Well folks, Jekyll and Hyde has finally come to a close. Our last performance on Sunday was officially sold out as people tried to scoot in at the last minute to see what everyone had been talking about. Let me preface with this: our theatre has been in a bit of a creative rut lately. (I promise I’m going somewhere with this so bear with me).
When a show is proposed for production at the theatre, it is presented by a director to our board of directors who votes whether or not to do it. For the past few years there has been a very big emphasis on making sure a show is profitable. There is a steady amount of costs that the theatre has to manage each year and there have been times where we aren’t sure if the theatre will go on as it has for the next few years. Shows have had a very hard time of being voted into a season unless it’s a hugely popular show or very cheap to produce. This has brought on a litany of shows that everyone shows up to (Wizard of Oz) but have cost a good bit to produce, or shows that cost almost nothing at all (original written shows that are glorified music reviews from the 50’s and 60’) that again, people show up in droves for. This has brought about a very “same ole, same ole” spirit for a while with the same kind of stuff featuring the same people, all in the name of being as profitable as possible. Now, yes, the board has a responsibility to the theatre to make sure we are as successful as we can be and to make sure the bills get covered. That being said, very little new or creative material has come through these doors in a while. There are also some individuals who are very much in this for themselves and will do what they can to make sure their name is revered as the best, the go-to, the one who saves the day. They also have been the people to, for whatever reason, make things very difficult for newer people to bring content to the table because they haven’t “paid their dues”. This idea is incredibly stupid as there are literally no dues to pay, and we should welcome anyone with good ideas and talent no matter how long they have been a part of this theatre. I can’t help but feel like there is an old guard, almost, that still sees the theatre as theirs and is hesitant to bring in new blood. Whatever the reason, the director for this show has had some hard times getting this show even approved (it had been presented two times before and been voted down). Finally approved, the show went on.
For those of us who have been supporters for this director, and for new and contemporary content in general, this show has been a shining example of what we have been saying for years. Audiences have loved the show, coming back for a second time to see it and brought their friends with them. The most common comment has been “Yes, the show is kinda dark, but its’ so good!”
Our lighting system is in serious need of an overhaul and additional lights were rented and brought in for this show. The lights really made a difference in the look, feel, and execution for the show and made a perfect case of where we need to take things in house. These were pieces of LED lights that could change color with controls from the light booth, and follow actors across the stage. Before now, we have had just stationary lights with gel colors in them. Once they were set, that is just what you had. It is now time to set up to the plate with everyone else.
The most successful effect I think was the effect the show had on the people involved. There were many that were a part of the show that had grown worn down and apathetic to the theatre. The state of things before the show (please see lengthy paragraph above) had caused people to want to step away and go on to other things (myself included). The cast and crew on this show have been fantastic in working together and inspiring each other to do their best. We all discovered the love of the theatre again and we were all brought back home. Many new faces had come together from cities all around the county for a true collaboration. The show was something special.
After the curtain closed on Jekyll and Hyde for the final time, work began on set strike. A set that had taken weeks to be put together came down in about three hours. Costumes and props were sorted and put away in their places. The stage would soon be cleared for the next production, It’s a Wonderful Life. The closing of this show was an emotional moment for those involved. A joyous experience shared by all that had touched our hearts and made us excited for the future. As with all things, this too ended with everyone looking on to the future. This show, for me, will be one of my favorites. That’s saying something for working in theatre for over twenty years. I’m excited for the first time in a long time for what will be coming down the line, and that feeling itself is what I’m thankful for most.