It’s been a while.
And here I guess is where I admit that keeping something like this up regularly is something that only works for me when I’m not busy. As soon as I get busy, writing here sort of fell by the wayside, and I never found my way back to it till now.
In October the thing that happened was Tom Jones, my second mainstage show at Actors Theatre. It was directed by Jon Jory, which was a little intimidating because he was someone my theatre history professor talked about in class. It turns out that working with someone whose name you knew before you came to the theatre is a little nerve-wracking at first, until you realize that they are really just a person and a director, and then it’s like working with anyone (albeit an anyone who is extremely talented and good at what they do). One thing I really enjoy about rehearsals generally, and especially about the shows I’ve worked on here, is the opportunity to watch great artists at work. I’ve learned a lot about different directing styles and it’s been fascinating watching these artists at work, building the words on the page into something that an audience can connect to. It’s part of the magic of theatre, and it never gets old.
After Tom Jones was Christmas and the Tens, which I was lead stage manager on. It was a lot of fun, but the most stressed I think I’ve been here, because I was scheduling rehearsals for nine plays and nineteen actors, all of whom were also cast in a mainstage, so I couldn’t send out the next days schedule until Our Town’s call was sent and I could work around whatever their day was. But at the ened it all came together, and it was awesome being able to make something that we could say was truely ours.
And now we are in the last weekend of the Humana Festival, which as been a string of very long days and early rehearsals, but also amazing work in the rehearsal rooms and onstage, and the opportunity to meet and hang out with a lot of cool folks, and eat a good bit of free food.
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is April. As of tomorrow, I can no longer say I’m leaving next month. I’ll have to say I’m leaving this month.
On the one hand, I’m not ready to be done here. I’ve had such an amazing experience working at Actors this season, and made great friends and worked with awesome people, and made some damn good plays. I don’t want to have to give it up. On the other hand, I also feel a lot more prepared to go out and find what happens next. I’ve learned so much here, about how to be a good stage manager and about the sort of stage manager I am, about what I want out of this job and also why I keep doing it in the first place.
There is a moment at the end of Remix 38, one of my Humana shows, that hits me every time. This is the apprentice show, so all 19 acting apprentices (the equivalent of the interns) are in this collection of short plays written especially for them. The last play is about weddings, and at the end there is a wedding in reverse that starts with everyone drunkenly dancing on the stage and rewinds through the cake and the toasts and dinner all the way back to the ceremony. At the end, all the apprentices are sitting looking at the girl playing the bride, and then they turn out and look at the audience, with love and affection. And the music is great and heartwrenching, and the first time we did that scene I think all the apprentices and interns in the rehearsal room teared up. It was a moment of connection as we all realized that this thing we’ve been doing together is almost over, and that the people we’re with now will soon be scattered around everywhere. But also that we are all here right now, together, making theatre, connecting with an audience. And it’s great.
I still get that feeling every time I watch that moment from backstage at the end of the show. And it’s awesome and it makes all the stress and annoyance worth it.