Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sunday, January 09, 2005
Dark of the Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Exhausted and trying to overcome a migraine.

I was called in to the show a little after 5 PM last night, with them hoping I could manage the commute in time to get in for an 8 PM curtain. One of the leads was injured during the matinee and had to go to the hospital. The stand-by – who takes over the role as of Tuesday – went on for the remainder of the matinee and had to go on for the evening show. I’ve never worked with the standby, but the dresser who’s supposed to take over for the dresser who’s leaving (and who was at the hospital for the actress) was out of town, and they had no one else. The fact that I haven’t done that track since June . . .

Against my better judgment, I agreed to go in and do it. I figured as long as we could get through the show, it’s better than having the show come to a grinding halt. The injured actress will be okay – but can’t do her final performance today, which is very upsetting for her and for everyone. What a way to leave the run of the show! She is a lovely person and a wonderful performer who deserves all the best in every area of her life. And her stand-by is a terrific person and also very talented, and was a joy to work with.

Unfortunately, people logged on to the internet with absolutely ridiculous rumours about what happened – some of them claimed to be in the audience. Unless they were backstage (which they wouldn’t be), they don’t know what happened and should shut up.

The show’s spokesperson made an accurate statement to the press and the internet gossip is simply disrespectful to everyone who works on the show.

Management, as usual, instead of making it easier for everyone to do their jobs, made it harder. And one of the producers treated me like something on the bottom of his shoe all night, which is not acceptable. My job is to come in when there is a problem and to do my part as a cog in the wheel of the show to keep it running. I don’t want attention or acclaim. I want to be allowed to do my job to the best of my ability. Not to have even more obstacles thrown into the path of keeping my part of the show running and then, when I overcome them in spite of the person creating them, being treated like dirt. In the theatre, EVERY person who does something during the course of a show is important, no matter what the department. If something is off, it starts a domino effect. And, since it is live theatre, things go wrong and we have to be able to think on our feet to fix the problem and keep the show running. Producers like Cameron Macintosh, who came up in the theatre by actually working backstage, understand that. They appreciate the entire company and let them know. And that is why working on one of his shows is a pleasure. Other producers believe that only the leads are important to a show and everyone else is a servant. We are all there to SERVE the SHOW, in our individual capacities, which is different from being a servant, and we are all equally relevant to the running of the performance.

The business is not going to change, and I am not going to agree to be treated like a vassal, so it simply points out yet again that I need to accelerate my transition out of the business.

In a hundred years’ time, will my frustration at certain situations last night matter? Of course not. By today, it shouldn’t even matter. In the scheme of the universe, it means nothing. In my own life, during this Saturn Retrograde, it is another life lesson. That’s what Saturn Retrogrades are all about – life lesson challenges. And I’m reminded, yet again, that this is no longer where I should be and it’s time to move on.

I love the theatre, I have a commitment to the show and to the people in it. I take pride in my work. In my job in this particular show, I’m not there to make decisions; I’m there to run cues. I do the best that I can with decisions made – whether I agree with them or not – to do the best job I can. However, more and more, decisions are made that are counterproductive to good work. It’s not isolated to this one show – its’ a growing trend caused by decision makers who don’t know how backstage works and how vital it is to run smoothly and in a well-choreographed backstage.

So, I need to leave.

And the three-year transition I planned is too long.

I can’t just up and leave, but I need to refocus and restructure so that I can make the transition more quickly. Unfortunately, part of refocusing the energy makes it even more difficult for me to be at the theatre when I still need to be there, because my energy and my heart are somewhere else. To do well in theatre requires 200% of one’s focus, energy, and passion. When I’m in the building, I now give 100%, which gets the job done, and done well, but it’s still not what’s needed to be the absolute best I can be. But if I continue to give the 200%, I don’t have the energy to make the transition, and I’ll be trapped in a career that I no longer wish to be in.

On the level of last night’s show, I came in and did my job. Whatever my personal frustrations, the show went on and the audience loved and supported the stand-by, which is how it should be. It happened, and today, those that are leaving the production can have their emotional last show, and go through their separation process as they need to.

On a personal level, I had to face the fact that on many levels, I am much farther into the transition than I am on some other levels and I have to find a way to restructure.

I don’t want to slack off when I’m in the theatre or treat anyone unfairly. Nor am I willing to put up with behavior towards me as a person that I find unacceptable, or remain until I’m so bitter and angry that I become a detriment to a production instead of an asset.

I feel that I have lost a part of myself, and I am mourning. After all, the theatre has been my passion and my career for 24 years, and how many people get a chance at that? I’m very grateful for the opportunities and experiences.

But I have to move on.

I’m not exactly sure how yet, or how to restructure my three year plan that seemed, oh, so sane! when I constructed it over the last few months.

But I will figure it out.

In the meantime, today I have nearly an incapacitating migraine to fight. I need to do a rewrite on the Lindisfarne article and do as many episodes of The Widow’s Chamber as possible.

I’d like to stay in bed with a cold compress over my eyes, but, unfortunately, that is not an option. And I realize that the migraine was triggered was much by the friction tearing up my soul as by any physical factors.

Today is the dark of the moon, and a good time to wrestle with these issues.



At 2:41 PM, Blogger B. K. Birch said...

I hope you feel better.


At 6:37 PM, Blogger Ann said...

I hope you feel better too.
You should read through your own blogs - at least the recent ones that I've read! It sounds like you have absolutely no downtime. This schedule you keep will massacre your health, if you're not careful! You should tell yourself that when you have a migraine, you're entitled to take the day off and do nothing - and even when you don't have a migraine, you're entitled to that.
End of sermon. Pastor Ann will now shut up and exit - but I do hope you feel better, and can slow down a little.


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