Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Jingle Spree: Closing Thoughts

***Note: I'm a little late in getting this up. I actually wrote it on Saturday night while the third and final act of Jingle Spree was being performed. Thanks to everyone who came to see the show.


So, here I sit backstage at the CoHo theatre on Saturday, November 18th. The final performance of Jingle Spree.

It’s an odd thing to close a show… especially a show that you’ve really enjoyed being part of, that’s run for six weeks. On one hand, it’s a blessing: your Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons are suddenly free. A whole new world of time is opened up, allowing you to do all the work you’ve been putting off around the house, freeing you to go see your friends' shows, to meet up with friends you've neglected, to actually have a weekend for the first time in a long time.

On the other hand, the routine you’ve built over the past six weeks is thrown into a tailspin. You don’t have anywhere you need to be on the weekend… the family that’s grown throughout the rehearsal process (and our cast has become a little family… I’m the crazy uncle no one’s too sure about, but I don’t think they’ve disowned me yet :) ) isn’t getting together to commune and work anymore.

Tonight’s closing is especially bittersweet, as the biggest audience we’ve ever had is sitting out in the house as I write this. It’s not a full house… we never got one of those. But we may have around 75 people in CoHo’s 100 seat house.

It’s not terribly uncommon for the audiences to get bigger as the run of a play progresses, especially in Portland… but Jingle Spree was particularly under-attended. Everyone who saw the show was exceedingly complimentary… the reviews in The Oregonian and Followspot practically glowed (especially regarding Deanna Wells and Eric Reid’s work – and those kudos are well-deserved), and the Willamette Week didn’t say anything negative about the production (they didn’t like the script much, though). We had people singing our praises to everyone who’d listen… and with all that, our average attendance was about 15-20 people per night.

That’s tough on those of us working on the play… not because our egos couldn’t take it, but because we really love the show and wanted to share it with many many more people than ended up coming. Maybe it was a lack of promotion at the beginning of the run… maybe it was the number of other productions running in town at the same time as Jingle Spree… maybe it was the $23 ticket… maybe people were just too busy with the demands of modern life. I don’t know… however the lack of attendance came about, it’s a shame. Dan Trujillo wrote a wonderful script, with amazingly complex characters. Antonio Sonera took the words from Dan’s pages and knitted a cohesive production together that lived and breathed on the stage in front of those empty seats.

Perhaps the best indication of the show’s quality was the fact that we never, throughout the entire six week run, had a "down" night. Often a Thursday evening (after the actors have had a break from the show) or a Sunday matinee will lack the energy, sharpness or "punch" of a Friday or Saturday night. That never happened with this show; each performance had the same level of intensity and commitment from everyone in the cast and crew. Each show flew as high or higher than the previous one. That’s a very rare thing.

So, as I get ready to go out and take my final bow as a cast member of Jingle Spree, I’m feeling a little melancholy. I’ll miss this cast, and I’ll miss these characters. Mostly, though, I wish that more people had been able to share the journey that took each night, so we could meet them at the end of the road and thank them for coming along.

Ah well… maybe the next one. :)


Speaking of which… I don’t have anything major lined up for the next few months. I’ll probably do a murder mystery or two over the holidays for Wild Bills' Murder For Sale division, and I’ll still be heard on the Golden Hours Network on Wednesdays at 6pm (you can listen live on the internet by clicking the link on’s home page).

Most of the shows that have been holding auditions recently, though, run through the middle of February. Trish and I are planning a trip out of town in February, so that instantly disqualified me. I’ve got a slate of auditions lined up for next week, though… for industrials that shoot in December and a show that starts its run in March. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some good news with you soon.

Hope you’re all doing well…