The thing about rehearsals: when you don’t know what your role is yet and often sitting through six takes of the same scene, 3 hours stretches for a long time. I remember one day we had to practice in the main sanctuary. We couldn’t hear directions or the music cues as we tried to get through Jesus’ miracles scenes.
“You’re getting me a little frustrated,” one of the other disciples told me. “When I try to joke around, you get in super-serious mode. Then in a flash you’re laughing with the guys. What’s up?” “It’s a tough balance right now,” I told him. “We want to have fun, but we’re really trying to listen to the directors and make the most of our time. We just have to press on.” Which we did – some pressing on under extreme pressure.
There was Katie, the warring demon who tore a muscle early on and needed crutches; still she showed up at nearly every practice, often on very strong pain medication. [As an aside: we constantly prayed for those injured, and at the last rehearsal Katie shared that she’d recently gone in to a routine exam feeling a lot better. Her doctor ran tests and documented that her muscle had “grown back”, which had to be a miracle!] Hannah, one of the Jerusalem dancers, also hobbled around after an accident. Many faced minor illnesses and exhaustion throughout those nine weeks, yet God sustained us.
I came in one Monday night with what I thought was a small fever. Even after lots of Sprite and prayer, the queasy feeling wasn’t letting up. Thankfully I was near a restroom (and between scenes) the first time I needed to throw up. I should’ve left then, but I seemed better. The second time wasn’t as clean. Just as the Garden Scene ended, I felt the sickness come on. I ran through the double doors backstage, heading for the sink at the café.
But I didn’t make my goal. I splattered the floor just a few yards from the sink. It was cleaned up with some help, though I had to take my robe home for cleaning. 2,000 years ago, maybe the disciples had to occasionally run a “heavy wash” cycle too.
The really remarkable fact of The Crown is how smoothly practices and preparation went for 11 certain days… when primary director Jordan, at least five centurions and a disciple left on a mission trip. I mean, there would only be one day after they got back before performances would begin – and we still had a long way to go.
But the other directors picked up the slack. Director Amanda led the blocking and hands-on direction, while John (aka Jesus) pulled in Pastor Bill to help with calling cast members who were late – of course, I never got one of those calls. : j
Things started to come together quickly. Right before the first showing, I rushed to Wal-Mart to get little toy fish. You see, Peter and I liked the fishing poles we got for our scene where Jesus calls us. Though it wasn’t historically accurate, they said we could keep ’em if we located some fish for our lines. It ended up getting a few laughs.
Now if you multiply that one set item by 300, I think that’s how many things the stage crew had to watch and ensure were in the right place at the right time – for every performance.