I hate opening nights. The first guy who decided to invite theatre critics to opening night I hope spends an eternity in some really warm place. The pressure is on to display your work at your best and it comes, in most cases, after a week or two of intensely hard work that finds everyone running on adrenalin, too much caffeine, and well, just running crazy. No show is ever perfect on opening night because of all of that, yet, artists continue to pull reserves out of some place and do amazing things. But that's our job, that's our biz, that's live theatre, and that's what we do. Fortunately, I'm surrounded by professionals who know how to get the job done, and at last night's opening of Striking 12 at Wayside Theatre, our artists came out in grand style. Steve, Sara, Vaughn, Heather, Malia, Steve Yaussi, and Katherine Yacko are the small team that run this show, and along with designers Til, Tamara, and Wes they took a very skeptical audience on a journey last night that blew some minds and lifted them out of their seats.
Striking 12 was and is a big risk for us at Wayside Theatre. It's not your conventional piece of theatre. It is hard to describe in marketing terms, especially in our area. Words and pictures can't convey how magical this piece is or what it is about. It sounds like a cop out, but you've got to experience it to understand it. Once you do, that team will give you 85 minutes of your life that will transport you and transfix you in only the way live theatre can. Striking 12 is a transcendent piece of theatre that combines music, storytelling, live performance, and your imagination to lift you out of your seat and every day life by reaching into your soul. I'm biased of course, but our production is not only musically exceptional, but visually compelling and heart stopping. When the story reaches its most dramatic moment, there was an entire audience sitting in the theatre holding their collective breath. When a show does that at Wayside Theatre in our intimate theatre, you can reach out and touch the stillness. The mystery, magic, and majesty of live performance becomes palpable as the marriage of performer and spectator consummates in ways that all of us who make our life in the performing arts hope it does each time we take the stage or begin rehearsals for a new show.
Last night that rare event happened, and everyone who was in that house got to live it. Throughout the show there were audible reactions to the moments that unfolded on stage as the audience responded to each surprise that Striking 12 lays in their laps. And there are many. That's the genius of the writing and composition, and also the skill and artistry our team brought to this production.
You need to see this one. You need to experience this one. You need to live this one. As an old, cynical, and increasingly tired pro, I can tell you that you don't get this experience that often in live performance. We've got it right here at Wayside Theatre for a month. You miss this one and it is your loss. You see this one, and you'll have the best 85 minutes of entertainment you've had or are going to have in quite some time.
Now we wait and see what the reviewers have to say. But in the mean time, make your plans, come see this show, and tell your friends that you're going to live some magic and bring them along.