Emily Williams '10
Performing for a sold-out theatre, the Godspell cast dances through the musical number "All for the Best."
22 February, 2008: Final Day
Today the entire Godspell cast and crew meets for a post-mortem talk-back session in Miller Auditorium. I arrive late, and I’m surprised by the number of people present. Students fill the first eight rows, at least. Students who each played a significant role in the success of the show. I’m amazed at the number of people these productions require. The audience, of course, sees only the cast members, but consider also the set crew, the lighting crew, the props coordinators, the costume designers, the musical director, the orchestra, the stage managers, the student director, and so on. Just crack open the show’s program, and you’ll find the first two pages full of names, each person integrally involved.
The second thing I notice, as I slip into the back row: the empty stage. Well, not quite empty. Now risers and random set pieces occupy the space. A coat or two of black paint erases the graffiti. The train, the newsstand, the staircases, the benches – all removed at the official take-down session after the final show. It’s tragic to watch the traces of your work disappear, as if it never happened. Ed mentions that theatre is ephemeral. Bittersweet, I suppose. On to new projects.
For a few moments, at least, we revisit our work, discussing our artistic choices, the behind-the-scenes processes, the audience responses. We’re pleasantly surprised with the success of the show, pleased that our modern renovations to the traditional Godspell generated such excitement. Pleased, too, that the script remained, for the most part, intact, and we refreshed it with new humor. Ed mentions Trisha’s ability to record choreography – a blessing. (Indeed, as my incoherent scribbles wouldn’t have sufficed.) Matt mentions the unusual mix of people the show incorporated – many non-theatre majors who had never acted on stage in college. Rena appreciates the successful distribution of the “Jesus” character, how innovative – and yet, quite natural – to share the part among the actors. As we all, hopefully, emulate him in unique ways.
Before leaving we pass smiles and hugs, content with the product of our work. I’m grateful for the experience. Grateful for the new outlet for creativity, grateful for knowing such artistic, energetic people, grateful to participate in inspiring theatre, grateful that we can give it up as an offering.
Thanks, everyone, for the memorable experience. Thanks to the audiences, too, for sharing the story.
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