Strike is finished! With a weary heart and body, those of us remaining crept out of Reynolds in a cloud of saw dust, debris in our hair, emotionally drained by the entire process that had finally concluded. The only facial expressions glimmering through the grime were foolish grins dreaming of the showers that awaited us back in our dorms, relief at finally holding a nice cold drink, sadness for the show that is no more.
We may all have moaned and complained about the show and how it sprawls over three hours run time and how our non-theatrically inclined friends were almost convinced we had died, but we shall all miss the show, the bad fading to gray, whilst the banter and inside jokes live on.
As a light board op, I cannot see the audience, nor most of the actors, only the upper walks of our now vanished stage. This has lead to an utter and absolute detachment from the audience, in later shows at least, since no one is unaffected by the nervousness and jitters of opening night. After the first seven performances, the show became a routine of sorts to the point where I hit all the cues, but am incapable of remembering ever pushing the button. This was a rather disconcerting experience, for when I became consciously aware of “I am pushing a button,” my stomach would take a quick plunge, thinking I had not progressed a single cue for the last five scenes. This would lead to a rather nervous question to Ruthie: “What cue are we supposed to be in?” A side effect of repetition perhaps? On the bright side with repetition came the ability to tell which scene we were in by the cue number and their special traits. For example, in the First Act, the “Getting Ready Rag” was quite obvious due to its 3,5,2,0,0,0,0,3,0 chain (numbers have units of seconds and denote transition times (which is the amount of time it takes to completely fade from the previous cue to the next)) where the four 0 counts cues occur I have to go visual (meaning I take my cues from what is happening on stage rather than having Ruthie tell me “Lights Go”) . Other notable regions were what we termed the “Justice Run” ~20 cues in under five minutes, “Sara’s Death” the only 15 count cue in the show, “Explosion!” cue number 266, followed by one of the prettiest cues in the show, “Thunder!” All in all, Ragtime was a magnificent experience in retrospect.