That went fantastically well. The performance was great, the audience gave very useful feedback on the piece and where to go next, and everything went incredibly smoothly. We had an audience of about thirty, which is pretty good for thirty minutes of opera in a library auditorium during the first winter storm of the year. We made high quality audio and video recordings (three cameras!) and should be able to make a strong performance video, as well a good promo trailer for use moving the piece further down the field.
Afterward my grandparents hosted a reception a little ways from the venue. Everyone came over except Jody, who had a sinus infection and played fantastically despite it, and who we sent off to bed, and Robert, who had another show last night, where instead of singing and acting and playing piano, he was acting and playing the cello. How they do this sort of thing, I do not know, I just am grateful they fit my project in!
One of my big challenges now is to keep the energy going on the project. Speaking of which, I think I’ve finally found a practical use for Google Wave! I put all the notes we got at the talkback and some things that came up afterward into a google wave, and hopefully the creative team that worked on the reading will be able to participate in thinking about where the project should go next, and what I can do to make their lives better next time around. One thing I already know I’m going to do – bigger measure numbers. I was a bit surprised by how much in rehearsal everyone simultaneously leaned forward to squint at the paper, especially as I was doing it too.
After the reception we tried to get Ian to stay in New York and hang out, but he had to go back to Yale – they may have wanted their marimba back for stuff. When I got home I wanted to celebrate, but I actually couldn’t move enough to even order delivery food. I just sat in a chair barely awake until it arrived, then went to bed. Today I’ve been sleeping and thanking people and maybe doing a little clean-up on my life after the mess I let build up while I was focusing on the reading.
It’s also worth noting that this was a big financial investment for me. The reading cost a lot, and I had to restrain myself from calculating how many dollars per minute of music, or how many dollars per audience member I’d spent. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the project alive and raise some money from grants, contributions or ticket sales. That way I wouldn’t have to pay quite so much, and we’d be able to pay the performers at least a small fraction of what they deserve. Working at Meet The Composer every day just drives home for me how important it is to pay people what they deserve. And while the commitment of these performers to the project is flattering, the pay issue makes me a little sick. It’s deeply important to me personally to be able to pay artists what they’re worth.
I’m really happy with how the reading went. The basic question for me was “does this concept actually work?” and though there are plenty of things to improve after the workshop, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. That’s extremely gratifying, as Summer’s Twilight is really a mission statement piece for me. It represents a giant leap towards the kind of writing I really want to do, and to know that it makes people laugh and makes them clap at the end is a huge validation of all this work I’ve been doing. Now I’m going to get back to the whole ‘resting’ thing – maybe I’ll just play mario, or actually start working on something else……