What’s a preview?
By Kat Edwards with insight from Once director, Marianne Galloway
Opening night of Once is TONIGHT! We’re so thrilled to finally present this show to the press.
So, what the heck were those five performances we had this weekend if we weren’t actually open? This past weekend we were in previews and I pinned down director, Marianne Galloway, to give a brief explanation of what a preview performance is and why it is so necessary to the process of producing a show.
“You open tonight, right?”
“No… we’re in previews.”
“What’s a preview?”
Previews function as the chance for the production team to incorporate the element of “The Audience” (aka: The Actor You Can’t Rehearse) into the experience of a show. The cast and creative team gets to feel the energy of having a group of people responding to the show for the first time and adjust based on responses without the pressure of professional critics in the audience.
During previews, the creative team is still working…. finessing the final “product” that will launch on Opening Night. You’ll see designers in the audience with you, notepads in hand, jotting down details relating to their particular aspect of the production to be shared with the team after the performance.
Previews have been especially vital to this particular production. One of the goals of the production is to celebrate music’s transcendent power to facilitate communion and connection. In order to celebrate it, we wanted to make sure that connection was present from the moment you arrive at the Quadrangle. We mapped out how we thought the experience would go and followed that map on the night of our first preview, hoping that what worked in theory worked in actuality. We then noted what worked, made improvements, and tried out our changes at the next preview.
Without the breathing room a preview gives you, the artists don’t have the space or the permission to continue to explore as the element of the audience is folded into the experience. Opening Nights are fun, but previews are a gift.
Theatre Three was founded on what Norma Young believed to be the three tenants of theatre: the author, the artist, and the audience (that’s you!). Incorporating the audience is the final step in producing quality work.
We hope to see you at our opening this evening. Once could not have come together without the efforts of one stellar production team and the five audiences that came before you.