Monday, March 23, 2009

Opening Night

Posted by Cliff Chamberlain

“It’s the day of the show, ya’ll.”

I don’t usually fire off Waiting for Guffman references at the drop of a hat,
but today it’s pretty unavoidable.

There’s probably an 80% chance that somebody will quote
Parker Posey’s line from the classic movie today.

And kind of like Pavlov’s dogs,
I will probably hear it and immediately have myriad physical reactions.

Maybe my knees will get weak.
My mouth will certainly get dry.
My stomach will push its way through the turnstiles and hop onto
The Goliath at Magic Mountain.

Suddenly I will be acutely aware of all the things I am doing.
Because every little thing could add up to…

(cue triumphant sound effect)


I can’t speak for every actor,
but I know that I usually find myself wantingneedingbegging
Opening Night to be perfect.
And so I become highly routine in my pre-show activities,
based on how the Preview Performances went.
(One would assume that I would pay attention to the work I’ve been learning onstage, and try to focus on that. This, of course, makes a lot of sense. If I had any sense at all on Opening Night, I’d do just that.)

Let’s see:

On Tuesday I got a Green Tea at Argo Tea and the show was great.
What size was it?
Argh. Small? No, medium. I’ll buy a small tonight and get it in a medium cup.

On Thursday I had some yogurt right before the show and felt slow onstage.
Yogurt is now banished from my diet.

On Friday I took the Red Line to the theater and the Brown Line home,
and that show was pretty good, so that’ll be my route today.
I realize that it doesn’t really matter how I get home,
Seeing as though the show is already over,
But the universe just knows.

Over the weekend I went correctly predicted 15 out the 16 Sweet Sixteen Teams.
And the weekend shows felt pretty darn awesome.
I will have to write a letter to the NCAA
asking if they can replay those games tonight.

I’ll also have to make sure that I:

Drink four bottles of water before my first entrance .
Go to the bathroom 7 times exactly before my first entrance (not impossible, actually).
Do NOT buy a cup of coffee on my way to the theater.
Tune my guitar precisely when the William character says, “Boo-Weevils.”
Do my pre-show shuffle dance that I’ve done before every one of my performances for the last 10 years. (I’m not kidding.)

Weird, isn’t it?

And I’m not a very superstitious person, either.
Just on Opening Night.
All part of the fun, I guess.
The weirdness.
I love it, I’m thankful for it, I welcome it with open arms.

Because what is life
(especially an actor’s life)
without at least one day of all out weirdness?


  1. Okay, well. Waiting for Guffman is probably my favorite movie of all time so I just about had a heart attack when I read the first line of your post. I hope that at least someone went ahead and talked about the DQ while they were at it.

    Judging from the opening night pictures on the website, it looks like everything went well and everyone had a great time. Congratulations!

  2. "If there's an empty space, just fill it with a line, that's what I like to do. Even if it's from another show."
    - Ron from Waiting For Guffman