We’ve all been losing our minds, but it’s almost finished. The Athenian Players’ production of Geek! by Crystal Skillman goes up on Thursday, April 13th.
The cast and crew have been fantastic. We put in so many hours this weekend finishing the set, rehearsing, practicing fight choreography, learning our newly-added rap, and running a cue-to-cue that had us in the theater for 7 non-stop hours on Sunday (not counting set and light work beforehand).
For those who don’t live in a theater (as I seem to these last few weeks), a cue-to-cue is a tedious rehearsal where actors are asked to stand in their spots for each lighting cue (or sound, etc., if necessary) while lights are adjusted and the settings are programmed into the lighting board. They are asked to run and rerun these sections of the play so the director and crew can see how everything looks under the lights – possibly with a few different effects. Then they move to the next one. It’s long, monotonous, and exhausting.
Our actors, though, stayed in great spirits throughout, joking, laughing, and singing while standing around, but instantly leaping into action when told to move or run a scene a fourth time. We left the theater ready to fall into bed, but also incredibly pleased with how everything is looking and grateful for a cast and crew who work hard and still make it fun.
If you’re in the area, come see us! The show runs April 13th-22nd at 7:30 in the new Studio theater at the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur. We’re discounting tickets $5 for anyone who comes dressed in cosplay, or for anyone who brings a receipt from the RailYard (a fantastic Decatur restaurant that sources locally and serves craft beers) from the week of the show.
We’re also fortunate enough to have the playwright, Crystal Skillman, coming to support us. She will be giving a lecture on playwriting in the Recital Hall at the Alabama Center for the Arts on April 14th at 4 pm, and then she’ll attend the show that night to meet audience members and answer questions. She’ll also be teaching a playwriting workshop in the Recital Hall on April 15th at 3 pm. Her lecture and workshop are open to the public and there is no cost for admission, so just stop by!
Geek! is both hilarious and heart-rending. It’s set in a convention created around the fictional manga, Dante’s Fire, based on Dante’s The Inferno. The main characters, Danya and Honey, are determined to meet their idol, the creator of the manga, to honor the memory of a friend — but they arrive only an hour and a half before the convention closes. To complete their quest, they must journey through the nine levels of the hotel and face a hyperactive minotaur, a lonely wizard, scheming devil cats, a rapping steampunk army (alone worth the price of admission), and other obstacles. In the grand tradition of fantasy, their adventure forces them to take a deeper look at who they are and how they fit into the world, helping them come to terms with their grief.
As TJ points out in our Facebook video, the play takes a multimedia approach that is very different from anything we’ve ever done. The girls in the play had made a series of homemade videos based on Dante’s Fire, and those videos are projected during certain parts of the play. The cast had a great time making them, and two cast members stepped up as cinematographer and video editor. You can see clips of their work in the video linked above. Another pair of actors created an adorable animated short that depicts an offstage sequence. Art students from both Athens State University and Calhoun Community College created drawings and animations for scene transitions, character introductions, and other scenic elements (including a mural on the stage floor). Music students wrote custom music, including the theme song from the clip shown in the video.
All of these things, along with acting, fight choreography, set design, costumes, and lighting design, meant a lot of work and a lot of organization. It was entirely worth it, though, as we are starting to see the incredible finished product come together.