The dress rehearsal and first night of ‘Il Primo Omicidio’ came and went like a beautiful woman and her shadow passing through the hangar: The first free and full of grace, and the second a chilling thing of no substance.
Our chef has reached the end of her role as educator, has dropped the rod and has sprung back into the fleshy joy of being one with us. In Saturday’s dress, liberated from our roll-top desks, we sprung up to meet her, trusting our own voices, finally, to be the glorious and imperfect things they are. One note gave birth to another, one colour highlighted the next and we filled each other up like love-lilos, riding the waves of the music and drifting on the sound of the dancing air.
A triumph. But you know what they say: “Good rehearsal….”
Last night was the première and it seemed someone had pulled the invisible thread that bound us leaving us floating around in self-fabricated igloos. We had had Sunday off and, unlike my restful pottering in soft Provençal light, many had rushed home to sleepless babies, a gig in Paris, frozen pipes, chicken pox…the real world. Sometime on Sunday everyone had got the jitters.
There were many versions of stage fright visible only to the connoisseur: Nausea so bad that butterflies are mistaken for a killer virus, jumping jack bows, jello-wobble vibrato, hyper-ventilation and sore knees. Luckily the latter (caused by gripping the cello’s ribs) was my body’s sole indication that I was not feeling entirely normal. However, the sum total made for a bit of a mess.
The bows finally came and, though not on the usual post perf high, I think we were shot through with all sorts of feelings – relief, forgiveness, hope and, yes, love. We had been on a roller coaster ride together and now, the first night over, it was time to relax and enjoy. As the actors folded neatly down from the waist and the musicians thrust their duck asses up in to the air behind them, I squeezed my most challenging colleague’s hand and whispered a heartfelt bravo. A bravo not just for getting through the solo with all that judgement now back-firing on himself, but for still being here and daring to be naked amongst the victims of his wrath.
I feel sure the beautiful woman will return.