I think I almost had a heart attack last night. I know it looked that way.
The room was very warm for the closing performance of AND THEN YOU DIE. I was sweating profusely, and several times out of breath. Apparently my coloring had Kelly worried. So now you know that.
Having this opportunity to further develop this piece has been extremely useful. Up until last night I was making internal edits (sorry, booth people) ripping out text that was redundant, finding new meaning for the same words.
It is a shame reviewers do not have time to return to productions with such brief runs. One of Christine Howey's main points about this evening of plays is that the tale of running a marathon does not rise to the emotional heights of coping with perinatal demise. True enough. And in the original run of AND THEN YOU DIE, and in fact at the beginning of this run, there were passages that were weighted with angst that just ... fell away as the run continued. I found humor where there had been doubt, and the audience responded. I doubted myself, and doubted text. I made it work, or I changed it. And now that we have closed, I am ready to open.
My mother-in-law (she of I HATE THIS) has been that earlier play several times, but was introduced to AND THEN YOU DIE last night for the first time. She thought they worked together marvelously. And I think, at last, they do.
My wife realizes she cannot speak objectively on either work, but said this morning that she feels that AND THEN YOU DIE is more artistically adventurous. One last night commented that she couldn't understand how I was able to switch so fast and so cleanly from one character to another. It feels second nature. I know these works better than any plays I have ever performed in. The language is instinctive, the voices are inherent, my brain no longer concentrates on what comes next, but who I am in the moment - and how I am relating to my audience. My very, very close audience.
By the end of I HATE THIS last night, I was depressed. I was thrown by a walk-out, and self-conscious for the rest of the show. By the end of AND THEN YOU DIE I felt triumphant. Sweaty and triumphant.
If I cross the finish line ... I win.