An Iliad officially opened on Saturday night, and, with that, Undermain’s 29th Season is at last underway. Fans of the arts are accustomed to thinking of openings as glamorous affairs. As staffers we, too, look forward to these events — marking our calendars and planning for the thrice-yearly celebrations. But as with any great party there is a great deal of hustle and unglamorous work behind what one hopes will seem an effortless success.
Quick illustration: any heavy rains flood into Undermain’s space. The water leaks into our booth at the back of the theatre, occasionally pooling under auxiliary costume storage. On Saturday night, while one team cared for the complex organization of house seating (think of all the laughs you had doing the seating chart for your wedding, and you’ll get the idea), another small group bailed probably thirty large buckets of water from the belly of Undermain.
(Dylan, Colleen, and Stephen after the flood. Notice how nicely the first two are dressed)
We’re thrilled, as well, to offer a small reception for friends and staff after the show, which generally culminates in a champagne toast. For Events Coordinator Liz Acklin, the long planning period to put together this celebration climaxes with the furious preparation of our kitchen and concessions space. Instead of watching the show, Liz and several of her co-workers congregate to dress tables, fill flutes, break out the fancy dishes, and spoon out the tasty cheeses. You’d be amazed how fast they can do the job – especially on last season’s The Birthday Party, where a second intermission required them to get all the work done during a thirty-minute final act.
(Liz’s spread and decorative flowers in the kitchen)
The toast, of course, is a longstanding Undermain tradition, with heartfelt speeches acknowledging the artists and supporters who make our work possible. Occasionally the spirit moves someone to speak in strange ways, as with the infamous NSFW toast to having a good time, delivered opening night for The Shipment. Fortunately for those with sensitive ears, An Iliad’s reception was a tame affair. No doubt the small cast played a role in that.
Ryan with his girlfriend, Michelle. He’s smiling because he just gave the best toast of the night)
Now it’s all over — the wine drunk, the cheese devoured. Reviews are in and glowing
. Here’s hoping the rest of the season runs as smoothly as opening night.