I’ve worked in Bay Area theater for almost 9 years now. There have been lots of highs and low and crazy crazy productions. Professional theater is a roller coaster – every 2 months the slate is wiped clean. Then the next 8 weeks are a blur of first rehearsal, blocking, lights, sound, AUDIENCE, then BAM! reset again. There are not a lot of constants in this world, except for the sense of impermanence. But every fall is different. For the last 7 years, almost every fall I have hopped on the bus to Fort Mason to start rehearsals for a show at Magic Theatre.
Even though things around here change, there’s a comforting sense of familiarity. It’s not just the fact that I have a favorite seat in the theater, or that I know the trick to making the heater work. There’s an attitude to the people here. When I show up on the first day, I know there will be someone I can talk about Star Trek with. I know I can make an inappropriate, over-sharing joke and someone will laugh. I can relax into the communal language of Magic Theatre.
I suppose that’s why I’m not nervous about our production being at The Strand. My experience of Magic Theatre isn’t just about the concrete and the duvetyne of the space. It’s about the feeling. There’s such a crazy complicated stew of things that every person at Magic Theatre possesses, but if I could boil it down to its simplest ingredients, it would be:
Our show gets the best of Magic: We’re rehearsing in the Magic Theatre (gorgeously lit and decorated for rehearsal by Christina Larson), and when we pack up and move the show downtown on November 12th, we will take the spirit of Magic with us. We’ll fill the Rueff with twinkle lights and dirty jokes and, at least for a little while this fall, I’ll take the train to 7th and Market and start performances at Magic Theatre.
Gillian Confair is a Bay Area stage manager. Her favorite Magic Theatre memories include bottle breaking, over-full bathtubs, 3am Opening Night celebrations and, most recently, flying a kite (for dramaturgical purposes).