I’ve always enjoyed The Proclaimers "I’m Gonna Be" (aka "500 Miles") from the Benny & Joon soundtrack, but I’ve never really considered the commitment required to walk 500 miles just to be with someone. That is, until now.
On December 31, we had our first day of tech rehearsal for Ghost Light, and through a moment of divine inspiration, I threw on a pedometer just to see how many miles I would walk that day for director Jon Moscone. In less than eight hours, I logged 8.5 miles while finishing the shopping for the show — laundry detergent, magnets for the magical George Moscone quick change, and a trendy wallet for the character Jon. Eight and a half miles for one day seemed a little high, so on Sunday I tried again.
I realize most people have no clue what the fancy-shmancy term “tech rehearsal” means. So imagine this: you are locked in the theatre for 10 out of 12 hours, going from light cue to light cue, sound cue to sound cue, taking an hour to work though a 45-second transition, and crying when the corn-based snacks that production management provides run out. That, in a nutshell, is tech.
But, back to the mileage at hand. Sunday marked another 8.5 miles. At this point, my competitive instincts kicked in and I actually wanted to beat the previous days’ records. On day three, people began to ask how many miles I had logged. On day four, I lost my pedometer*, but not before I noted that I had logged 42 miles.
FORTY TWO FREAKIN’ MILES. And, that was only in four days of tech.
So, I suppose the point to my story is this: every day a group of folks dress up in black and walk well before the audience arrives. They set the ghostlight. They check the sound levels and video feeds. They preset the clothes and restyle the wigs. Together they walk 500 miles for Jon, and George, and most importantly, you.
So, next time you rewatch Benny & Joon, and "I’m Gonna Be" plays, enjoy the fact that a whole group of folks walked 500 miles, just for you.
*Today, I found my pedometer under my desk at Harrison St. I don’t think I need it anymore.