By Chris Polo
With apologies to Clement Moore
and special thanks to Necia Beck,
T’was the night before opening, and all through the house,
Not an actor was ready, the crew was half-soused.
The chorus was moving as if made of lead,
And the steps they had practiced had fled from their heads.
The lead lost his lines while the ingénue napped,
And the tech in the light booth would not shut his yap.
When out in the lobby arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat, and the cast and crew scattered.
I threw down my notes, and with temper unchecked,
Loudly cursed the grim day I agreed to direct.
To the lobby I flew in a flash, maybe faster
To deal with this latest last-minute disaster.
I stumbled into an astonishing scene:
There parked by the bar was a stretch limousine!
Seven handsome chauffeurs posed in artful alignment,
Brows arched and lips pursed in the utmost refinement.
They turned toward the limo, the door opened wide,
And a dapper old fairy stepped down from inside.
He was dressed all in black with a gold walking stick,
And I knew in an instant it must be Old Vic!
With a flick of his wrist and a hint of a smirk,
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work.
He sent his companions to fix up my play,
And the fairy dust flew as each one pranced away.
“On Pacing! On Timing!
On Cue! Motivation!
On Lines! And on Blocking!
On Tax-Free Donation!”
It happened at once – we had blocking and lines,
And the timing was perfect, the acting divine!
In spite of the problems the cast and crew weathered,
A miracle happened! It all came together!
Too late I remembered the source of my joy!
I ran to the lobby, but Vic and his boys
Were tucked snug in their limo, which rose like a bird
And I shouted my thanks, but my words went unheard.
The limousine soared, turned to make its last pass,
And I spotted Old Vic through the dark-tinted glass
As he nodded at me, looking stern as a rector,
He signaled thumbs-up to this grateful director.
And I heard him exclaim as they drove out of sight
“Break a leg one and all, SRO every night!”
Happy Holidays, everyone! — Chris
Twas the Night Before Opening, by Chris Polo. © 2006 Community Theater Green Room, www.communitytheater.org. May not be reprinted without permission. Please include this copyright notice if you share this with others.