So. Um. That show that I lit over the summer? It won something.
Specifically, it won a Best of Austin Critic’s Pick.
The outside recognition is really gratifying, because it was such a wild ride from the inside that I have to wonder if it was really that good, or if the overwhelming sense of relief that we pulled it off at all has skewed my perception of the quality of the show.
The premise was kind of high-concept: The (improvised) show is supposed to be a rehearsal for a play (not a real one – the title is pulled from a hat full of audience suggestions), and the theater is in the round so the cast is all mixed in with the audience, and everyone contributes, and it’s supposed to be all about honesty and intimacy and… then eventually people get naked. Maybe. Probably. If/when events in the show call for it.
What could possibly go wrong?
Honestly, there were about a thousand things that could have gone terribly wrong with this show. The nudity alone had to walk a fine taste line. Then the theater was rearranged, the audience participation was amped up, the storytelling method was open-ended and obscure, and – oh, right – everything was still unscripted.
But ultimately it worked. It totally worked. The director’s vision was sincere, and the cast was brilliant enough to make it happen. They all worked really hard to build a foundation of trust that allowed them to take all the random crap that was thrown at them and sculpt a series of really earnest stories. The audience was supportive and engaged, and became so enthralled that every show sold out – the last one a full two weeks beforehand.
For a few weeks this summer, I was privileged to participate in something really uniquely successful, because everyone involved – audience and performers alike – completely bought in.
And someone else thought it was great.
Really, not bad for my first tech gig.