The Big Night May 13, 2011
by Gina Russell
It starts off simple, an ensemble member quietly entering the stage soon after the house opens, but the nerves, as each subsequent member enters, are palpable. The show brings together five performers, each with their own strengths and flaws, and a director, who blatantly critiques them all, as they try to create, rehearse and eventually perform a new choral piece.
Anyone who has ever been involved in any aspect of performance will relate to each and every character. Seriously. I spent the first ten minutes during the audition sequence thinking to myself, “been there”, “been there, too”, “yup, that’s been me” as each ensemble member gets up, sings their aria, and is harshly critiqued by the director. Yet, the result is hilarious! Even the ensemble reactions to those auditioning are spot on.
As the piece takes a turn for the absurd and each character undresses their vulnerabilities (literally), we see the toll a stressful process and this craft, in general, can have on all of the performers. It is a beautiful section, where they each get their moments of crazy and all strip down from their colorful professional wear to various styles of white undergarments.
And then we get the performance. Everyone is back to their guarded selves, dressed in blacks, prepared for the big night. And what a night it is!
Oh, and did I mention that this whole show is in a made-up language? The director collaborated with a language expert to create a brand new language system that helps connect the international cast and audiences and tell a story through more than just words. Although most of the show is sung, we never understand the specific words the characters are saying to each other, but the way they interact tells a clear story of five performers and their director as they struggle to prepare for The Big Night.