Thoughts on Drawn Dead’s opening night

Drawn Dead’s very first night went… okay. I didn’t feel bad about it and I didn’t feel great about it. There are parts that worked well, there are parts that did not hit the mark and there are parts that need more work either way. Audience reaction was lukewarm: Some parts got a reaction and lots of parts where I hoped for a reaction did not.

I felt really good about the show after tech going into show one, and overall I still feel good about it though not as excited as I was after that tech run. I liken my current feelings to a football team feeling real good about their game plan, coming out firing on game day, doing some good things but largely not getting the results they want and going into the locker room at halftime down 10 points and needing to make some adjustments to a game plan they still have faith in.

That said, I knew this run would be a bit rough with some success. John Leith suggested I treat this festival as a workshop run and that’s not a bad idea. I see this run as an opportunity to make adjustments and grow on the fly. I decided that between shows I would find three small opportunities (outside of practice) to improve the show before the next performance, opps as simple as giving a certain scene a clearer through-line or motivation, or adding texture to a certain moment with a stronger defined choice. There’s certainly a lot I could clarify or improve, but it’s far more do-able and rewarding to focus on three little things than to try and fix wide swaths of the show or just get down on the whole thing.

If Thursday’s show is a little better in quality than Wednesday’s, even if overall it’s still not quite what I want, that’s a victory regardless of attendance or audience reaction. It’s like George Lewis’ take on excellence, that you give your best and try to do it a little better each time.

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