Living the Wally Lifestyle
Pork Filled Opening Night
October 09, 1998
One of the things I really like about doing live television is the urgency of the deadline. My time slot starts at exactly 10:00 PM and wraps up at 10:30 PM. If we're not ready to go, we broadcast black. So when the clock hits 9:59:30, it is time to go regardless of what arise. It is this same adherence to deadlines that I really enjoy about live theatre.
About six months ago, our producer and director sat down with the Artistic Director and producers from our parent theatre group, the Northwest Asian American Theatre, in a back room of the Theatre Off Jackson and formulated a plan to have our first show open the week after the main stage show. The show was the West Coast premiere of, "Flipizoids" by Ralph Pena. At the time we only knew that we would have a seasonal Halloween theme, maybe some other references, and come up with just over an hour worth of sketches. Going into this process I can honestly say we had one script written and that was it.
Six months seems like an eternity when looking into the future. It is actually only 180 days. 4,320 hours in which to write roughly 30 sketches, whittle down to the funniest ones, re-write them until they become funny, cast them, figure out the props, figure out stage limitations and rehearse until we have every detail sort of fitting.
It seems so easy. Hey six months? I could build a house in six months. I might even have my room clean by then. Soon you find that the sketches do not really write themselves, people cannot always make the meetings and the rehearsals, and before you know it deadlines that seemed so far away are creeping up faster than you can believe. Papers have to be contacted, promotional photos need to be taken, all the while you still have no idea how long the show is really going to be because it isn't even close to being cast, let alone run in the space.
This is what we have been facing. My own sojourn with the Artists' Republic of Fremont to Burningman put a big crimp in the middle of rehearsing. I was out for nearly two weeks and when I got back the sketches had been re-written ... again. Other vacations took place, other show commitments happened. Finally, somehow, with far less rehearsal time than we really require, we came upon October 9, 1998. Opening night of the show.
Going into the opening we all wanted an extra week to rehearse, but there would be no extra weeks. There was no extra time at all. Despite unforseen disasters such as lighting problems, sound cues, and others which gripped us all the way up to our last rehearsal on Thursday, we finally pulled it together. Opening night was a success.
The end product is 22 sketches with a Halloween theme. We have increased our props, we have as many sound and lighting cues in one 8 minute piece as we had in our entire last show. It was all worth it because the audience loved it.
I am hoping that the next show we do will be far more streamlined when it comes to props and sound and lighting cues. Now that we just put out the "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" show, I want to do a "White Album." What I mean by that is now that we have this prop/light/music heavy show, I really want to do a streamlined show where artistic license and suspended belief become our props. I am not comparing our show directly to the Beatles except in the sense of that "Sgt. Pepper" was an excellent album, employing everything but the kitchen sink, and the White Album was simple, elegant and as good in every way. I want to do a "White Album."
If you live in the Seattle area or will be visiting soon, stop on by and see the show. We will be running every Thursday and Friday at 11:00 PM until October 24, and every Sunday at 7:00 PM until October 25. It runs an hour and some change and it only costs $6.00. The address of the Theatre Off Jackson is 409 7th Ave South in the International District. Call (2206) 340-1049 for more information. Tell them Wally sent you.
Ask for me after the show. I would love to meet you.
Follow Wally on Twitter
© Copyright 1995-2008 by Wally Glenn. All rights reserved unless otherwise noted. Hosting provided by GetWally.