Waiting for the show to start with the handsomest date of all.
Opening night is always exciting. The hard-earned gala celebration and energy of a full house make the weeks of work worth it. No matter the show, by the time we get through the grueling pace of tech-week, everyone involved is just a bit raw. The Gatsby cast and crew was no exception. From final details on the costumes, to tweaking the projections just so, to the cast enriching their performances as they settle into the fantastical playground that has been built around them - our time, love, and energy is all but completely spent. But somehow (perhaps it’s the promise of post-show champagne and cheesecake), energy is summoned from the inner-depths and that first performance occurs with passionate flair.
Opening night style. The most 1920s look I could put together.
For a director, opening night is the final moment in the “letting go” process that is making a show. There’s nothing else I can do (nor should I) to add to the picture - it no longer belongs to me but to the cast, crew, and audience. While “letting go” can sometimes be a challenge (these are my baby birds after all), it’s always satisfying to put on a fabulous dress, toss back a cocktail, and enjoy the performance as the uninitiated audience does.
For a couple of weeks the ladies in the cast have been discussing what we were going to all wear for opening night. Oregon Contemporary Theatre is nice enough to throw a classy post-show gala. Given the Roaring ’20s time period and the play’s themes of extravagance, going for a 1920s “look” seemed appropriate. The cute Art Deco style dress I bought online was unfortunately all the wrong color for me and too big in the bust to look flattering, so I dug into the recesses of my closest to find this elegantly seamed vintage-style dress. While technically more 1930s than 1920s, I evoked the period with a knotted string of beads, T-stap heels, and a lace headband. I felt pretty and it was nice to be able to wear something that doesn’t usually see the light of day. It’s a tough look to pull off and I’m not sure if I did it completely successfully. This was a petite sized dress, but even in a petite cut, full-length frocks are difficult for small women. We tend to get overwhelmed by so much fabric. Nonetheless, it was fun to wear.
Pre-show drinks and snack with the family.
I was lucky enough to have my parents come up for the opening night. This was actually the first professional production they have seen that I have directed, so it was a real treat to have them as part of the audience. We hit The Davis, my new favorite place in Eugene for drinkies and snackies. Great food! Seriously, check it out!
My dear friends, The Becks, looking great for the gala.
The show itself went very smoothly and the audience responded favorably to the production. I was very pleased with how it came together. Looking forward to the upcoming performances and seeing the show continuing to grow (as it naturally will).
Corvallis ladies represent!
For now, a few nights off before the pick-up rehearsal on Wednesday. It was strange not being there for Saturday’s performance. The rhythm of rehearsal and the drive down to Eugene had become a “normal” part of my life. No matter, it’s all part of the process.
The Great Gatsby runs through March 22 at OCT. See you there!