Stage Manager

Bless his poor little anxious heart, I roped the Huz into theatre and he took the bait, hook line and sinker.

Some of us are built for management. Shoobs is definitely one of those people. He has remarkable instincts, sees the broader picture, and has the creativity to get to an end goal even when obstacles line the path. He has a calming nature, a sense of “don’t worry, I’ll take care of it”. He exhibits this in work, theatre, and party planning (among other things). What he lacks is confidence. He would admit this whole heartedly I am sure. He also lacks the willingness to turn in anything half-assed (when it comes to things he will be held accountable for).

And so he has fallen victim to the love/hate relationship that is theatre.

It is a job. It almost requires full-time dedication, and depending on the cast and complexity of the show, may require more than full-time dedication. And with a full-time job that actually pays, it can be hard to balance. I think he is losing interest, and it makes me a little sad.

This started as a last-minute “dresser” position. Our friends were putting on a production that required many quick changes and they simply couldn’t do it on their ow. While we were out of town for a friend’s wedding, I got a text message asking if we would be willing and available to help out. Shoobs jumped at the chance, entranced by the world of theatre and the coolness of the people in it. This dresser position turned into more of an ASM role which he gobbled up with vigour. He would be given instruction and with a hearty “Yes ma’am!” would run backstage and ask me what the heck that meant. He never gave the impression he didn’t know what was happening, and was always there with a smile and a calming attitude.

So he got asked to do something else. Which he did with equal excitement and anticipation. Which led to something else, and something else, and something else. I think he took a long enough break for us to get married, but has pretty much been all theatre all the time. He is currently stage managing a show for Little Green Pig, and will take a short break for us to go on our honeymoon before he starts another show for Ghost & Spice. And so far I think that’s all he’s committed to. And then he might be done.

Theatre has lost its shine. He delved into the dredges where people are bitter, lazy, irresponsible, and will only stretch their creativity in so far as coming up with excuses. He has worked on shows that don’t sell which is as demoralizing as theatre can get. Especially when you have poured hours into an exhausting affair that most people were only half on board with in the first place. Now you don’t even have the ticket sales to validate your self-torture. But he has also worked on shows where professionalism is key, and folks are genuinely excited about the project they are taking on, and everyone loves him and his creativity. But sadly, those experience aren’t with “our” company and so he has to receive the bitter remarks and underhanded comments regarding commitment and dedication to a (failing, apathetic, disjointed, creatively stagnant) theatre company. 

So what do you do? Hurt your friends feelings by leaving and joining a more positive team? Destroy personal relationships for what may turn out to be an equally dismal affair? Or stick it out, try to fix what’s broken?

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