So The Seafarer closed this past Sunday at The Arden; it seemed though that the show itself wanted to end a week earlier.
Everything about the show had run so smoothly up to a week ago. Rehearsals were great, tech was, in a word, easy. We had one slight sound problem with a speaker but we were so far ahead in lights, sets, costumes, and props that it didn't hold us up at all.
The performances themselves ran like clockwork; the actors consistently turned in great performances and the audiences loved it.
Then came the final week and all hell broke loose. That's a pun actually. In the play 4 guys gather to play cards on Christmas Eve in Dublin. One of the guys has brought the devil (he doesn't know it). Turns out, the devil is there for Sharky's soul. Sharky and the devil had played cards 24 years earlier and Sharky had won but the devil made him promise they would play again.
So, during the second act in the show, the actors play 3 hands of cards. For the last hand, we hid cards underneath one of the seats so the actor could palm them before dealing, thus ensuring that everyone had the proper cards for the final round. In order to make all this work, we needed two decks of cards. Well, we walked into work last Tuesday and our cards were missing. Our most important prop and it had gone missing. We found 2 other decks but they didn't quite match size-wise which made shuffling and dealing with them very difficult. We did get two matching decks the next day though.
But the troubles were just beginning: one of the most important sound cues didn't play one night; a mirror fell off a wall during a very quiet speech in another performance; and for some reason, the whiskey glasses kept breaking. Then, toward the end of the week, one of the actors lost his voice. He did have an understudy who did a great job but it wasn't the same. This show only has 5 characters and all of them are so intricate to the plot. The actor who lost his voice played Richard, the character with the most lines in the entire show.
Luckily, all the actors were able to handle the fumbles professionally and with grace. But by Sunday, these fumbles had leaked out to the front of house. My walkie talkie that connects me to the house manager broke. Without my radio, I have no way of knowing when to start the show. The Arden was also holding a raffle for a week long stay in Provence, France (not bad right?). The drawing took place after the final show but not before the raffle bowl holding the tickets broke during intermission. Luckily, they saved the tickets and were able to hold the drawing. I didn't win. Bummer.
As I got my new walkie-talkie, the House Manager said to me, "This show is trying to kill me." Truer words were never spoken. We're safely in port now and if I can't go to France, I can have a glass of wine and pretend.