Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why this Show is so Hard

I'm four weeks into rehearsals of my new show and I still feel slightly frantic like I do when I'm just starting a new show.

Everything is so overwhelming and it's a fucking high school show!  This is ridiculous and it's driving me crazy.  I can't really even articulate exactly what is making this so hard.  Part of is that I went directly into this show from my last show.  I had virtually no time to sit down and prep.  In most professional theatres you get an entire week to prep: set up your book, tape the groundplan on the floor of the rehearsal space, premake paperwork, talk with your director and designers, and more.  But I didn't get a prep week.  I didn't even get any thinking time.  Auditions for this show were on top of my last show's performance dates.  I think part of this feeling of frantic energy is just never quite being on top of all the paperwork and things I have to do.

The next thing that's making it hard is the sheer number of emails I get a day.  There are days when I've literally woken up to 50 emails.  And frequently, I have to respond to 30-40 of those emails.  So, I spend the first two hours after waking up answering emails and then by the time I'm done another 20 or so emails have come in to which I need to respond.  And then by the time I respond to those, it's time for rehearsals.  I'm good with email.  I respond quickly and I know a lot of tricks about my email server and I only respond to the people who need responding to, but 50+ emails a day is just ridiculous.  Many times the emails could just be condensed in one or two different emails, not 12, which would just make my life so much easier.

Number three on the list of things making this show so difficult.  After rehearsals I have meetings pretty much every day.  I meet on Mondays with the choreographer to discuss how things are going and next week's schedule.  I meet on Tuesdays with the music director and conductor to discuss next week's schedule and to check in.  I meet with the director on Thursdays to check in about my discussions with the choreographer and the music director/conductor and then to discuss next week's schedule.  On Friday's I discuss any leftover business with the director and go over the rough schedule with her.  And, I have impromptu meetings pretty much every other day, sometimes twice a day, too.  For some reason (I think because most of the directors also have full time other jobs) our directors are never in the same place at the same time, so it takes an obscene amount of coordinating.

Number four: we rehearse in our theatre.  We don't have rehearsal rooms and this is both a blessing and a curse.  It's nice for spacing to be in the actual space.  It's awful in regard to controlling the kids (actors).  There are 37 of them and they wander about the auditorium and I don't have a god-mic so I just have to yell/project to get the kid's attention.  The other problem with rehearsing in the space is that's also where the scene shop is, so the designers and carpenters are often in and out of the space working while we have rehearsals.  This wouldn't be a problem if I didn't get pulled aside everyday by a wayward designer or technical director (luckily our production manager is an actor, so he doesn't pull me aside) to talk to them about a note in the previous day's rehearsal report or something they're curious about.  And the thing is, these are important things to address, but I'm trying to run rehearsals!

Number five on this very long list: we haven't had a production meeting for a month and a half.  Our last production meeting we said: "Everything's going smoothly, let's meet again at the end of February."  But then, rehearsals started and people started to suddenly have a million questions.  We've had small meetings with designers, but we really need one where everyone is present.  It's just killing me the amount of extra work and number of extra discussions I'm having to have.

I think that might be the end of this list?  I'm not totally sure on that, there's probably other things that make it hard like a large cast, young actors, an obstinate conductor and props designer, etc.  But I think those are the major ones.  I do have two lovely, talented (though young) asms who help me so so much.  So thanks for small (or in this case very large and important) blessings.

The school I'm working at has midwinter break this week though, so I have an entire week off so I can recoup.  I'm also going to go visit Lana and Kat, which I am unbelievably excited for (plus they have much nicer weather than where I am currently).

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