BWW Blog: Eric Ulloa of Goodspeed's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA - Have I Got a Girl for You
Today's blog is brought to you by my second cup of coffee and the last tiny flecks of energy I have left after this insane tech week. The insanity and long hours though, have brought us to this, our first preview, where the world will see what we've been working on for that last five weeks. Will it be a hit for the Goodspeed? Will people find our grapes to be sour? (Grant me at least one Napa Valley pun...I'm exhausted). I have my opinions on our show, which I've mentioned at length on here, but the audience member is the one who truly decides our fate.
Unless you've ever been in a theatre during a tech week, you can never fully understand what the process is like. That's what I'm here for. Allow me to take you deep underneath the Goodspeed stage, one flight down the stairs and out the stage door as we retrace the last week in an analogy I call, "Tech week is like a first date."
1. Comfort Zones
Picture your cozy warm apartment midwinter and how comfortable you feel within those four walls. Now picture an impending date that same night with someone you kind of know, but aren't very familiar with. Do you want to leave the comforts of your home for an experience that you're unsure of when everything is going so well where you are?
After four weeks of rehearsal, the studio that you are rehearsing in becomes sacred ground. It's a place where you've made great discoveries, terrible missteps and permanent ass marks in the old leather couches while you waited to be called in. Hello, Dolly! had been playing a hit run for Goodspeed while we plugged away in the studio and it only closed a day before we entered (let's hear it for THAT tech crew!) what was to be our new home. So entering the theatre meant that we had knowledge that we were the first night out for our date, who was coming from a very successful previous relationship. Are you sure you want to leave the safe zone?
2. Clothing Decisions
What to wear, what to wear, what to wear?!?! You take a look at your clothing choices, and with the nerves of the impending date, you can't figure out what goes with what, or if you look stupid in what you've picked out.
The first thing you're asked to do after signing in on the callboard, is to get your microphone pack and costume on. Much like an outfit you've picked out for this date, at this point you've only tried it on once in the store (costume shop) and you're pretty sure you liked it, but haven't seen it all together and in context. Before you even step out the door, you (in this case perhaps the costume designer / the director) vetoed what you have on, and throw on a new look hoping to improve upon the prior choice.
Your date's taste level hinges on the choices of the setting they've provided for this first date. If it's bad, you'll fake a smile and then call your friends immediately after to complain, but if it's really good...bonus points. You walk into the Goodspeed Opera House and think, "Okay, it's small though extremely charming, but man look they have done with this space!" You then take a seat (stand on the stage), look around at the beautiful surroundings you're in the midst of (the set) and think to yourself, "Bonus points."
Chemistry is everything on a first date. If it's there, wonderful, if it's not, boy can it be long. Sometimes though, there is a grey area that makes the future of this possible romance seem uncertain. You are both having a great time at first and have so much to converse about but after the appetizer, a bit of boredom has begun to set in. Your date talks a lot, you just sit there and you begin to question if you'll make it past this time together.
The cue to cue process onstage is a very tedious one. You mostly stand around and wait, while a theatre full of people discuss the set, sound levels, props, costumes, proper lighting and a multitude of other factors. Sometimes you're asked to just stand still as a light is focused on you, sometimes you're thrown a new shirt and asked to pop it on right there and sometimes you're running a dance number over and over as the need for new spacing presents itself.
This "date" sure likes to talk a lot and you're a little confused as to what exactly is going on, but there is a glimmer of greatness there and you put skepticism aside and begin to trust the process.
5. The Goodnight Kiss
The date has gone on for quite awhile now and you're thoroughly intrigued by the evening's proceedings. You've learned a great deal of new information, had good conversation and are still charmed by the surroundings. Outside the door, you linger for a moment and discuss the possibility of a future date. Plans are made and you head back home swimming in thoughts and smiles.
After four days of tech, your head is definitely swimming and you're finally putting all the pieces together. New elements have been thrown at you at a rapid pace, but you know it's your job to adhere to these changes and make them look seamless in the performance you've been building these last five weeks. You go home, you stretch, you ice, you get as much rest as possible because the little time you have there is precious and needs to be as beneficial as possible. Each "date" gets better and better and the conversation begins to make sense and really ebb and flow. You really start to fall for them and after a few dates, you decide to go all the way...or as we call it, Opening Night.
Keep sending those questions and feedback to www.ericulloa.com . I have some great answers coming soon.
Next week comes news of our first preview, the opening party (with great photos I'm sure) and how the first five show weekend went...see you then!