We have been through three incredible previews thus far. Previews are full runs of the show with lights and sound and all tech running as a performance with paying audiences who are invited to give feedback via paper surveys in their programs. It gives me a chance as director to sit in the back of the theatre and watch the actors juggle their many roles in front of a large audience (about 300 people saw the show this weekend) and to gauge how our show might be improved.
Clearly the show is working, the audiences are enthusiastic, but with consultation with my theatre collective, the Lifeline Theatre Ensemble, and Rob as adaptor, we have made some significant cuts and re-writes and are re-staging some elements this week, tightening choreography and fights, and making some of the technical elements clearer.
Our Ensemble is fortunate enough to own our performance space – a luxury not common in Chicago Non-Equity theatre. Since we are constantly producing world premiere adaptations, we have adopted this preview process with a full week of rehearsal between previews and opening for just this purpose – honing and enhancing our work with the benefit of audience experience and thoughtful feedback.