I spent two nights this week at my understudy rehearsals for "Last Night of Ballyhoo." I've never been an understudy before. I've been a replacement actor, taking over a role from someone who had already played the role. And I have also been a hired replacement, knowing that I would be playing a role for just a single night. But this is the first time that I was an honest on-call understudy. My first night on the job was a technical rehearsal, and I took blocking notes as they ran through doing cue-to-cue work on the second act. That was followed by a full run of the play, in which I got to take all the notes for the first act. I tested myself on the second act as I was watching, and I had already learned a lot of the blocking.
On Thursday night, I saw the preview performance of the show, just to see how the show responds to an audience. I was saying the lines in my head as I was watching the show, and I'm proud to claim myself off-book for a few scenes. Not to mention, I have a few ideas about how to hide the script in some of the other scenes where I'd have a lot of dialogue and a few long speeches. I'm not sure that I'll be called upon to perform in the play, but I want to be as well-prepared as I can be for my first understudy gig.