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  • Chris Rivera

Backstage at the Follies

As in any kind of production, what the audience sees is the rehearsed and finished version. But did you ever wonder what the action looks like behind the scenes? What are the performers doing before they suddenly appear on stage? Well, here is your chance to get a glimpse of backstage at the Follies.

The Follies is a Fairfield Harbour annual tradition that dates back to 1991 when resident Judy Bailie devised a way to showcase the community’s talent after she helped to found Harbour Lights Players. The Follies instantly became an extremely popular event and it remains that way today.

When the group initially gets together for rehearsals, it is not unusual to hear side conversations like “why am I doing this again?” With looming thoughts of pending rehearsals and then the actual 4 or 5 performances you sometimes ask yourself “Why?” It feels like the military practice of “hurry up and wait”. There is a lot of down time. And most of that time is spent in the “Green Room” which is a very crowded room to the side of the main room and is approximately 12 ft wide and 30 ft long with 4 tables down the center. The sides of the room are lined with large storage cabinets, a piano, and folded tables among other items. Also, the makeup artists use one end of the room to apply the stage make up to most of the performers. So it is definitely crowded.

As you might imagine there is a great deal of activity going on at all times. With more than 50 cast and crew members (sound/lights/props/stagehands/makeup etc) as well as Director and Producer there is so much to do all at once. Most cast members sit in chairs around the table snacking, talking, reading, and playing games. We are all waiting until that brief moment in time when your name is next on the printed program, and the person known as the “talent wrangler” comes to let you know it is show time for you. Considering the fact that most acts last approximately 4 minutes, it feels like your time to shine has come and gone much too quickly.

After the finale of the last show and the audience has been greeted and thanked for coming, preparation begins for the much anticipated cast party. The crew begins dismantling the stage, the sound system and taking down the lights. Discussion focuses on reliving some of our favorite moments of the past few days and connection and relationships are formed or strengthened over our shared experiences. And yes, most of us will do it again next year. To quote the from the grand finale song, “We hope you liked our show”. That is why we do it.

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