Cause Boojie Nights Are Always the Best in Town
Boojie Nights, Straight & Nappy's new show, previewed on Wednesday. I was so nervous all day, a total wreck. This particular project seemed really to be a shitfire to get to the stage.
First, there was trying to get together with everyone involved. This includes Kevin and Inda, who make up the group kevINda, and Straight & Nappy, and that includes our director Dre. We never did have a full meeting with all 5 of us there until last week, one week before we opened.
It was difficult to produce a show in which you never saw the participants or the material. Dre wanted Straight & Nappy to write all new material for this show but I didn't see how that was going to happen. We are all just too busy and I had to produce the show too. I thought my head was going to pop off. Everytime I mentioned to my co-creators about the heavy workload, they would all offer to help but no one ever really took initiative and did much. If I didn't go to folks and say this or that "needs to be done" than it wasn't done. Even Dre, our director, was slow in envisioning a way to bring a complete show together. He and I talked together on the phone and finally came up with the 3-in-1 approach to our show. We basically are doing a 3 act play in a one act time frame. Our three acts are kevINda's material, Straight & Nappy's material, and an improv set. In between these acts are short 1-2 minute scenes that feature both comedy duos together in 4 person scenes. **BLOG NOTE: I love Dre a lot. I had to say that because his wife is a frequent reader and my guest blogger.**
The next obstacle was the success of our last show's marketing. I think the novelty of our name and gay/straight blend has been exhausted in the media. No one is giving us the star treatment this time. I am lucky if I can get a reviewer on the phone. Editors are also burying our copy so that no one can find it, if they even list us.
I awoke feeling like a scared groom on Wednesday. I awoke at 5:30 am and watered the grass. Yeah, it was one of those kinds of days. I went over my lines a few times afraid that I may have forgotten them in my light sleep the night before. I resisted the urge to get blazing high and listen to the Doobie Brothers LPs that I had bought at a flea market in Missouri over the weekend. I knew that the best thing I could do was just stay calm and collected. So I walked around as if in a hypnotic state all day.
Our call was at the theatre at 4:30 pm. Straight & Nappy were to rehearse our new material from 4:30 to 6:00. kevINda and S & N would rehearse together at 6:00. The show was 8:00. When Steve dropped me, the nervous actor/writer/producer, off at the the theatre no one had arrived. I looked for my cell phone for the time, I haven't worn a watch in at least three years, but the phone was missing. I left it at home. I waited probably 10-15 minutes before I realized that my partner Rebecca and Dre were not on time. I didn't have my phone so I used the theatre's phone to check my voicemail. Sure enough, Rebecca was running late (nothing new). She said she would be at the the theatre by 5ish. I started setting up our show. I found the microphones we needed. Tested the lights. And I found some microphone stand that we needed.
kevINda arrived a little early, probably around 5ish, still no Rebecca and no Dre. They rehearsed on the stage while I interjected my unsolicited advice. I was nervous. Dre came about 5:30 and I was glad to see him. I showed what I had done technically and he took it from there. I assisted in finding another microphone and unsuccessfully getting patched in. Dre took care of that. Reb showed up at 5:40ish looking exasperated and frazzled but her hair looked great. I quickly got into general mode and started moving the troops into rehearsal. We actually finished early and I was feeling good about the artistic side of the show. Now about the audience...
Collectively, we have put up over 100 posters. There are postcards. We are listed in The Reader, TimeOut Chicago, and other local publications. At 7:30, there was not one single ticket sold. The downstairs theatre was filling up because they have a free show there. We hoped that we get some of that overflow but it was looking iffy. Charna, IO's owner, arrived with her two dogs to watch the show. I was so embarrassed that no one was there for the show. Around 7:40, Steve (my love) unexpectedly arrived. I told him that he should wait until the official opening on July 13th to see the show but he just wanted to be supportive. Charna told me that if she liked the show she would help us promote it.
We started the show a little past 8 pm and had around 7 or 8 people in the audience. I liked the show. I'd give it a B- for that preview but I think everyone will take it up a notch next week making it a sure fire A+. Now if we can just get some more butts in the seats.