Saturday, February 28, 2015
Playing in the pit
The orchestra pit. The surroundings are not glamorous. Behind me are pieces of sets leaned up against each other; some look like they may have been sections of a raised stage. Large wooden set pieces and flats fill other sections of this wing of the stage. And that's where we're nestled: stage right. Hanging high on the walls are remnants of other shows: I suppose the scene shop workers hope to recycle these at some point. Or perhaps they are simply reminders of beloved set pieces of favorite shows.
On the floor, a maze of electrical cords for all the microphones, music stand lights, amps, camera, and monitors clutter the passageways out of the tight rows of chairs and stands. Small scattered rugs have been scattered around in an attempt to protect the electrical connections.
During rehearsals and productions I've been watching the show on a 13" monitor about 15 feet away. The image is by no means HD, and I'm wearing my "piano" glasses, so the distant image looks even fuzzier, but still allows me to follow the action on stage.
But none of those things are the important pieces of being here in the "pit." In fact, the surroundings fade away when my attention is focused on the opening "Overture." The director Adam and the talented musicians make it all happen. Rogers & Hammersteins' music has some great moments, and I love hearing Laura's rich clarinet phrases, Amy's articulated flute runs, Kelly's trumpeted fanfares, Marissa's harp, and Amanda's haunting bassoon passages. And there are other moments of fabulous full orchestra crescendos that sound wonderful. It's filling the air with music, bringing the story of "The King and I" to life, that is addictive.