Crime & Punishment is closed. In the next few days, the set will be demolished. It's already fairly cleaned out; I walked through it the other night, probably the only one in the building, and said my quiet goodbyes. This production was a remount of last year's Fringe show, but it's unlikely to receive a third remount in the future. So, in an important way, the show is gone forever.
I mean, that's true of all shows. They're ephemeral; that's the main thing that keeps theater relevant even after a half-dozen spectacular inventions in the field of entertainment and information dissemination. Movies, TV, Radio, uh, the printed word. If we have the money and the time, we can do literally millions of things other than go to a play. But live shows HAPPEN, whereas movies and such EXIST. Same reason people go to concerts rather than listen to music at home for much less cost and hassle. But when the action is happening in front of you, done in person and in that moment, it gains an immediacy and importance that you lose if it's something you can pause to make a sandwich. Every live theater piece I've had has become a memory the moment it closed, never to be revisited as it was, whether it's Crime & Punishment or A Midsummer Night's Dream.
But A Midsummer Night's Dream can happen again. Different cast, different circumstances, different performance space and different me performing, but the base script itself can happen again. Company-created shows can't, not really. The Upright Egg Projects, Valhalla, C&P, were made and stamped by the people who were there, both onstage and off. The scripts still exist and can be done again, theoretically. But not really. They'd become new scripts, by virtue of the voices used to express them.
But Crime & Punishment was something new for me. I had lunch with a friend during rehearsals, and he asked if I'd ever done something with this sort of immersive environment before. I honestly had to reflect. Because although it feels like I have, I haven't, not really. I mean, every Haunted Basement has elements similar to it: direct interaction with audience, immediate adjustments to performance based on who's in the room and the attitude they're bringing. But HB isn't really a show; it's a world, a mood, an environment in a pure sense. It's pure attitude, not attitude in aid of another goal. And I've done company-created work before, plenty of it. But even when it contained serious moments of breaking the 4th wall, that 4th wall was THERE. It has to exist to be broken. C&P didn't have it to start. Everyone was in the world, as present and involved as they allowed themselves to be. We made the world, we shaped it, and they had to navigate it. It was visceral and wonderful in ways I didn't expect.
And it wasn't diminished by the fact that I was barely there. I was present at all performances, but for the majority of them I was on the phone, calling in, having audio interactions with maybe a dozen or so patrons out of as many as 80. I'd be seen midshow by 3 or 4, who came back into the Tea Room or who I went out to nab. And everyone saw me as the show began, when I gave them part of the curtain speech as they were led in, and most saw me after, offering food and business cards on a tray to the exit line. But I wasn't there for the scenes, not really. Even the few shows where I was switched to a $100 man due to audience needs, I was a sherpa, a guide, not a participant. But I still felt like one, felt like a vital part of the world, even from my entirely supplemental role. A tribute to the quality of the production, or my professionalism, or my arrogance. The cast had a rapport, and that's broken, and I'll miss it.
I'll miss this show, and I'll miss these people, as we were. But as with every graduation, all I can do is mourn the loss and move on to what's new.
( The List, Day 857 (5/8); 32/101 DoneCollapse )