Black Out (almost)

From Joanna Horowitz, Communications Department

I'm from a town in Eastern Washington where gale force winds that can practically keep you upright if you fall face forward into them are the norm. No matter, yesterday's wind storm was terrifying. Standing in the lobby of the theatre watching the lights strung up around the Seattle Center whip around the fountain, I was sure we would lose power and have to have the first of a two night engagement with NPR contributer Kevin Kling in the dark. It was scary and, ok, a little exciting too.

But despite some ominous flickering, the power stayed on and the brave 500 or so patrons who came out were well entertained. I was curious what would have happened had the lights gone out, and I learned we have a back up system that brings up the house lights and the work lights on stage. For a minute or so the theatre would have gone completely dark, though, and our lovely house manager Rachel would have run down with a flashlight to pacify the crowd (or, as she told me jokingly, scream frantically, "DON'T PANIC!") When the back ups came on Kevin could have continued if he wanted to, even though the lighting isn't the prettiest ambiance to perform in.

I hear there was a power outage at least once before in Rep history, during a performance of 1998's Play On. Once the work lights came on, the cast and crew decided to, well, play on. There's a feeling you get, in the audience and also as a company member, when a show continues despite some kind of adversity. It's an affirmation that theater really just needs people and a story; continuing on despite illness, weather, etc., really impresses the importance of telling these stories. It's why we who work in theater do what we do: to make sure we can continue to share something important with our fellow humans. It makes me think about that scene in the movie version of Cradle Will Rock where the cast of the play is barred from the theater and prohibited from performing, but they all stand up in the audience and start singing anyway. It makes me cry every time, which, if you know me, is kind of a feat.

Anyway, this post started out as a simple "Whoa, crazy wind storm" blog and ended up with me waxing poetic about the power of live theater. Must be all the electric currents buzzing the air.

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