On Thursday 2 July, we opened “Stilted” at the National Arts Festival here in Grahamstown. Personally it was an absolutely thrilling experience which left me reeling with adrenaline. Setting up in just over half an hour was quite a mission, and as for the ridiculous ten minutes we had to pack up our big, bulky, fragile set… Well, I guess the important thing is we managed to get most of it out the way on time.
The show itself started out quite slowly – we were late because our set up was slow, and the actors themselves were still getting used to having over 100 people watching. But within ten minutes, Richard and Chris reached their usual peaks of awesomeness – superb comic timing, reckless risk-taking, seemingly-effortless improvisation, electrifying interaction both with each other and with the audience… Of course I’m biased. I’m their freaking Assistant Stage Manager after all.
But I think it’s safe to say that if, after watching their show 15 times in the past month, I still laugh, hold my breath and get goosebumps – they must be doing a damn good job.
Andrew Buckland, our director, will never cease to amaze me. He seems both human, in his no fuss, down-to-earth manner, and god-like in his directing approach, marketing skills, general awesomeness of supreme levels… Yes yes I am blathering. But ‘struth! It was great working with him, seeing both the amazing, sharp mind of the experienced theatremaker, and the ordinary behaviours of a man who drinks Chai tea with a spoonful of sugar during rehearsal breaks.
The entire “Stilted” crew has no time for celebrity egos or popstar attitudes – not to take away from the obvious talent of the performers and the director, it was great that they never treated any of the backstage crew as inferior worms crawling around their holy feet.It’s been such an enriching experience working with these people – I’m sure I’ll be blogging on and on about this for many more weeks.
Today, Friday 3 July, we had another show, which had a superb audience response (over 200 people, with full grins and shining eyes). The boys improvised around the new seating arrangements – at the last minute an extra row of chairs was added, minimising stage space in which to dance. Our backstage lights kept malfunctioning, the back curtain wouldn’t stay put, Rich got more bumps, and the show went on – right on – without missing a beat. This is why I love working with these people 🙂