Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Rachel Newman ’16

Paramus, New Jersey • Psychology View Profile

I'm Going WHERE?

My crazy, hilarious adventure through directorship and more

I would like to share with you the story of how, this past Saturday night, I ended up onstage in a leotard and tie-dye leggings.

As many of you might recall, I began the audition process at the end of last semester for the Center for Jewish Life's annual dramatic production, which I directed. This year, I chose Wendy Wasserstein's "Isn't it Romantic," a coming-of-age story about two twenty-somethings, one a traditional Jew and the other of no religion, as they struggle to strike a balance between independence and love. Auditions went really well, as did the majority of rehearsals.

And then, tech week.  

The show is looking beautiful with all of the lights, sounds, props and set (pictures coming soon!). It is the Tuesday night of tech, two days before opening night, and we are two scenes into a full run-through when... CRASH. Well, one glass prop breaks.

Alright, don't need that one anyway! And we will just pull out the vacuum and—wait, what? Okay, so the vacuum is broken, that's FINE. That's cool. We're creative. We have a roll of tape, we can get the stage mostly clean, right? Back to rehearsal, then.

And then, a knock at the door: "Hello, we have the space reserved from 7-9:30 p.m., there is an event happening in here." Alright, we can work with this... "and dining services will be dropping off food for the event shortly."

Okay, so we'll do Act I and come back, the food can go on the side of the stage. This works. I think...  

And so, we take two hours off and then come back to rehearsal. We are setting up the space to continue the run-through when my lighting designer tells me: "Rachel, something's happening with the lighting board." Long story short, thanks to my wizard of a lighting designer and amazing cast and crew, we somehow get through the day-of-technical-nightmares with one of the most amazing rehearsals yet.

And opening night is beautiful.

But it's not over yet.

Fast-forward to Friday afternoon. Our next show is Saturday night, and I get an email: Oh no. One of my actors is unwell. May not be back for the show. My mind races. Somehow, before sundown that night I have a replacement for the role; luckily it is only a minor appearance in the show. And we're in the clear... or so I think.

Not 24 hours later, all that is calm is erased. Another actor is unwell. This time, a huge role. The show is in two hours. 

But the show must go on.

Fortunately for me, this is a female role. Fortunately for me, I have seen enough rehearsals to recall all of the lines. Less fortunately for me (or, perhaps more), this is one of the zaniest roles I have ever come across. I have to sing and dance and wear crazy clothes... all in an overdone Brooklyn-Jewish accent and with two hours to prepare.

And I did. And I had a great time with it, too. And to think that just a few days before the show, I had felt like everything was over. I'd lost props, rehearsal space, actors, almost the lights and definitely my mind. 

I guess it only goes to show that it's the crazy adventure along the way that makes everything worthwhile.