The first time anyone heard A Roadkill Opera in public was at the open rehearsals held at Artomatic 2012 in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. The idea of workshopping this new comic opera in public was inspired by the do-it-yourself ethos of Artomatic, the Washington DC area’s largest free creative arts event.
The workshop concert performance for this new comic opera was SRO–sprawling room only. Every seat was filled, and people took advantage of the carpeted floor to make themselves comfortable. It didn’t hurt that the stage was located next to the bar! That worked thematically, too, as the story of A Roadkill Opera takes place in a bar showroom.
The workshopping of A Roadkill Opera was accomplished in the space of one week. The first rehearsal was for vocalists only, with the help of a talented rehearsal accompanist.
Rehearsal was held on the first floor, as the fire marshall was busy inspecting the floor where our performance would eventually be held–the Cherry Crush Stage. Rehearsal times that were proposed as performances by some bands had led to a general restriction on use of stages for rehearsals, so we almost had our rehearsals canceled at the last minute.
A videographer was recruited to capture this first workshop performance. Ben Ganz flew in from Los Angeles for the dress rehearsal and performance. He recruited his assistant locally, brother Jason Ganz. The low budget setting of the story in A Roadkill Opera was carried through to the opening night performance, as these volunteers worked for food.
At the dress rehearsal, the vocalists were unhappy with the bright stage lighting. The videographer was adamant that lighting was required for high definition video. Fortunately, the librettist had lighting rigs from Artomatic 2010 that could be installed rapidly. We only had the stage for one hour. Since the band that had the stage reserved in the time slot ahead of us had not shown up by half past their hour, we were able to get an extra 30 minutes to set up. We used every minute of it.