Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Magic of the Dressing Room

Much has been said and written about the magic of the stage... that fabulous fusion that happens when you add lights and costumes and sets and sound to the work the actors have been doing on a bare and dusty stage for weeks. There's no doubt that it's exciting.

But often there's a kind of magic that happens for the actors in the dressing room. Suddenly, after weeks of rehearsals where there is a bit of chit chat before and after being on stage, where actors who aren't on sit quietly backstage or in the house looking over lines or reading books or occasionally in whispered conversations... suddenly, they are in a dressing room together for an hour or so each night before performance. There's hair to be done and make up to apply and bonding to occur. It's when you find out about the quiet people in your cast. It's when you find out a LOT about the not so quiet people in your cast. Jokes are told and laughs are shared and hardships are commiserated.

Occasionally a cast will manage to create cohesion during the rehearsal process. But far more often it happens under the bright lights of a makeup mirror, as everyone prepares to work together to pull this thing off. And even if you have a small part, you suddenly feel like a vital part of the show.

9 comments:

Aliki2006 said...

I have always loved the behind-the-scenes parts of theater and musicals. When I was in college I got to spend lots of time in dressing rooms and I always loved the magic of the time before a show.

Indigo Virgo said...

I was listening to an interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman on Fresh Air yesterday in which he discussed preparing for roles, specifically in Doubt and Capote. It was interesting and I thought of you, would have liked to have your reaction.

Mad said...

I remember taking Miss M into the dressing room before The Rover last spring to see all the actors in their wigs and dresses. For Miss M, the moment was nothing short of magic.

NotSoSage said...

Those make-up mirror lights are bright enough to bring out even the smallest wrinkles, eh? Interesting.

Kyla said...

I've only been in one play, but that really was when everyone came together, not as their characters in the play, but as their characters in life. Fun.

Kat said...

That was honestly always one of my favorite parts of being in a show. The excitement in the dressing room as you got into costume and makeup. Blasting music and warming up. Everyone in such a good mood. Just the anticipation of it all. I loved it.

Thanks for taking me back. :)

Chaotic Joy said...

Oh I really loved this. I am a wee bit jealous of your life.

No Mother Earth said...

I love how the dressing room feels like home.

Woman in a Window said...

Lovely! How lucky you are to be a part of all of that.

I was able to go backstage with a friend who was part of the National troup that did Phantom up here a few years ago. It was like a more poignant movie rolling in my brain, walking back there and seeing the real people behind the characters as I walked room to room to meet them, at least half of them naked and yet willing to say hi over their shoulder or shake my hand. I'll never forget it!