The excitement of opening has past and now we are in it for the long haul here at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. The weeks after opening aren’t as calm as you might think as we have understudy rehearsals for all of the shows as well as fittings to make sure the understudies have costumes.
What is an understudy, you ask? Well each role in each show has to have a person to cover it in case the actual actor gets sick or hurt or has some other emergency that prevents them from being in the show. Our understudies are (for the most part) already acting at the Festival. They have to learn these additional parts (usually larger roles OR several smaller roles) in case they are needed to step in.
We have been rehearsing the understudies for the last two weeks. My rehearsals are just about done. I have a couple of music and dance rehearsals left and one more hour of onstage rehearsal for the big court scene in Merchant of Venice.
Now, one might think “oh this probably goes fast because the actors are already in the show and they know the blocking.” WRONG! The actors have been concentrating on their OWN blocking while in the shows and may not even be in the scenes with the character they are understudying.
… Did I mention these same actors are also participating in Camp Shakespeare, doing publicity things, Curtain Call luncheons, etc? Yeah, we all keep very busy here over the summer. Needless to say conflicts arise and the ladies who do all of our scheduling have a hard time making it all work. Luckily for us, our scheduling Stage Managers are super awesome and they make it work.
I am looking forward to being done with understudies. I know the actors, costumers and crew are ready for this to end too. But we all recognize the importance of having understudies and understudy rehearsals. After all, the show must go on.
On a personal note… my hubby and puppy are visiting this week! It is so nice to have them here when I get home from work. Husband Matt has seen Merchant of Venice and will see Much Ado this week. Next week we will squeeze in “Mackers” as we USFers affectionately call MacBeth. We have also been to Zion (we hiked the Narrows), Cedar Breaks, Brian Head, Panguitch Lake and the Petroglyphs. It’s always so much fun to explore out here and even better to do it with someone you love.