Well, opening night came and went with relatively few hitches. The facility does not have a headset sytem, so communication between the booth and backstage is a conundrum. We were resourceful and relied on our cell phones, but nonetheless had a few missed cues and whatnot. Even so, the audience (about half full, not bad for a Thursday night show in pouring rain) seemed to enjoy it.
Last night, however, saw the cast with an improved energy, an audience that, while not numerically superior, was far more responsive, and a performance much tighter and error-free. An acquaintance of one of the castmembers told me afterward that he'd seen a professional production at another Seattle theater and that The Dining Room was a superior production in every way. Now I haven't seen the production in question, but they are a professional company and a respected bulwark of Seattle's theatre community. So his comment made my year, not out of any sense of malice, but because I've basically been in a creative isolation tank and had no objective barometer regarding how good our show was. The audience at last night's show (including some Pandemonium Players) was really thrilled with it.
Not bad for an old hack who hasn't directed for the stage in over a decade.
Now comes our long day. I will be gone from 1PM to 10PM. Two shows. Then a matinee tomorrow, and we strike the set and call it good. As one of the Twelfth Night boardmembers remarked last night, "we're paying the price for being first." That means we're doing a fall show by a lesser known playwright (at least in these parts), in a facility which could really be more patron-friendly in terms of access and signage and is set up more for live music and DJs than a theatrical run - and, quite frankly, Seattle theatre patrons don't know it's even here. Once word gets out that good theatre is happening here, it will no doubt become a destination. In the meantime, I don't know if this show will break even, and I was prepared from the outset that I might be a convenient whipping boy for anything that went wrong with it, but last night's performance was so worth it.
Next week Tyler and I have a conference at his school. He's not being challenged, feels bored and like the work is remedial, and as a result is becoming a barrier to other kids and their learning. He's been on a waiting list for another middle school since the beginning of the school year, but no progress has been made. And I'm afraid simply switching the physical location of his school misses the point. So the two of us began a search for alternatives. I liked the alternative middle school affiliated with the place he and Kayleigh went to preschool, but it's private, and the tuition is out of the question for a guy who isn't a project lead at Microsoft anymore. Then I ran across a state-based virtual academy, where he would have all the challenge and requirements of a brick-and-mortar public school, with the added benefit of a flexible schedule and personalized curriculum. He will still go on field trips with other kids, he will still get PE, he will still be held to WASL standards (actually, academy students are held to higher testing standards). But he will be able to track his progress online and really drive his own education for the rest of this year and perhaps next. I'm not looking at it as a permanent solution, but if it works, it may well be. And the important thing is, HE'S EXCITED about learning again.