Grasshopper Night 2007: Behind the Scenes

Organized mayhem: the perfect oxymoron to describe Grasshopper Night dress rehearsals. Through sleep deprivation and mounds of schoolwork, the performers have shed their blood, sweat, tears and hair for the sake of the entirely student-run talent show. Behind the scenes, the students forgot lines and lyrics, yet all these minor hiccups magically disappear as the curtain rises on opening night. During the five-hour-long daily rehearsals throughout the past week, Steinbach Lobby became the students’ second home. Performers sprawled out on the floor and splayed themselves over chairs, suffering from exhaustion and stress. Their binders, notebooks, iPods and costumes spilled out of bags, waiting to be used. SLAM stepped in the reflection of the glass windows while the Yorkies harmonized their pitches in the corner. A girl gulped an entire cup of crumbling granola as she hunched over a math book. Dozens of cereal bar wrappers, Red Bull cans, chip bags and cookie containers littered the floor. The least nutritional foods satisfied their hunger. But, as long as it is some form of sustenance, it still kept them going. Inside Tang Theater, the stage lights flickered due to initial technical problems. Spotlights were turned on, off, and then back on in an attempt to set the correct mood for each act and coordinate with the music. By the end of the first rehearsal, stage directors realized that none of the microphones worked in any of the acts. The prematurely raised curtains revealed the dancers’ brightly colored tights scampering around, searching for their marks. The music director complained that the bass overpowered the soprano and the drums were off-beat with the guitar. Faulty equipment and poor timing threatened to drive the producers and techies over the edge. The rehearsals were never “perfect.” The producers required some acts to restart in order to pinpoint the exact timing of music and elaborate light shows. Performers dropped glow-sticks and flung hats offstage and dance-steps were not flawlessly synchronized. Temperamental microphones refused to work during certain acts. Yet the rehearsal went on, the performers continued. The stresses of the evening tested the students’ concentration and dedication. But all of the performers agreed that the stress and pain was definitely worth it as they anticipate opening night.