I have never had an experience like opening this show. No matter what I had been told, what images I had seen, I had not truly appreciated what an immense thing I am a part of until that crowd arrived Friday night.
It is easy to see the audience from the outdoor “backstage” of the theater, and as I watched the stands fill, (and I do mean FILL), the reality began to sink in with a giddy buzz.
There is a moment, towards the beginning of the show, where I run down center stage with a bird on a stick (it’s more magical than it sounds I promise). In this moment, every night, I get to take in the audience, just beyond the soft focus of puppeteering. I don’t sharpen enough to pick out faces, but it is like peeking just beyond the veil of the performance. I feel a little surge of connection.
There was over six hundred people at each performance. I’m not sure I’ve ever performed for that many in a whole run. And the reactions! The crowd was so involved in the show. Not only cheering, but booing and roaring at every appropriate turn in the show. I felt so loved.
Even when I wasn’t on stage, watching the puppets I had put literal blood sweat and tears into take the stage was breath taking. When the Lyrebird took the stage, and rustled those troublesome feathers, and the crowd cheered, I was nearly in tears all over again.
In the circle after the show, we had endless people to express appreciation for. It went on and on, and I still didn’t feel like we had put enough gratitude out. It was too big for words.
I am so overwhelmingly proud, humbled and full of love. And I get to keep doing it! What a thrill!