Reception: Some of the audience that I knew liked the show a lot. Quite a few of them came to me and said I stood out a lot. I don’t know if they were pointing out my being an “honorary Harlem” as one of the audience put, or if they just wanted to generally congratulate me, or if they actually thought that I had a good stage presence—but as a performer it doesn’t feel bad to be noticed.
A handful of the audience, on the other hand, had their share of criticisms on Ragtime, which mostly concerned less with the performance but more with the script itself. Some of them felt like the subject matter was dealt with less complexity and depth than they would have liked to. But still many people were impressed by the scale of the performance.
Strike: I had dreaded strike ever since I saw the enormous set. I even asked Ruthie if I could hire three people to work instead of me—to which she said a flat no. But once we started, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Surprisingly many people stayed, and a lot of them were quite enthusiastic. Jamie and Michael were practically running around the set, and the student crew members and the orchestra people were very dedicated to help strike the set. I wasn’t as skilled as some of the people there and while using heavy and dangerous tools, I kept hurting myself, so I decided to help with the more peripheral stuff. I collected sharp objects from the floor, I swept, and then I helped bring out dance floors for the next show.
But not everyone was as helpful. Ruthie told me that a good number of people either left without telling her or stayed in the dressing room to show up every once in a while without actually helping. There were also people who just hung out in the Green Room after dinner while the rest of us were working. Some people were chatting on the stage when someone was shouting for more hands.
Still, I am really glad that I stayed pretty late for the strike. I think the physical act of taking down the set gave me a good sense of closure to this piece.