Thursday, October 7, 2010

Totem Premiere in Amsterdam

The routines of opening the show in a new city are slowly becoming clear to me. Here is the way it works:

5 or 6 days before the show opens - Artists Call. They are expected on-site to set up the Artistic Tent, have meetings, and begin training. These first days are a light schedule - they're on site for a few hours each day, home in time for dinner.

Day before Premiere - Dress Rehearsal. They run the entire show exactly as it will be performed, for an audience mainly of friends and family. It's still necessary to get tickets for this show, but it's not usually a completely full house. Everything is the same, even the pre-show announcements, 30-minute intermission, and merchandise sales.

Premiere - tickets are in high demand, but most of the artists and key staff expect their family to be able to attend. The mood on-site is festive - everyone gets dressed up, and the cafeteria prepares an especially extensive and fancy dinner - candles & flowers on the tables, etc. Tonight's included a big dessert spread and the largest cheese wheel I've ever seen up close!

After Premiere is when things settle down to normal. Families will be allowed on site now - up till Premiere, wives and children are off-limits on the site, except for school attendees. I believe this is mainly to keep the site as focused and uncluttered as possible - and in many cities, there will still be a good amount of construction happening on site in the week before the show.

The site in Amsterdam is open and spacious. It is, of course, quite far from everything - a good 5 miles from Central Station, the tent is in the southern part of the city, and a 15-minute walk from the nearest metro stop. We are adjusting to this new situation - families are taking turns transporting kids back and forth (the trip can take almost an hour). And they have a shuttle bus to bring the artists home after the show at night. But even with that, and the fact that Greg's shows have an earlier start time here - 7:30pm - he still won't be home until after 11pm.

We attended the Dress Rehearsal last night, but are not attending the Premiere this evening. The Dress Rehearsal was marvelous. So good to see the show in its complete form! There was one artist out with an injury, but his parts were covered by other performers. All of the acts were, as far as I know, full casts and full versions, no modifications. Everyone was well-rested from break, although a few performers complained they felt stiff, not quite back in the swing of it. From the audience, this was not apparent - everyone seemed radiant.

I got chills when Nakotah first appeared onstage, which made me realize how much I have come to love this show, and the people in it. And I know that Totem's music will live in the hearts of our whole family, for a long, long time.

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