Now that we've had our first dress rehearsal, I'd like to talk about insecurities and solutions.
From my experience, there's always a moment that happens a few days before any show opens. It's when everyone involved hates everything about the show. There are many reasons for this, one of which is the lack of freshness. This is particularly striking for comedies, as without a fresh audience every night nearly every punchline is received with a stark silence because we've all heard it a thousand times. We all begin to question whether any of this is good. Did we screw the pooch on this entire thing? Will opening night have three audience members, two of whom leave during intermission, the other sitting there long after the show is over because he expired? Will my show actually kill someone because of how boring it is?
Obviously, this is unrealistic pessimism, but that's an example of the inevitable insecurities people feel when performances are looming. Having done this before, I know that everything will turn out fine. The real question however, is should I allow my play to be "fine?" For me and my cast, I firmly believe that we have to push to the very end and not grow complacent. Not only does this improve the show, but it also raises the stakes of the performances. Newness, freshness can be discovered even this late in the process and needs to be pushed for. Otherwise you're going to end up with a "fine" production, which is a disservice to the audience and everyone involved when there were wide opportunities to find more.
See my show! Wednesday!