I always chuckle inwardly when someone with limited knowledge of show business says that theater acting isn’t strenuous – that you only have to work two or three hours a day. Performing live may not be hazardous as going down the mine, but the expenditure of concentrated energy is highly challenging. My conversations this past Thursday night with the cast of Oslo, after their first preview in the Vivian Beaumont, illustrated this state of affairs.
We – actors, crew, LCT staff – were all mingling after the performance for the traditional first-preview buffet supper at P.J. Clarke’s, across the street from Lincoln Center. Each of the actors with whom I spoke conveyed that post-show combination of residual adrenalin, capacious appetite, and visible fatigue. The last quality is a result of their daily schedule at the moment: rehearsing all afternoon and performing a complex, exhilarating drama at night.
At the moment, there is also another factor: adjusting to the Beaumont. In a previous blog posting, I noted the adjustments made to the set from the Mitzi E. Newhouse, where Oslo played last summer, to the much larger thrust of the Beaumont. There are also changes to the actors’ blocking. At the supper, I asked one of the performers how he was adjusting to having to take two or three more steps to exit the stage at the Beaumont than at the Newhouse. “More like eight steps,” he responded good-naturedly. “I figure I’m getting an extra quarter-mile workout in every night now compared to last summer. I usually run a few miles during the day after we open. I don’t think I’ll have to do that with Oslo.”
Brendan Lemon is the editor of lemonwade.com.