The last two weeks I’ve only slept a few hours a night. Each day telling myself “I will sleep past sunrise”, but there is just too fucking much to do. My mind races at night before my body passes out. My body pulls out of bed before my mind wants to leave its dream world.
Yesterday was a brutal mother fucker. Our first preview and not even close to being ready without everyone busting ass all day, right up to the Front of House speech. I was on auto pilot, getting as much done as possible before 400 people showed up. By noon I heard the show sponsor – a grain feed supplier that buys up a preview and gives out tickets to their loyal customers – gave out 50 more invites than we have seating for. Even though we legitimately can’t fit everyone, we also don’t want to turn anyone away. Especially farmers of this area that would never come to live theatre if not for the free ticket. It’s one thing to do a show for people who love theatre. It’s another to do it for the uninitiated.
This place was founded 35 years ago by theatrical outlaws, who wanted to live rurally, raise families off the land and perform in the great wild open. Create epic visuals one can not achieve in a black box. Trees swaying in the breeze. Stars shining above. Coyotes howling and yipping in the distance. Bats swooping across the stage, a feeding frenzy under the show lights. Site specific storytelling transports every sense to the otherworldly.
The challenges are endless but I don’t know if I could ever go back to indoor theatre. Even when the days never end and my body is so tired my bones hurt and an audience member gets out of the bleacher during the show to glare and tell me, “This show is not family friendly!” I will forgo my sleep and rest and sustenance to actualize this absurdly beautiful and surreal dream.