Friday, September 30, 2005

Afraid of Missing an Entrance (or Entering too soon)

posted by Sara Hennessy at 2:40 PM

As one of the six founders of Furious Theatre Company, I’ve been involved in every production in some way. When not onstage, I’ve been found directing, costume designing, props designing, managing the house and working to develop audiences. Each one of the ensemble members works like this on each show. It never gets boring and we’re all there to support each other and fill in the gaps.

For The Fair Maid of the West, Parts I & II, I’m putting in much less time at the theatre. My official role is behind-the-scenes as the dialect coach. My unofficial role in this production is to try and hold off having a baby until the play opens. I’m 9 months pregnant today.

My pregnancy can almost be calendared alongside the theatre production schedule. I became pregnant just after opening our production of The Shape of Things in late January. I was acting in this show and not affected by the pregnancy at all yet, but I was scheduled to play my largest role to date in The God Botherers in the spring. As rehearsals began, so did my morning sickness. It was one of the most physically challenging experiences of my life, working onstage until midnight each night through the nausea and exhaustion. Everyone was incredibly supportive, especially fellow ensemble-member and costume designer, Melissa Teoh, who had to put me in loose, grow-able clothing and took it like a champ when I had to introduce my own elastic-waisted maternity pants by the end of the run. Also, fellow-actor Robert Pescovitz had to pick me up and carry me in a scene each night. As I gained weight, I joked that it was like working out on incremental weights and that I was just giving him a good workout. By the time the play closed, we could barely hide the pregnancy and it was time for me to leave the stage. Luckily I was not scheduled to act again that season.

Since then, my duties have been strictly backstage. I designed props for Tearing the Loom and have been working as a producer, developing audiences and coaching dialects for this show. More to come on those subjects in a later blog. Luckily, I can do most of this kind of work from home, because I’ve been put on partial bed-rest by my doctor.

A few weeks ago, and I’ll admit I was working too hard, I needed to go to the doctor suddenly because I was having trouble walking. She put me on the fetal monitor and then asked how long I’d been having contractions. I quickly informed her that I wasn’t there because of contractions, but because I couldn’t easily walk. She told me that I was having contractions at about 7-10 minutes apart and sent me to the hospital to stop them, because at 33 weeks, this was too early. The Labor & Delivery Nurses were able to stop the contractions and I am on partial bed-rest until my pregnancy reaches full term. I’ve been doing quite well ever since. I’m still having contractions, often regularly, but they seem to be settled by resting and hydrating. Most importantly, they are not progressing into full labor. I’m not officially due until the end of October, a full 2 weeks after the play opens, but the doctor does not think I’ll make it to my due date.

This is where my husband comes in. Fellow co-founder, blog-writer and Director of Fair Maid, Dámaso Rodriguez is in the middle of crunch-time at the theatre. He doesn’t get home until after 1am/2am, but leaves by 8am each morning. He’s working diligently with the technical team to figure out all of the lights, sound, projections and scene shifts. It’s a key time in rehearsals with the actors as well, with less than a week before the show is up in front of an audience. There are so many details to be worked out, so much to do. Neither he, nor the show can handle the split focus of our 1st child’s birth right now.

I’m not unrealistic, I know that babies come on their own time. And my family will always come 1st, followed by the theatre. But it’s my family at the theatre I’m thinking of, and if this baby can work on making his or her entrance on time, as scheduled, it will make for a better show!


Anonymous Ravi said...

Oh you wacky kids with the hilt, gilt, and the guilt. Congratulations on the upcoming premiere. And the play, too.

--- Ravi

10:45 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

10/15/05 - Opening Night! Baby Rodriguez has shown that she/he understands "The Show Must Go On!"

6:17 PM  

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