A Taste of Pie
Walking on to the stage the morning after a production set was struck is like walking into the kitchen after a family holiday meal. Leftovers are in the fridge and maybe a crumb or two are visible, just as onstage you might see a platform or a flat propped against the back wall, maybe to be used in the next show. It is a bittersweet sight, actually. The production was one of the most memorable you’ve been a part of; the meal a perfect blend of social interactions and tasty food and drink, and pie! In both instances, the cleanup brings a type of sad closing that everyone knows is inevitable, and yet we hunger for just one more bite, one more show. But as in every celebration, you take away something from every production that becomes a part of your growth as a family member, a friend, an actor, a set builder, a crew member. It’s a part of the magic and love that stays with you; that inspires you to do it again. You imagine what the next one will be like. Will there be new people to meet? Will we see old friends?
Quincy Community Theatre’s season opener for its 80th Season is SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. The directors, actors, musicians, and technicians have been doing the prep work that is necessary for every delicious production, be it in the kitchen, rehearsal hall, dining room, or onstage. It’s inspiring, the collaboration between the seasoned cooks and the rookie performers; each bringing their skills and enthusiasm for creating the meal. The invitations are out; reservations are coming in. The Box Office, or maybe a favorite aunt, is busy mapping the seating arrangements, changing them, yet again, and finally setting them. Onstage, the ingredients are blending together as each character is formed and relationships are strengthened. Backstage, a few weeks before opening you wonder if everything will be ready on time. Will the dinner rolls rise? Will the colors be right? What pie will be served? Just as the chocolate meringue might be sculpted, or the potatoes perfectly mashed, the construction crew is creating the eeriness of Mrs. Lovett’s meat pie shop, and the intricacies of the Demon Barber’s chair.
Occasionally, there are times when memories of our loved ones loom large as each step of the process reminds us of productions and meals past. We feel their spirit as we try to remember what we have learned from them; their pie recipes for example, or their system of putting together sets, lights,and sound. Anxiety abounds as we wonder if our production, our meal, will be like everyone remembers. We challenge ourselves to decide if we want to re-create their look, their style, their crust. We ultimately decide make our own pie; to create our own magic, just as they (Paul ) would want us to do.
The time gets nearer. Soon voices will be enhanced by the music of a grand orchestra; the salads, entrees, and deserts are perfectly positioned for the nose and the eyes. The doors open. The table is set. The house lights dim. Our families and friends arrive and the excitement is electric. A pause is taken, where we express our joy to be part of the event, and to say thanks to those who were an inspiration. The stories begins, the meal commences. The magic unfolds.
Hungry? Me, too.