Director’s Diary: Ice Glen

Director’s Diary (continued)—Ice Glen

Opening Night. Only a few more hours to get everything in place—a few more props to add finishing touches to, embellishments continue on the set, last-minute cue changes…. And on top of that, angst at the hourly check of the weather forecast, wondering if we’ll get the promised “dusting,” “one to three inches,” or more, and when the snow will begin to fall. If it starts before 6, will we lose audience? And the bittersweet official moment of telling the Stage Manager that the show is all hers now and wishing her well.

After all, NO snow falls, cues go well, everything looks great, and the audience is not only plentiful but also enthusiastic, including “bravo”s during the curtain call that don’t sound like the voices of anybody’s mother. The Stage Manager is more than up to the task, and she knows that when I say the show is “all hers” I reserve authority over the actors’ performances…. We drink champagne and bask in the afterglow.

This has been a wonderful process. The rehearsals have been a pleasure, with intellligent and gifted actors (Samantha Burgan, Will Cohn, Mark Frattaroli, Linda Gilmore, Ann Kinner, Jim Perakis, and Susan Vanech) engaged in focused collaboration. The play itself is full of moments that cry out for discussion, interpretation, experimentation.

I have a wonderful lighting designer, Jeff Klein, who has a good feel for the kind of show Ice Glen is; my set designer/builder, Al Kulcsar, is a man of many talents and has shown them here; Dick Hollyday set the sound cues with his usual competence and sensitivity; the costume team of Mary Kulcsar and Judi Heath did the resourceful and effective job we have learned to expect from them. My stage manager, Samantha Burgan, has been calm and capable through the whole thing, even this past week as several people we had counted on as “running crew” suddenly became unavailable and we scrambled for replacements. Amy Louise Carter is a stalwart at the light board; my concern that the show had no Producer has changed to gratitude for the “production team” that developed as a result: Joan Lasprogato, Bob Lasprogato (WCT’s Executive Producer), Janet Adams (always indispensable), and Amy. Bob Gilmore, Paul Lenhart, Kevin Moore, David Victor, and Marc Hartog will be the necessary additions to the running crew, filling in backstage and at the sound board, and I know I can trust their conscientiousness as well as their competence. The whole production is a genuine community.

Of course I will continue to want to tweak things, and will continue to fret and worry as the opportunity arises. But my principal concern now will be that the show gets the audience it deserves. If last night’s audience members tell their friends the same things they told us, then I’d advise everyone to get reservations in early!

From time to time, non-theater friends ask me if I really think it’s worth investing so much time, energy, thought, and emotion in work that pays no money and a product that exists for only a few weeks. Sometimes during a rehearsal period I ask myself the same question. And this morning I give the answer that I always rediscover. Is it worth it? Hell, yes!

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