I’m still in awe. I’ve been producing, writing, and directing shows for over 30 years now and last night’s opening night performance of Paul Slade Smith’s Unnecessary Farce was one of the most magical and memorable opening nights I will ever remember at Wayside Theatre or anywhere else for that matter.
When you start out on a show all the artists involved aim for a wonderful show and aim even higher still for that transcendent performance where the communion between script, performers, and audience creates a brief and ephemeral moment in time where all are joined in the joy of what the best of live theatre can offer. That happened last night. The audience was ready for fun, the cast was primed to give it, and BANG! It was like a chain reaction gone wild. Within seconds after the show opened you could tell it was going to be special.
But none of us knew how special. At several points during this outrageously funny farce the audience was laughing so hard and so loud that the cast could not continue. At several moments in the show the laughter reached such a level that it was impossible to hear anything. The cast was superb in their efforts and at the conclusion the audience spontaneously leapt to their feet in one of the most thunderous standing ovations I’ve seen in some time. We receive standing O’s quite a bit, but never, never, have I seen such joy and love as I witnessed last night.
Standing O’s don’t happen as often in comedy as they do in drama, at least in my experience. But last night’s audience was thrilled not only with the performers and the play, but they wanted to share their common joy of having just witnessed and participated in something magical.
Live theatre does not get any better than this. We all live for these moments in this business as it reminds us of why we do what we do. Thanks to Paul Slade Smith, the playwright, thanks to a wonderful cast doing amazing work, and thanks to all who participated in that magical and transcendent moment last night. Those who were there will never forget it.
More pictures here.