Friday, December 16, 2011

Report from the Orchestra Pit

Last night was the final tech rehearsal for A Christmas Carol, and we took it very slowly. With all the stops, starts, changes and tweaks, we ran past midnight. Tonight, we will have an audience and I hope we're all ready for them.

It was my first experience in an orchestra pit. And that's truly what it is--a stage-wide slice of area invisible to most of the audience where the musicians crowd together and play. I was tucked next to the entry stairs with just enough width to move a bow. Even then, I frequently knocked its tip into the stair's railing. That's not as bad as my poor compadre who put the first dent in his gorgeous bass saxophone when the stand it was in decided to collapse. But he went on, like a pro. The photo here is not our orchestra or theater, but it shows the same view from the corner that I have.

The odd thing is, we're right in front of, and under, the actors, but we can't see what they're doing. We watch our conductor and guide attentively--he can see the stage--but it's an act of faith. In the theatre, you're constantly stopping and starting and changing the tempo to match the action above--that you can't see. But when it's going well, it sounds great, and that's what kept me moving along last night.

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