Our director really pushes his actors! See more photos. An APPLAUSE! show is closer to a recital than a full staging. But we still try to get the essence of the scene’s setting across. So what do you do when your show involves bank robberies, nuclear reactors, radiation shields, and exploding buildings – and you have no sets? You use a little creativity. It’s more powerful than Kryptonite! The first task was to stage the opening scene, a street scene in front of a bank, which gets robbed by a gang of crooks, followed by a gun battle, and finally Superman appearing and hoisting the bad guys’ getaway car in the air. All we had was our cast, and a bunch of rolling office chairs, but we made it work. Two women with a chair each formed the front wall of the bank and the automatic doors. They slide the chairs apart, go “whoosh”, and voila, automatic doors! Four others sat in chairs and locked arms together in a block, one made steering-wheel hands, and a surprisingly convincing getaway car was born. With a little push from a fifth cast member, and the car’s occupants slyly asisting by pushing with their upstage (i.e. not visible to the audience) legs, we had ourselves a stage-worthy moving vehicle. Everyone is getting to do a lot of fun little bits of “business” and I’m no exception – in fact I have a nifty bit in the opening scene as the “security guard” who shoots it out with the bank robbers! Another great highlight is the “nuclear reactor”, which consists of a long row of us, behind the chairs, each of us doing some different repetitive motion with our black binder. The net result is of a gigantic Rube Goldberg device busiy whirring away – it looks great! There were plenty of laughs all the way through the evening but also much concentration as we all focused on exactly what the heck we were doing and when. In APPLAUSE!, there’s no time to go back and refresh a scene from the start once it’s staged, and decisions are usually made very quickly and then we move on, so it’s vital that everyone make copious notes in their binders to remember what they do and when. When our director let most of us out early (9:30 pm), we had already staged several big scenes. But there’s much still to do – hopefully tomorrow we’ll at least finish Act 1. Next: Part 3!