The Very First Time

This weekend marks the production of Sputnik: A Love Story, here in Nashua, N.H. at the Jean Streeter theater on Court Street. It culminates a long rehearsal period and hard work of a director, cast and crew. Including me– I pitched in to heft flats and lights into the house and will likely be there to heft them out when the show ends on Sunday.

But, for now, sitting here on a Friday afternoon on the eve of the weekends work, I can think about what it’s taken to get to here with this script. There is really nothing so fleeting as the production of a play. In our small town, we’ll be quite happy to show it to five hundred people. When it’s over, it’ll only be a memory jogged by a few pictures and maybe a from-the-back-of-the-room video. Theatre is the ultimate now art form. It exists only now. It demands reflection and hope for a new production elsewhere.

The lead times are so long. It took almost two years from proposition to production here. Rehearsals, and tweaking, and interpretations and plans and alternate plans all lead up to this.

Still, there’s nothing quite like the first time it’s on its legs, under the lights, with a set and costumes and memorized lines and critiques and blown cues and notes and congratulations. All those elements that come together for a scene that is cooking well enough you can feel the heat. That’s happened a couple times already in what will be a brief lifetime. That was it. That was good.

I thank my cast and the crew and my director, Micheal, who has discovered things I didn’t know were in there. (Who knew those pauses would work so well?)

So, raise a glass with me in a salute to first times. Cherish it. It will never again be quite the same.