9:25 AM
By young performer Haley Olig from the Adventure Cast

Four weeks of rehearsal, each with notable progress, finally led up to opening night of THE NEVERENDING STORY. The school preview was a great practice for the first public show, with a few exceptions. We had to cut out the fog in the Swamps of Sadness scene due to “complications”. When the fog began creeping around the stage, about 300 school kids began simultaneously coughing. Needless to say, the fog was toned down significantly.

Opening night is always scary, but it was so much fun. The audience was phenomenal and responded as wonderfully as anybody could have hoped. Things went (almost) flawlessly and we all felt great about it.

I performed with the Imagination cast for a couple of shows and, wow, it was a little different. It’s amazing how routine it becomes when you’re doing the same thing with the same people for over a month. Suddenly, with Imagination cast, there were new pauses and moments – I didn’t quite know what all was going on! They made it easy though and I had a blast spending the day with them.

Swapping shows with my counterpart allowed me to watch my cast perform last week-end. Even after working with the costumes, puppets and special effects for so long, I had no idea how truly awesome it all looks from the audience perspective until I sat in the audience. All I kept thinking was “I am so lucky to be a part of this amazing production with these great people.”

I love watching the faces and hearing the gasps and giggles of the audience throughout the shows. Yesterday a school audience even participated in the show by responding to Bastian in a scene where he was talking to himself. I don’t know how it all started but it was pretty cool.

Copies of the book The Neverending Story are sold in the lobby during intermission and after the show. I’ve heard that they have had to reorder a couple time already because they keep selling out. That’s the best compliment - that after seeing our show, the kids want to go home and read the book.

Photo by John Deighton Hemingway: Adventure cast's Mack Folkert as Atreyu in the Swamps of Sadness

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