The week of ANC’s Christmas show Miracle on 34th Street defines the original and literal meaning of the adage, "deal with it." Three Days before Opening Night, one of our actors loses her voice and cannot speak above a whisper. Solution? Body mic and hope it comes back. Opening Night, one of the actors is sick and cannot attend, the first time at ANC in at least 15 years that a speaking role has not been able to make a performance. Solution? Have the same actor who lost her voice, which has luckily returned, amalgamate his speech into her own lines. A lighting instrument decides to freeze, rendering all blackouts moot. Solution? Manually kill every light each blackout, making it much more difficult for stagehands to execute their tirelessly choreographed scenery changes.
After the curtain falls on opening night, the directors, cast, and crew breathe a sigh of relief, believing these complications to be in their rearview mirror. They are mistaken. Sunday Matinee: The faux snow that graced the stage in the final scene has moved outside and become very, very real and makes some roads impassable. Attempted solution? Send out another actor and a crew member in a four-wheel drive to defy the wintry mix. The weather mocks back, stranding the would-be rescuers. Solution? Three actors from the cast step up and fill in with such conviction that the audience does not know they are stand-ins. Other actors pick up the lulls by quick improvisations. The video feed that allows the offstage actors to see the progress on stage becomes irreparably damaged. Solution? An audio speaker is placed in the green room while an actor reads line for line to alert her fellow cast where they are and when they need to make their way to the stage. The snow continues to fall, making the roads far too dangerous to risk fellow students’ lives reaching the cast party. Solution? Our wonderful parents generously schlep food and drink to the theater, ensuring the safety and high spirits of the cast.
In conclusion, when choosing a theatrical show, beware any with the word “miracle” in the title - you may just need one to pull it off. Thank you to each and every one involved (students, faculty, parents, volunteers, and audience members) who helped make this miracle come true.