AT THE MIC – Mike Delamont

Making magic

At the set up for tonight’s opening night performance, everything that could go wrong did. Sound, lighting, projections, and that’s not even including the moment where – five minutes before showtime, I got locked out of my dressing room – half-dressed. At this festival we have 15 minutes to set up our show before the audience comes in. On an average day that’s enough time if you are going fast enough – and nothing goes wrong.

Two minutes before the audience walked in I was sweating and screaming at the top of a hydraulic lift trying to get my projector into position because it had magically moved between tonight and our tech rehearsal a day ago. My technicians were running around setting up cords and lights, all of us were frantic and frustrated. My beautiful and talented wife, who co-wrote the show with me, is trying her best to calm me down but this tea pot is so steamed it’s about to blow!

Of course, when the audience came in, they had no clue about any of this. The goal is that the crowd sees the beautiful duck on the calm water, not the fast and flustered feet below the surface.

There is absolutely no reason that the show should have gone well, but it did. If I’m being honest, it might have gone too well. The horrific stress and panic of everything going wrong pushed aside any opening night jitters, and the worry that something could go wrong at any second during the show kept me aware and on my toes the entire time. It was a perfect storm of garbage. We fooled the sold out crowd, from the opening to a standing ovation, into thinking we knew what we were doing.

Sometimes it doesn’t go that way.

I have seen shows where the actors haven’t pulled through by the skin of their teeth and you sit and watch an hour-long train wreck in slow motion. It’s like hitting black ice. You have no control, and all you can do is hope it’s over fast and nobody dies. Well, sometimes shows are so bad you wish you died a little.

The very first show I put on for a paying public was in high school and it wasn’t good. We were not prepared and everything went wrong. The black outs between scenes went on for minutes as we loudly moved set pieces around and yelled at each other. To be fair the tickets were $5, but it was less duck on calm water and more turkey dying on the side of the road.

I read once that the heart rate and stress for an actor on opening night is equal to that of a person in a head on collision. I’m not entirely sure how they tested that theory, but I like it nonetheless. That much stress and we do it over and over again. Why? Because we love it. And on the nights it goes right – it’s magic.

 

Just Posted

REVIEW: A Doll’s House: Part 2 at the Belfry revisits fractured relationships

Sheila Martindale finds the characters in this imagined sequel engaging and accessible

Beloved musical The King and I coming to Victoria

Royal Theatre plays host to musical that was a smash hit on Broadway

Victoria Royals on a roll heading into WHL season opening weekend

Team looks to gain revenge on Prince George after pre-season loss to Cougars

Indian and Western music combine at the Mary Winspear

Harry Manx and Emily Carr String Quartet play Sept. 23

Trio of high-powered explorers unveiled for new NatGeo Live season

Royal and McPherson Theatres Society bringing next wave of presenters to town

Musicians take note at Victoria music industry conference

Emerging artists and industry professionals come together at Rifflandia Gathering

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

VIDEO: Young B.C. musician sings with the Foo Fighters

Stranger Than Fiction’s Madi Duncan from Port Alberni was invited up on stage at the Vancouver show

Victoria’s Ethiopian community welcomes in the year 2011

Area residents celebrate Ethiopian New Year on Sept. 12, based on the Julian calendar

Mansbridge: iconic Canadian newsman coming to Sidney

Former host of CBC’s The National part of Mary Winspear Centre speaker series

Could #MeToo lead to equal pay for actresses?

Salma Hyeck says these once-taboo topics are the talk of the town, leading to change both on- and off-screen

Ken Lavigne sings your favourites (and his) on Islands concert tour

Popular tenor performing seven concerts at six venues over six days

Most Read