Why dost I talk in such fashion as to make the lovely reader work harder than one shouldst have to on this, the world of wide webs?
Because I recently got into theatre again, despite my family’s threats to move and not tell me where.
I know what you’re thinking: “She spelled ‘theater’ wrong, permanently tarnishing not only her reputation, but that of the internet, as well.”
Though I am loathe to point it out, you are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong!
In college, I minored in “Theatre” and that is how they spelled it on my degree. And it was not a mistake. Unlike how they left the ‘r’ out of “Bachelor’s Degree”. (Makes it hard to explain on job applications that, while I did graduate college, it was only with a Bachelo’s degree.)
“Theatre” is spelled that way on purpose. In order to show that we are better than everyone else, we spell the word wrong. This technique of flipping the last letters only really works for “Theatre”. Believe me, I’ve tried using it with other fields. So far nobody seems impressed when I tell them I majored in “Liberal Arst”.
Anyway, my family is never happy when I get involved in theater because I get a little…well, maybe a lotle, crazed. My role in theatre is usually some sort of management like Stage Manager, who stands on the stage and freaks out. This is different from the Director, or “Audience Manager”, who sits in the audience and freaks out.
Stage Managers and Directors have to freak out because part of our jobs is to envision what the play could be in a perfect world with an unlimited budget and no fire codes or laws of gravity to follow. Then we yell at people when the reality doesn’t match that vision.
This may sound simple, but it often takes months of hard work and sleep deprivation to build yourself into an adequate frenzy. The costumers, set designers, tech crew, and actors are all depending on you to set the bar for crazy behavior. If you set the bar too low, the other people in the show might not feel comfortable exploring the full bounds of their crazy. And theatre just can’t happen without thoroughly crazy people.
Like the saying goes, “There are no small mental breakdowns. Only small stage managers causing a massive scene over the fact that someone moved a prop six inches to the left on the prop table. AND THAT’S NOT WHERE IT BELONGS!!!”
The hardest part of theatre is the week leading up to opening night, which is called “TECH Week”. “TECH” is an anagram that stands for “Theatre Exploding in Catastrophic Havoc”. That is a euphemism to make it sound more pleasant than it is.
Tech week is a disaster and it tends to eat up every second of your life, so you have to plan ahead and get all your regular activities done the week before, like blogging, showering, and seeing the sun. (That’s why theatre people are so fond of the spotlight: it reminds them of what the outside world is like.)
I didn’t include grocery shopping on that list because it is unnecessary for management. As a Stage Manager, I don’t have time to eat during tech week. But I don’t need to. If I die, I know the actors will not enter the stage with their correct props at the right time. So I survive not on nutrients, but on sheer determination. Also, I can sneak bits of the prop food from backstage. Sometimes it’s not even made of wax.
And somehow, thru the sheer magic of theatre, it all always comes together and manages to avoid being the disaster it rightly should have been, and in fact was mere hours before the audience arrived.
So as you read these words, I am at the theatre, un-groomed and yelling at someone, possibly the wax food, because our Hamlet can’t remember where he put Yorik’s skull, which is particularly weird because we’re putting on Peter Pan.
And don’t tell anyone, but I’m loving every minute of it.