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April 14, 2010

Crack Me Up

KOLD Radio, Whitefish Bay rehearsal April 2010
Last night was the first of two dress rehearsals for KOLD Radio, Whitefish Bay. The show opens on Thursday. Our friends Kevin and Becky came to the dress rehearsal since they will be out of town this weekend. The entire cast was glad they came. We needed an audience, even if it was a small one.

There is something that happens during the long nights of rehearsal. The jokes which seemed so fresh when you first read the script begin to taste stale as they come out of your mouth. You've said them so many times to an empty auditorium and felt the silence bounce off the back wall. You begin to wonder if the lines were ever funny, and then you begin to question whether anyone will laugh. There is a common statement made towards the end of the rehearsal process: "This show needs an audience" and it was certainly true of this show.

So, as our little audience began to chuckle and guffaw through the first Act last night, you could feel the energy of the entire cast lift. Things started to click. Everyone perked up. Spirits soared. And, everyone began to feel the humor of the show anew.

One of the things I pride myself in is the ability to remain focused on stage, and last night was a humbling moment. There is one line in the play that is so hilarious that it took a long time for Wendy to utter it without cracking up. In the tedium of the last few weeks that was not a problem. It felt so stale that we rolled right through the line without feeling so much as a twitch in our funny bones. Then last night we had an audience out there in the darkness laughing hysterically. The line which had felt so dead to us experienced a sudden resurrection. Wendy uttered the line. I broke concentration for a split second and cracked a tiny smile. Wendy saw the chink in my armor of concentration and proceeded to completely lose her composure. She broke into uncontrollable laughter, and I lost it too. It was like the old Carol Burnett show when Tim Conway had the cast in stitches or a Saturday Night Live sketch when the players can't hold it together.

It took a few lines fighting back the tears of laughter, but we got our groove back. Nevertheless, the rehearsal gave us all some new life as we get ready to perform this weekend. (By the way, there are tickets still available!)

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