From The Wings of 39 STEPS #roc #geva39

“On Wednesday night, I had the rare opportunity of seeing a show behind the scenes – literally! I had jumped on this invitation from Geva to get a backstage appreciation of the effort it takes to sustain the energy of a show, and luckily, I was the only visitor this evening. Theresa Campbell, the assistant director (and one of the talented cast members of All Your Questions Answered), met me in the lobby and escorted me to stage left just after the train scene in Act I. She directed me where to stand so that I would be invisible and out of the way, yet still be able to see the action on stage.

It was fascinating to observe the assistant stage managers and props people, all dressed in black (some with Zorro-like black masks), scurrying around, talking to each other softly, listening to the voice of Frank Cavallo (the stage manager, who was out of sight, calling the cues to everyone) in their headsets (what did theatres do before wireless communication?!), using flashlights to check props and costumes. There were more people backstage than on, helping the actors in and out of costumes and wigs (it was wonderful to witness Aaron’s transformation into Mrs. Jordan, as he nonchalantly applied lipstick in the dark while someone dressed him and adjusted his wig) and readying props and sets.

I particularly enjoyed watching the actors perform the puppet scene – yes, they are actually lying or crouching on the ground, working their marionettes, in addition to providing the voices. I didn’t want to interfere with the actors’ concentration by waving like a groupie, so I behaved myself (although they did recognize and smile at me…). I will admit, though, to feeling a bit like a groupie – I’ve watched the show evolve from words on a page to action on a stage – and I was silently rooting for them as I stood there, willing the audience to laugh at the right moments, and feeling relieved when they did. And I found myself rooting for the crew as well, to get the curtain closed without hanging up on something, and not to have the fire alarm go off accidentally (because really, who pays attention to those instructions from the fire marshal at the beginning of the show?!).

I can’t wait till this weekend when I take my husband and sister-in-law to see it for their first time!” – Maggie Symington

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