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Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

performing in the heat

I hear people talking about the heat and saying it is so hot they don't even want to attend one of those free outdoor plays or concerts that are so available in our area.

I certainly understand the attraction to air conditioning when the temperature gets above 90-degrees and especially when it approaches 100. I also understand how being in a hot, humid environment can reduce the fun of a concert or a play.

Then I consider the performers who must expend all sorts of energy trying to make a couple of hours of our day a little brighter. When I do that I feel almost obligated to attend a performance. Let's face it, we have a glass of something liquid to cool off with. Those on the stage have hot lights beating down on them.

I've always been respectful of my theater friends who devote so much of their free time to appear in a play. An average rehearsal period is six weeks, four nights a week. Then you give up two or three weeks during the run of the play for performances.

I sort of understand because I've directed several productions so I realize the reward of creativity. I have to admit I've never considered being involved in such sacrifice during the few months we have beautiful weather.

Most of the shows being offered this month - "Annie Get Your Gun" at Albany's Park Playhouse, "Once Upon a Mattress" in Clifton Park and "Hamlet" in Saratoga Springs, just to mention a few - all started rehearsals in June and most will perform to or near August. Giving up most weekday nights and every weekend during the summer is quite a sacrifice.

Consider that while we sit on out blankets fanning ourselves and sipping a drink they are in heavy costumes with makeup on their faces, singing and dancing in hot, humid weather with powerful lights above them making everything harsher. And they have to smile.

Remember too, almost of all the talent you see on stage (and those you don't see backstage) aren't getting paid to be in the production. And if there is pay involved it barely covers gas expenses to rehearsals.

Certainly there is the reward of the audience's applause and the fun of performing but it is still a major sacrifice and a commitment of time. I don't know how they do it, or completely understand why they do it. I'm just appreciative of the fact they do do it.


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