Dear Constant Reader,
We opened Wrathskellar Tales last night. I’m beyond exhausted and not even sure where to begin. Forgive me if I ramble.
It’s not a traditional burlesque show. We (and by we, I mean mostly Scratch and a very small crew) turned the space that will be The Thalia, a long-neglected basement, into “backstage” at The Wrathskellar. This was a massive build, bigger than anything we’d ever done before, and a lot of things couldn’t really be stage-faked, since the guests can explore and rummage through things. Besides the performances space, we also needed to redo the bathroom (it was so gross), create a box office, a coat check, a bar/kitchen/music hall area, and get a piano down the stairs.
This has been so time consuming. Most of the cast put in long days and/or evenings doing whatever we could, often when we were supposed to be rehearsing. I know it was making Scratch crazy (“A performer’s job is to perform!”), but he couldn’t turn down the help.
Instead of a linear show with acts that appear on stage one-by-one with props and set pieces being moved around, we have a number of performance areas, each of which has to be dressed appropriately. And we need to salt the place with interesting tidbits to intrigue the guests. I’m really grateful to the skilled artists who helped make the place beautiful (for some sense of beautiful) as well as the cast who took initiative in creating the decor for their spaces.
Just to give you an idea, here’s Betty as The Contessa lounging in her Seraglio.
I’d say we were about 90% ready when we opened last night. There are a bunch of things we wanted to happen that got shelved for now. Don’t worry — we’ll be putting them in as we go. Because the build went so long and there were so many complications, we only got to try out the tech on Wednesday and last night was the first time with audience. When you’re doing an interactive show, it doesn’t matter how much you rehearse and try to prepare, everything changes when you bring in the people. There was a fair bit of winging it.
The biggest issues I was aware of last night were definitely audio. Every space has its individual soundscape and audio gear. We synchronize our watches and all hit “play” at the same time. There’s no way to run the music in a centralized way (not on our budget). Personally, I had several problems in my Boudoir. Thank goodness Hunter was around to fix my speakers early on, but there was nothing that could be done when my player froze, other than reboot it. But that pales in comparison to Devora, who had no working sound in either of her performance areas. Because she’s just that good, she ran her numbers in silence.
I have every confidence that these kinks will all get ironed out post-haste.
The best part of last night for me was finally performing with my bathtub! I’ve been working on this act for more than a year — getting the tub in performance condition took longer than choreographing. Scratch has been a huge help in making this dream of mine come true. Not only has he lent his tech expertise and skills, he kept encouraging me, even when it was too overwhelming.
No pictures of me yet, so if you want to see me in my Catherine D’Lish and Glorious Pasties splendor, you’ll need to see the show.
We’ve got three more performances this week and five next week. Please join us for burlesque, creepiness, great food, live music, mysteries, magic, and more atmosphere than you can handle. Tickets are available at wrathskellar.com. There are a limited number of tickets per entrance time, so don’t wait.
Down we go!