Audi-drenaline (n) - a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands of actors, esp. in conditions of high excitement in association with the addition of an audience to a performance situation
For example, Erika could not get over how much her audi-drenaline enhanced her performance last weekend.
Okay, enough with the fake vocab lesson. We opened Refuge last weekend and I guess I forgot how having audience changes the caliber of my performance but MAN did I experience it in full force during the run. It all started on Wednesday night at final dress when the cast of WASP sat down to watch us. I could already feel "the buzz" backstage during the opening scene but when I made my first entrance, I was hit with the current and I became Becca. To quote Kaufman and Ferber's Stage Door, "But in the theatre, when you hear that lovely sound out there, then you know you're right. It's as though they'd turned on an electric current that hit you here. And that's how you learn to act." I mean that's it. Right there. An audience creates electricity. It's almost as if you're just backstage, minding your own business, running a few lines in your head when all of a sudden, you get a tingling feeling in the bottom of your stomach. The tingling starts to spread through your veins into your arms, your legs, your toes, your fingers, your lips, your eyes until BAM you make your entrance onto the stage, into the world of the play and your energy combines with the energy of the audience and all of a sudden, I'm not Erika, I'm Becca, and I'm here to take you on a journey for the next 60 minutes. Let's roll.
I'm looking forward to experiencing this again this weekend as we begin our second and final weekend of the show. The first weekend was amazing. I felt that I gave three solid performances and one decent one. After tech week and a four show weekend, however, I definitely needed a few days off and it got me thinking - what goes into keeping a performance fresh? We have an eight show run, but what happens when you have an extended run of a show? When I studied in London, I saw David Mamet's Speed the Plow with Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum and they were in the middle of a several week run. As you can imagine, there was a packed house (which actually included Chita Rivera - pretty cool). The thing that stands out most to me, however, is the difference in the performances. Jeff Goldblum was "acting" and Kevin Spacey was "performing" in a world all his own. His energy was coming from the audience while Goldblum was just up there, to do what he had to do. I remember on that day that all I wanted was to be able to use the audience and give a fabulous performance even if the conditions aren't just right. I mean, you can try and get 8 hours of sleep and eat a protein rich meal, and drink plenty of water, but sometimes your costume is itchy or the other actors aren't quite giving you what you need or you're tired or you're just having a bad day. I guess that's what makes a great actor, truly great, the ability to recreate a performance night after night for the audience, with the audience.
FORTUNATELY for me, my cast mates are fantastic. They're energetic and talented and always on their game. And we're a family and we support each other through the show. All I'm saying is, thanks audience for helping us through when we're a little sluggish. And with that, I'm ready to do four more shows this weekend.
We're SOLD OUT for Thursday night but we have tickets left for Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4 pm and 8 pm. Check out: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/116701 for tickets!
(L to R - Refuge Cast) Terry Torres, Krista D'Agostino, Nick Miller, Erika Geller
We hope to see you this weekend!!