Before last night's rehearsal for Summer Mummers, I stopped by a local restaurant to pick up some food for my wife. As I waited in line, a lady started to pass me, but stopped dead in her tracks. She said, "I'm sorry, you probably get this all the time, but you're that guy, aren't you?"
She's right, it does happen a lot. I can't count how many times people have stopped me, thinking that I'm Daniel Craig. She said, "You're that guy from the stage thing...Summer Mummers." I confirmed my identity, and she said, "You guys rehearse a lot, don't you?"
Yes. Yes, we do. There are four rehearsals a week. Dancers from 5:15 to 6:30, melodrama from 6:45 to 8:15, and Olio from 8:30-10:00. Some of our performers are at all three rehearsals. Compared to them, my load is pretty light. I rehearse at half of the melodrama rehearsals, and I'm bringing my own act to Olio, which means that I'm somewhat self-paced. But the lady at the restaurant was right. Overall, we rehearse a lot.
We are now into the second half of the Summer Mummers rehearsal process. We've rehearsed for three weeks. We'll rehearse for three more, and then open the show. It's a different mentality now. Think about your work week. When you hit Wednesday afternoon, it's the downhill slide. Some people are able to coast into the weekend. But for Mummers, it's the opposite. It's like taking that "hill," and flipping it upside down. We kick off rehearsals by careening down into the valley, 100 miles per hour, taking in the sights along the way. The second half is spent getting out of that valley. The engine has to work a little harder to keep going up the hill. The interesting sights and sounds are few and far between. The light at the end of the tunnel seems light years away, and it's somewhat obscured by dust, popcorn salt, and that annoying substance that gets everywhere and makes everything look like it came from the campiest circus on the planet...glitter. I hate that stuff.
Even when we're not rehearsing, we're doing other Mummers-related things. All of those giant mugs that people like to fill with their drink of choice? We have to load those in ourselves. The popcorn? Same thing. If you were to walk in to the Yucca right now and note how clean it is, that's because we cleaned it. On the weekends, you might see some of us around town in costume, filming segments for the mid-show films known as the Moviola.
We've gotten a lot done. We have a lot more to get done. On June 5th, that proverbial car will chug its way to the top of that hill. It will sputter and spew and honk its horn just long enough to get some attention. Then, it will go in the garage for a tune-up, a paint job, and a margarita.