On the Road With

BY Advocate Contributors

October 18 2010 7:45 PM ET

Generally, opening nights tend to be a great time. This one is no exception for our acting company. The mood backstage is nervous, of course, but warm and elevated. After having been stuck amid the picayune details of technical rehearsal, it is liberating to reconnect to the reason we are here. We are sharing Matthew Shepard’s story with an audience eager to hear it.

Generally, opening night audiences tend to feel pretty great too. They’re happy to be the lucky first few. Knowing it is opening night seems to put audiences in a celebratory and forgiving mood. This is even more the case for our first audience because Emerson College has had the brilliant idea of inviting anyone in the Boston area who has ever been involved in a production of our play to come as its guest. So the 1,800-seat house is packed, in good part with young people who have a deep personal connection with the plays, the characters, and our company. You couldn’t ask for a better house, even though, as Jeremy Bobb points out, they will all know when we screw up our lines. We are greeted with entrance applause and ushered out with a standing ovation, and the attention during the show is rapt.

It’s a fantastic first night and a great reminder that the work we are doing is important and continues to have tremendous meaning for many around the country, and particularly for the younger generation. The fist weekend of performances alternating between The Laramie Project and 10 Years Later is naturally a little bumpy — we have had no previews — but by the last shows we are getting our stride as a company and audiences seem to be loving both shows. There are standing ovations every night.

Tags: Theater

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