Hello, blogfriends. It’s Louis/Roderigo from Folger’s Othello, writing you with another dispatch from the frontlines.

On Tuesday night, we had our very first preview for a real-life, living and breathing audience! We were terrified, but they really seemed to dig it. It was a “pay what you can” night, and people were lining up around the block starting around 5pm. They were a gorgeous crowd and, if I didn’t have to be in the show, I’d have loved to have hung out with them on the marble steps of the Folger. And perhaps sell them some beaded necklaces and hot dogs. Note to Folger Gift Shop: get necklaces and hot dogs.

Last night we had our second preview. They “paid what they couldn’t,” I suppose, and it was absolutely amazing. A student contingent was visibly in attendance and, as always when students are in the house, things are vibrant, and unexpected. It is amazing, if unsettling, when people shout, “Woooo!!!” at a curtain call—and that is exactly what they did last night.

Tonight at 7:30pm, we have yet another preview. Come and see it!!

Photo ©2011 Carol Pratt

Previews have been amazing, and our production has stepped up several orders of magnitude, just because you, the audience, have finally been there. Or will be there soon. Or are reading this, and are sending us your positive brainwaves, which we will harvest through the internet. Yes, we are harvesting your brainwaves through the internet. Smile!

In all seriousness, this production has been through a lot: getting to know each other, text analysis and dramaturgy, rehearsal in all of its many guises, a huge beast of a Tech, errors and successes, meltdowns and triumphs, etcetera. Now, we’re moving to the next level. Having your company at the theater is the whole point, really. And now that you’re here, we’re incredibly excited to learn from you. Your presence this week helps us to fully understand the story that we’re telling.

We know what we’ve been up to for the past four weeks, but this is your first time. We need you to tell us what to do next. We hear and feel you when you respond, and we adjust accordingly, sometimes on the fly, as it happens. We’re telling this story for you—with you!—and your participation and response has a genuine impact on what the production is, ultimately. That is what the theater does that no other narrative medium can do: celebrate presence.

All of us together—we breathe the same air, we smell the same sweat, we occupy the same space, we find each other, and we take hold of the tiny and inscrutable junctions wherein we can, for a short time, agree to be “We.”

Come and be with us! We have four more previews!

A couple of quick things:

1. In case you missed it, I posted a vaguely amusing video about the fights and weapons in the show last time. You can still see that video in my previous post.

2. I am still planning a “Women of Othello” post, but I need your help. Would you prefer to read an interview, or watch a video? Comment below, and I will comply with your desire.

3. Making videos is great fun. What other videos would you like to see? Comment below!

4. Celebrity news: Patrick Stewart was visiting the Library yesterday afternoon and popped in to pay us a visit in the theater!!! I wasn’t quick enough with a camera, but will see if anyone in the company managed to snap a photo. Prospero! Macbeth! Jean-Luc Picard! Professor X! I mean, right?? The man is amazing, and it was kind of him to take a minute to say hi.

5. Thank you for reading, if you are.

Get your tickets to Othello now!!!