Rarely do we find ourselves in the position of having to cancel a performance. Most of the time it is weather-related. On a handful of occasions the number of people in a cast outnumbered the people in the audience, and so we move those patrons to another night and cancelled the show. In the 15 years I've worked here, I think we've cancelled less than 15 performances.
This past Friday we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the performance of The Taming of the Shrew when one of the leads fell very ill with bronchitis (he couldn't say 10 words without coughing up a storm). While we made every effort to try and fill his role for that performance, it just wasn't going to work out in time. So we all did what needed to be done: Box office contacted everyone who had tickets for that show (thanks for everyone's understanding), Stage Management called the cast and crew, our Volunteer coordinator called the volunteers who were scheduled to work, the caterer told the kitchen crew to stop food preparation. Some of us stayed until 8pm to catch any walk ins or people who didn't get the message that the show was cancelled. It definitely felt weird not having a show.
For tonight's performance, here's what you'll find:
The actor who normally plays Hortensio (J.C. Long) will be playing Petruchio (having never played Petruchio before)
The actor who normally plays Gremio (Drew Reeves) will be playing Hortensio (having played the role in previous productions)
We are bringing in an actor (Doug Kaye) who is in other shows during the Threepeat to play Gremio (he has played this part in another Threepeat Shrew).
A few years ago, in another production of Shrew, the actor playing Grumio (different from Gremio), Marc McPherson, tripped and injured himself during an entrance. While he was being taken to the hospital, our Artistic Director Jeff Watkins was outfitting himself in a costume, the stage manager, Cindy Kearns, was photocopying Grumio's lines on to parchment paper for Jeff to read from, and the show went on.
As I type this, the cast is rehearsing in the theater, the costumer has arrived to recostume the "understudies" and I am still selling a lot of tickets! The energy is tense, tinged with excitement. This is what we do really well here at the Tavern (among other things): our actors have so many parts under their belts, they understand how to read the stage directions Shakespeare has hidden in his text so they can get a feel for blocking and intent even before going into a rehearsal. I am so not worried about the show tonight because of the incredible talent we have around here. It will be a wild and fun ride! The show must go on! If you're coming to the show tonight, have a great time; the actors will need your energy, your compassion and your sense of humor.
Regardless of the acting prowess we've got in the company, it makes me wonder: is there a curse on The Taming of the Shrew??
Angels and ministers of grace protect and defend us*...
-Jeanette, Marketing and Box Office
PS. FEEL BETTER, PAUL!!!!!!!!
*this is the blessing we like to say whenever anyone utters the word "Macb-th". Can't hurt to invoke it today!