Friday, July 17, 2009

A True Gift

Posted by Elizabeth Ledo (Flora/Eve in Boleros for the Disenchanted)

We are approaching our final week of the Boleros run. This has been an incredible experience and the audiences have been just wonderful. Joe Minoso (who plays Eusebio/Oskar) and I walk back to our dressing rooms every night after the curtain call and just shake our heads saying, "We are so lucky to get to do what we do."

Near the end of the play, Joe and I are standing behind the scrim dressed in our clothes from Act One. As we wait to be revealed in the play’s final moment, we can really hear how the audience takes in the last three minutes of the play which are, in my opinion, fiercely moving. Feeling the audience experience all they go through in those final moments is nothing less than awesome. There is an overwhelming surge of emotion, and Joe and I just look at each other and smile and share our thanks to the universe. It will be one of the moments I will miss the most.

I am really going to miss this group. I have been thinking about that as the last performance approaches; I know from experience how fast the final week flies. I have been very lucky in my career to have been part of casts that grow into mini families. Sure, there are sometimes black sheep, but for the most part I have truly been blessed with tight, good-natured casts. This is indeed one of those casts, and I will miss them all. We have wonderful playfulness off-stage that keeps the spirit and energy up on stage, especially on two-show days and during the long haul of a five-show weekend.

I have so enjoyed going to work these last two months. It’s been a true gift.

Monday, July 6, 2009

On Opening Night

Posted by Elizabeth Ledo (Flora/Eve in Boleros for the Disenchanted)

This week has been quite hectic with family coming in for the show and, of course, the holiday. It was a real treat to have a day off for the Fourth of July. I’m not used to theaters giving us days off on holidays like the Fourth. I always wonder why more theaters don’t have the day off, since audiences are usually small because people have other plans. It was so nice to have Friday and Saturday off to enjoy the weekend.

We opened last Monday and it went very well! It was evident that we were all eager to start the run because we were all giddy backstage. Everyone was hyper, popping in and out of their dressing rooms playfully chiding one another. I love that energy, especially with a piece like Boleros that really needs to drive. And we all had a great time doing the show.

My parents came for opening, which was really special for me because my father is Cuban and I wanted to share this experience with him. My folks see everything I do, but don't always get to make the openings because of scheduling. When I was cast in this show, I made it very clear that I wanted my parents in the audience for opening night.

My father was born in Havana in 1947 and came over to the US in 1962, so he has faced many of the themes in this play. When my Abuela (grandmother) was growing up in Cuba, she was just two years older than my character Flora. My Abuela just passed away this March, so doing this production has been part of my grieving. My Abuela inhabited many of Flora’s qualities. They are both very pious and very stubborn, and I celebrate my Abuela’s memory every time I tell Flora's story.

We had the day off after opening and got back to the show on Wednesday. We had a show Wednesday night and two on Thursday. It’s always a bit of a challenge to get back to a show after the big opening night. You just have to really settle in and keep your wits about you. We are back in the groove now, and all of us are looking forward to the run. I think it is such a lovely play to be doing in the summer. It feels so right to me.

I have to mention, too, how much I adore this cast and crew. It’s such a wonderful group of people and I feel so very blessed to be doing this production with them all. It’s always such a great gift when you get a dynamite group like this. I am grateful that I get to do what I love for a living—and having a gang like this to do it with seems almost criminal. :-)