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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Puppet Jukebox – Opening Night

Just did the first night of the show. Went by really fast. Some glitches. Lots of fun, nevertheless.

The show was scheduled at 7:30pm and our call time was 5pm, which I was late for. I certainly underestimated the traffic. Though I was only nine miles away from the venue, it took more than an hour to get there. That’s Los Angeles traffic for you. The first thing I did was look around and walk behind the curtains to see how they are connected, and where the entrances and exits are. The curtains and walls form a narrow passage around the stage so we could enter from several different directions. And there is a small room on the side for the people, puppets, and props not on stage at the moment.

Not much of a backstage. Pretty normal for a small theater.

Then we went through the rack of puppets making sure that we got all the ones we needed. And we made sure the costumes (for both the humans and puppets) were there. Jordan led a vocal warm-up. We started doing a run-through but that was cut short because we were out of time and some technical stuff still needed to be figured out. So we went back to the dressing room. Pretty soon after, Lara the stage manager came and told us that the door was open and the audience was let in.

And then the show started. Really, for me, it was a blur. There wasn’t much down time. I felt like I was on stage performing, off stage doing costume change for myself and the puppet, and then back on stage again. Over and over. Rinse and repeat throughout the entire show. Waiting backstage listening to fellow performers do their stuff and hearing the audience respond to that is actually something that I normally enjoy doing when I am not up, but I was simply too busy for that in this particular show. The wig falling off a puppet and an arm falling off another didn’t help either, but at least we were able to rig them back to good enough conditions fast. But hey, the audience wouldn’t know.

Perhaps I am making this sound less fun than it was, but don’t get me wrong. It was a lot of fun. We performed in front of a sold-out audience (the theater seats only around 50, but still) and really, I think it’s going to be fun no matter what happens. I mean, here are 50 adults who voluntarily paid 15 dollars each to see a bunch of grown-ups sing and dance with puppets in front of them. These are the kind of people that will have fun with the show no matter what, so you really can’t go wrong with that. 😀

And this is the kind of show where it’s great to sit in the first row. I was talking to Andrew after the show. He told me that he had some choreography that called for him to go to the side of the stage to sing to an audience member. He saw Chett, a former classmate, in the first row and decided to sing that part to him. I found that hilarious, because I also had choreography at the side of the stage, and gestured toward the same guy cuz I saw him there. Who knows? Maybe that would happen again in the three shows coming up if another former classmate ended up sitting there.

You know, I am expecting tomorrow’s show to be a lot more smooth. This is sort of what might happen with shows with short runs like these. There isn’t a lot of time to do tech rehearsals, so the opening night can be a little bit like a tech rehearsal and preview. I am sure it’s fun for the audience nevertheless, but you know, as a performer, you still want things to go better. Tomorrow, we will be more focused on putting on a good performance than just making sure things are happening on cue. We will probably have working microphones, which will help us sing over the music, but isn’t entirely necessarily given the small venue. We will have already gotten the jitters out, and will be more relaxed. We will be more familiar with the space, now that we’ve done one night, so we don’t dance into the monitor on stage or get lost looking for the opening between curtains.

Tomorrow’s show shall be a better one. Besides, it’s Friday, Friday, got to get down on Friday. Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend, weekend. Fun fun fun fun.

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  1. May 27th, 2011 | 7:28 am

    Hi Kelvin,

    Lots of memories with your description of the happenings throughout the show. Isn’t it fun when at the last second something breaks, or cannot be found, etc. and a quick solution has to be applied? At first you think people will note, but then things go smooth and you see people enjoying the show, and every moment becomes a motivation for the next one.

    Running, making sure of details, last second little adaptations, old walls and dusty curtains; time flies while the sun runs away outside, and you find yourself later with a sense of relief, accomplishment and excitement, specially when looking at the satisfied faces of the people when leaving the theater.

    Later, when people are gone and just the performers and crew remain, closing up and getting ready to go: “It was great, we did it…it was fun!” And some laughter when talking to each other and remembering those crazy little details and solutions, and some little mistakes while performing with its stingy flashy sweat that nobody notice.

    Why the air is so fresh when you leave the theater late night after the show?

    Have lots of more fun with the next shows my friend! And let the wonderful memories pile up in your performer’s bag. :)


    Alien Ghost’s last blog post..The Versatile Blogger Award

  2. May 27th, 2011 | 11:58 pm

    It definitely brought back a lot of memories from my college theater days!

  3. January 1st, 2012 | 6:11 am

    […] Michael’s more mellow style, and the class was a lot of fun. This eventually led to a show, Puppet Jukebox, that was performed four times in front of sold-out audiences. I’ve performed on stage many […]

  4. September 18th, 2012 | 3:08 am

    […] doing Puppet Jukebox last year, I was thinking a musical theater one would be the natural progression, but instead we […]

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