Wednesday, August 1, 2012

...Like an airy spirit go...

Was it all just a dream?

Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in another of Hubcity Theatre's performances. This year, we did A Midsummer Night's Dream for our yearly Shakespeare in the Park staging, and I took on the role of Puck, Oberon's jester. Funnily enough, my husband, Brad, assumed the roles of Theseus and Oberon, meaning that he was the one I had the most personal interaction with--and sometimes it got a little violent!

For a little while, this play was less like an airy dream and more like a nightmare, and I'll tell you why.

We had a condensed rehearsal schedule. And by this, I mean that in early July we were having about 5 rehearsals a week, on top of what we all do in our normal lives. I rope myself into doing this every summer, even though I value my free time more than most. This year was a little more strenuous that previous years, since we had to be in rehearsal so much more leading up to it. All of my free evenings were taken by rehearsal and, more often than not, I would go straight home from rehearsal, go to bed, and then get up the next morning to start all over again.

Somewhere, in the shuffle of losing free time, frustration over various play-related things and extreme physical exhaustion, I managed to completely lose myself. Around dress rehearsal time, I started having fun. When opening night in Sackville came, I was back to enjoying the process. When opening night in Moncton came, and 215 people showed up to watch the show, that's when the dreamlike quality of the experience started to kick in.

At closing night, we removed our (considerably sweat-laden) costumes for the final time and let out a collective cheer. We had done it. It had been a roaring success. Long, late rehearsals in mosquito-filled parks had paved the way for what was truly a fantastic show. The cast and crew ushered their way to our house for the cast party, where we ate ourselves into a stupor and reminisced about some of our favourite parts of the play. We talked late into the night, and when we went to bed, we woke up the next morning, finding it suddenly over.

I'm an introvert. I don't really like hanging out with people. I like my space. But if you expose me to a situation long enough, I will gradually warm up to it, to the point of enjoying it. I become, for a brief week or so, an extrovert. And right now, I find myself missing the people I met and spent so many hours with this summer. I've even had dreams about this play, and I'm left wondering if it really happened. I find myself liking posts on Facebook and staring longingly at pictures, and looking in every direction for a chance at stumbling across some of these people when I'm out in public.

When I'm exposed to a situation like that, I go from resisting it to embracing it. I'll spend the week thereafter in a fog induced by the glory that was the performance week. I'll randomlyrealise little things, like "hey, a week ago was our closing night in Sackville" (it was!). The days will slip on and the reminiscing will finally disappear for now, to hopefully be brought up again next year.

I had a dream ("past the wit of man to say what dream it was") that I spoke some of my lines, then flew into the air. It was a brief dream, but its magical qualities reminded me, in waking, of the week that had passed so quickly. A week of adventures in Sackville, moving on to Moncton and praying for good weather. And then, it was back to reality, and back to work, for me. That fleeting, beautiful, dreamlike week.

In the retail world, we're suddenly hearing talk of "back to school" and "fall collections". But it's only August! We still have about a month and a half of summer left! Just in the past few weeks, the heat has reached its peak. It seems sad that we spend our remaining summer days wishing the summer away, especially since it's such a short season in this part of the world. We are but in midsummer, meaning we have the rest of the summer ahead of us yet. Embrace it and find that lingering flicker of magic. It's not over.

Photo by Albert Arseneau. For more information about Hubcity Theatre, check out their Facebook page.

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