One of the things that I love about doing theater is the experience of the empty theater.
Being there when there is no audience.
There is a feeling of trespassing and of having an experience others don’t have and wouldn’t understand.
This may be part of why I love rehearsing so much.
The empty theater … ah.
Full of possibilities.
Full of memories.
Echoes of past shows and audiences.
The chance to work without the audience’s judgment and without the need to please the audience.
You are performing for the director, for your fellow actors and for yourself.
And if it’s not what you (or the director) wants, you get to do it again … and again.
And again, until you’re almost sick of it – but you know when it’s right, and there’s a feeling of comfort.
I wonder if most actors are like me – I hate change.
So there is the comfort of knowing where you are supposed to be and what you are going to say and what is going to be said back to you.
And yet, the theater is about constant changes – right up to (and sometimes after) opening night.
But once it’s right, it’s right.
But I digress.
To stand on a stage, waiting to get your blocking or choreography, everything is on pause and anything can happen.
Each time you step back on that stage, you are a bit closer to what will work, you are a bit closer to being sure of what you need to do.
To me, the empty theater is a place of great comfort.
I know I have skills that will be put to use and to the test there; and hopefully, I’ll be adding to those skills.
I know what that the culmination will ultimately be for the audience.
But this is my time to enjoy the process, and my time to enjoy the show.
The audience will have to wait for their turn.