Today we have our first guest post on the blog! The Faire has come and gone. And what an amazing adventure it’s been. Our good friend Valerie Bondura saw the show on opening and closing night, so we asked her to share her thoughts on being an audience member at both the beginning and the end of a run.
Seeing a show on opening night is a special kind of experience. Not
only are you excited to be experiencing this story for the first time,
but you have the added excitement of sharing that unique moment with
the actors. Because despite countless hours spent rehearsing and
preparing, there is something irreplicable that occurs when the
performers and the audience meet. Once everyone has entered that
theatre for the first time, and the actors have appeared on stage,
each moment is a new mutual creation in which everyone’s experience
depends on everyone else in the room. The shows that Fault Line
Theatre consistently puts up are the kind that pull you out of your
seat and engage you before you even know what is going on. The actors
draw you in, and the audience does the same for them. To be there for
the very beginning of that type of process, on opening night, is truly
As we all filed in to our seats on opening night of The Faire, the
energy in the theatre was palpable. People whispered excitedly, old
friends recognized one another and exchanged hugs, and all of us
looked forward to the performance we were about to see. Suddenly, as
though just another part of the general chatter, Olivier (played by
Grant Krause) stumbled on to the stage and added his voice to the din.
Though a hush fell over the audience, we never lost that sense of
being immersed in the show that that initial entrance imparted.
Nothing in the theatre had really changed, but suddenly we had these
new people to listen to, to laugh with, to react to. We were all
backstage together at a Renaissance Faire, complicit in all the
conversations the characters were having. That shared intimacy is, of
course, what made The Faire so funny. We were all in on the secrets
I had the chance to get in on the fun one more time on closing night
of The Faire. This time, walking in to the theatre, I was looking
forward to spending more time with these wonderful characters, who I
felt I had developed a bit of a rapport with. I worried for Olivier’s
addictive habits, felt for Angela’s artistic aspirations, wanted to
grab one of Ursula’s churros (and give her a hug), longed to cheer at
one of Drake’s fencing matches, and…well, with Tilly, I just wanted
to sit her down and make her take a few deep breaths. The actors gave
confident performances, and the audience responded in kind.
Maybe it was just because the last monologue is the most poignant, but
near the end of the show I thought I felt a collective nostalgia
settle in over the theatre, all of us realizing that this time
together was ending. The effervescence and promise of opening night
were replaced by a pride in a story well told and a solidarity that
can only come from the sharing of a performance. I feel fortunate to
have gotten to experience both sides of The Faire. It really
emphasized to me the two great things about theatre: the ephemerality
of an individual show and the strength of the intimacy it can create.
For a show is different each night it is performed, but the feeling of
the relationship created in that temporary space lasts long after the
Valerie Bondura is a PhD student in Archaeology at Columbia University.