Don Bauder 9:40 p.m., May 21
Circle Circle dot dot opens The Break Up/Break Down on Saturday at Tenth Avenue Theatre. The play, by Katherine Harroff, and the company are brand new. So what will the cast do in the hours and minutes before the big event?
Stick to pre-show rituals: physical stretching and vocal exercises. The latter includes singing musical scales, doing tongue twisters, reciting lines (Kyle Sorrell must "say each word I say in the show without missing one"). When combined, the vocal warm-ups bounce an eerie kind of music off the walls.
Melissa Coleman-Reed begins her vocals in the shower. At the theater she also warms up her eyes. "Visually taking in the space" helps her to cross the threshold from the outside world into the world of the play.
Wendy Savage makes that transition be dressing up for opening night. "There's something small but fun for me! Putting on a dress for a girl who lives in jeans is a big deal!"
Evan Kendig admits he's anything but relaxed. "Compulsive? I can't keep my mouth shut for a hot New York minute." To turn "nervous energy into excitement" he jokes and kids with fellow cast members until "its time to put my game face on."
Patrick Kelly wants opening night to be like any other. When the audience begins to arrive he'll seek a quiet place where he can "center myself before joining the cast and the electricity of the dressing room." Then more quiet to "step into character and onto the stage."
Samantha Ginn starts her ritual with an iced Latte. In her car, she "dances to GaGa." At half hour (before curtain), she recites lines, "paces uncontrollably, visits the rest room for the baker's-dozenth time," and deep breathes. Just before lights up, she says a prayer.
Opening night begins the night before for Katherine Harroff, author of the play and co-founder of the company. That's when her "theater brain" takes control over every thing I need to do." She finds the actual opening a blessing. "I feel balanced and at peace that my life has continuously given me the opportunity to make art."