with the most simple of segues from one joke to the next, while trying to progress the story to the end in ways that aren’t entirely jarring.

Not to mention how I wrote this while trying to finish up editing on Moonshine Monarchy and having some of the hardest semesters I’ve had yet in school and having the kids around way more than they should be, meaning they would constantly be interrupting the little bits of progress I would make.

With all of that baggage behind the script for me personally, as well as my own insecurities as a performer, I went into last nights rehearsal feeling a lot of concern over how the audience would react to this goofy little thing I’ve crafted together in the nooks and crannies of my days.

But I’m happy to say that even with the roughness around the edges of our performances while we work out some of the final kinks of adding an audience and props and set pieces to a show that revolves around so many of these things that we’ve been either miming or skipping over entirely, we had an amazing audience response, where lines that have long lost their humor for the cast were making us all smile simply from the huge laughter they elicited from our awesome audience.

Sure, the crowd was stacked in our favor with family and friends and other theatre folks, but these guys managed to stay engaged and would break out into real laughter and generally appeared to have a fun time, even without the drinks and food. So, add in those little bits and I can only expect that our first performance on Friday will have me leaving the stage at the end of the show with a giant grin on my face, feeling as though I actually succeeded in doing something I really didn’t think I could do: Perform in a show I’ve written and actually come out of it feeling proud of what we’ve done.

And this morning, I’m sitting here thinking through the experience of last night, and feeling, for the first time since we’ve started rehearsals, really ready to get this thing in front of a truly fresh audience and see how they react to it.

I mean, I’m still hella nervous about it as well, but, well, I’m not as concerned about the script itself being useless, so that’s something.


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