Viewfinder: Backstage at Tableaux

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Soiree leads Allie Stewart, 17, and Michael Adkison practice their steps during opening night for the 2015 Historic Natchez Tableaux. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Children performing in the little maypole section gather before entering the stage of the show’s opening night. During the show, there are more than 200 people backstage working on various jobs. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZAs many may know, the Historic Natchez Tableaux opened Friday night. On the stage, performances were calm and collected.

Backstage was a different story.

“It can get pretty crazy back here,” said Natchez Garden Club Tableaux Chairman Kristin Jordan. “Between the two different casts and all the people supporting, we are dealing with over 200 people.”

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Those 200 people are of all ages. Performers range from 3-years-old to 70.

On opening night backstage, they all mingled in a heap of nerves and excitement.

The youngest in the performance, those participating in the little maypole, create a roadblock near the stage doors with a group of parents watching over them and taking pictures.

Near the back of the room, Soiree lead Michael Adkison consoles his fellow lead a nervous Allie Stewart, 17, as the pair practice their steps.

Needless to say, with all of those people in one place it was pretty loud, but once the show starts it got quiet. Even though it was silent, with the beginning of the performance the backstage craziness was far from over.

“Everybody is freaking out trying to make sure people are in the right places and microphones are on the right people,” Jordan said.

Having performers in the right places is further complicated by the show having two different casts for some roles.

“We have to make sure we have the right people on the right nights, otherwise who knows what will happen,” Jordan said.

Jordan said this is how the performance stays successful.

“It is like this every year,” she said. “If we weren’t worried about all these little things, we would forget about them and things would fall through the cracks.”