Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Opening Night Rituals

The Actors check their props, do jumping jacks, sit in quiet contemplation.

Board Members unload bags of ice, unfold the legs of tables.

The House Manager mechanically stuffs programs: “Survey, Angels, Open, Close, One. Survey, Angels, Open, Close, Two…”

The Playwright arrived two hours early, and has not been still. I saw him in the theatre, shifting his weight. I saw him in the street, balanced precariously on the curb, inquiring truth of the horizon. I did not see him pass outside from within.

The Director paces, an unfamiliar nervous energy coursing through his veins: ownership, pride, a dash of fear, and a gallon of relief.

“They’re ready,” mumbles he.

People arrive: Faces to names. Bodies and souls flesh out the spaces between online correspondences.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to opening night of New City Stage Company’s world premiere production of Mac Rogers’ ASYMMETRIC!”
The Ancient Greeks debuted new plays as parts of religious ceremonies, and took as their subjects great heroes of mythic origin. 2500 years later, tonight, our players go through their rituals, our audience pours Dionysian libation, and everyone prepares to witness the protectors of our world entangled in a story of love, betrayal, and redemption.

We kneel at the altar of art, and make our sacrifice to the Muse for the realization of that which was always in the mind of its divine creator, and willed itself into existence in a moment of cathartic ecstasy, cultivated in a devised ecosystem of designers and performers, artists all.


Viewed from above, the floor of the reception room writhes like some Bacchanalian beast of tangled arms and disembodied eyes and mouths, laughing and talking. It is hot. Pockets of conversation form and dissolve as artists are congratulated, ticket-holders thanked, hands shaken, bodies hugged. Next door, the assistant stage manager cleans blood off the stage.

“It is accepted,” says the Muse.

ASYMMETRIC runs at the Adrienne Second Stage through June 10. See http://www.newcitystage.org/ for ticket information.

Kevin Rodden is a production assistant for New City Stage.

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