A Change is as Good as a Rest

That’s what they say, anyway. I’m pretty exhausted after my week of change! Contentedly so, though.

Hello DollyLast summer, I was asked to stage manage the local production of Hello, Dolly! I was hesitant, because stage managing is a big commitment. I was told I wouldn’t need to attend all of the rehearsals, so I agreed to take it on.

As this past week approached, I was wondering about my sanity. The whole week, from Sunday morning to late Saturday night, would be consumed by the show. What was I doing adding to my already busy life??? I had to cancel all of my regular evening activities.

And then my gall bladder gave me problems on Monday. I called in sick to work, but dragged myself into rehearsal. I honor my commitments, and I’d given my word, so I had to keep it. (Unfortunately, my employer didn’t see it that way…)

I was home only to sleep for most of the week. My husband thought I was insane. I think my younger children thought I had abandoned them. My oldest was working on the show with me.

It was so much fun! I got to work with amazing performers, and a fantastic crew, some of whom I knew, and others I just met. The music was great, catchy without being annoying. The challenges along the way were minor bumps in the road, and everyone overcame them like professionals.

I miss working on shows. I love stage managing. It was a week of long days and little sleep, and I’m glad I did it. This is why I love theatre!

And now, to sleep!

Blessings,

Mary

The Show Must Go On

This past week I did something I haven’t done for years – I ran the sound for a rehearsal for a dance recital.

Keep calm because the show must go onI’ve been involved in theater since I was in middle school, and I was in dance before that. I remember my first show was a “meler-dramer”, it was even cheesier than a melodrama. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was hooked.

I spent (almost) all of my summers in junior high and high school at Trollwood Performing Arts School, an outdoor 8 week summer school focused entirely on performing. Though I auditioned for the musical every year, I didn’t get a part until later in high school (my singing voice wasn’t very strong). That was OK, though, because there was still lots to do! I learned stage makeup, built props and sets, and was on the stage crew.

Summer wasn’t enough for me, so thank goodness for the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater. I ran the sound board, the lighting board, and started assistant stage managing.

When it came time to choose a college or university course of study, I was blessed to have parents that encouraged me to major in something I enjoyed, and not just something I was good at. So I went for a Bachelor of Arts in Theater.

The school I went to required that students take part in both the technical and the performance sides of theater, which I appreciated. After all, as we used to joke, “Where would performers be without technicians? Screaming naked in the dark.” So at university I built costumes and sets, found props, and focused lights, as well as acting and directing.

I found I did not like the countless “no’s” to get to “yes” that came with auditioning. After university, I focused on the administrative side of theater. I was an usher and worked in the box office for many, many years. Even now, I still work in theater, managing rentals and overseeing the box office.

Last week we had a dress rehearsal for a dance recital, and no sound technician. Because the scheduling mix-up was partly my responsibility, I said I would jump in. The show must go on, right?

It was fun, and thankfully very simple. Stage equipment has come a long, LONG way since I was in school.

Now, it looks very likely that I will be working as the sound tech for another upcoming production. It’s exciting – it’s neat to reconnect with that part of my past. However, I’m anxious about it as well. It’s been almost 20 years (!) since I graduated. I’ve got a lot of brushing up to do. It also means extra hours of work, which in my busy schedule are extremely precious. There’s a point where trading hours for dollars isn’t worth it anymore. However, the production is being put on by a friend of mine, and I want her show to be a success.

The show must go on. It’s in my blood. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blessings,

Mary

 

Theatre Is Life

As I write this it is Sunday night, and I am sitting in the dressing room at the Tidemark as we do our first run through on stage. I have no idea what I am going to write about. So hold on for a stream of consciousness. It will either be earth shattering or extremely dull. ๐Ÿ™‚

laugh now cry laterI’m facing a full week ahead of me with no time off. Starting Tuesday, I will be in this building from 9 am to 9:30 or 10 pm, unless I leave to grab a quick dinner, because I work here. Selling tickets during the day, and on stage at night.

There is a part of my mind that dreads not leaving here. It’s any employee’s nightmare, right? To be stuck in your workplace and not able to leave.

And then there is the excited anticipation of being in front of an audience. For some of you, that may be your worst nightmare! I enjoy being up on stage, though. Public speaking doesn’t frighten me. I can’t wait to hear the laughter, the enjoyment of the audience.

For the last two and a half months, a dozen people have been working together to create something for the sole purpose of entertaining others – sharing a laugh. We have taken words on a page and given them life. Many of us hardly knew each other at the beginning of the process. In fact, at the audition, we were each others’ competition. And we have formed bonds and relationships that will (hopefully) read as genuine to the audience. Because they are. I care about what is going on in the lives of the people onstage and backstage.

In a couple of days, we will offer the gift of laughter to our community – an opportunity to step away from the challenges and doldrums of day to day life. It is an escape from reality, in a way that film and television can never reproduce. Good live theater draws you in. You are in the same room with real people as things are happening, and the only separation is the distance between you and the stage.

One of my favorite quotes is:

Theater is life. Film is art. Television is furniture.

Whether you are nearby and can make it to The Odd Couple this week, or if you are too far to come here, turn off your tv and take in a live theater performance this week, and experience life from a different perspective. Besides, who couldn’t use a good laugh?

Blessings,

Mary

Theatre Has Taken Over My Life (Again!)

Last summer I auditioned for a play with the local community theater – the female version of The Odd Couple. I have my degree in theater, but aside from a little backstage work, I haven’t been on stage since I graduated University.

I’m not sure why I auditioned, really, other than I thought it would be fun. Logically, my mind argued that I have more than enough commitments on my plate already, and what was I thinking adding one more? Especially one that would ultimately take over my life for at least a month, or more.

Odd Couple PosterThere was a small voice in my head that kept calling me to audition though. And sure enough, I was offered a part. Not one of the main characters (thank goodness, or I would surely be breaking down about now). I tell people I’m one of the “cronies”, one of the friends of Olive and Florence who comes over for the weekly game of Trivial Pursuit.

As exhausted as I am, I’ve really been enjoying the process. We’re working with a professional director, Ruth Nichol, and the other women who are in the show are fabulous. We’ve done a few things together for bonding, and I am really looking forward to continuing these relationships into the future.

If you don’t hear from me next week, it’s because we’re putting the last finishing touches on the show before we open. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you happen to be on Vancouver Island, the show runs November 16th-20th at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River. I’d love to have you come see the show!

Blessings,

Mary

PS. I’d love to have you join me in Maui for The Peaceful Woman Passage in February. You have until the end of this month to start your registration and save an extra $400. Remember to enter code “MM” to receive your 10% discount.