Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hot Damn

So.  It's almost 4am. I have insomnia (as I always do after tech). I finished the drawings for my opening night gifts.  What to do?  Oh right! I have a blog.

In complete and full honesty, the show is in such great shape.  In my head however?  Well, not as much.

Tonight we had mics for the first time could have gone worse? Probably?

Again, honestly, the mics weren't too bad. We have a competent sound designer and she set up a good mix pretty quickly.

It was third dress rehearsal tonight, the first two dress rehearsals went really well.  But tonight I had a mini-mental-break down about 2/3s of the way through the show.  As you so often do for tech, I was sitting in the house, not horribly far from the directors.  We had a scene change done only with actors (because the entire five rest of my run crew was doing a quick change) and it was atrocious.  Like, I completely doubted whether those actors had ever touched a piece of furniture in their entire lives (we're going to run that change tomorrow...a lot).

And so I was in the middle of trying to sort this horrible mess out and I missed a cue.  It was far from a crucial cue and the entire directing turns and snaps at me.  It wasn't yelling and it wasn't angry, but it was A) brusque, B) rude, and C) While I was in the middle of something important.  Any other day. Any other time, I would have been fine, but tonight was a disaster and so I was already on edge.  My throat got tight, my stomach knotted, my breathing got short, and my head began to buzz.  I called the rest of the show distracted, feeling like I needed to throw up.  As soon as it was over, I took a walk to clear my head.

Saying this now, it feels so silly.  It wasn't a big deal. The directors were completely within their rights.  I was just so overwhelmed and so near the edge of my breaking point.  After my walk I ran into my music director, a woman who I love and trust, and so for about a minute I sobbed into her shoulder. Then I got control of myself and went inside for acting notes.  By the end of tech notes (which I was forced to run because of an absent production manager) I was feeling normal and a little bit silly.

So.  Why on earth was tonight so bad? Firstly, the show I'm working has one lead who talks approximately 80% of the show. Tristan, who I've mentioned before, is that lead and he is, unsurprisingly, fantastic (he's also the production manager, see my note about that above).  However, since spring break, his voice has been in shreads.  He's been on partial vocal rest (marking the singing in rehearsals) for almost two weeks now and it hasn't helped.  Today he was on complete vocal rest. No speaking. No singing.  Little did I realize that this applied to the show tonight.

Tristan spoke his lines quietly (so quietly even the mics didn't really pick him up) and didn't sing his part at all.  So here I am, with about 20% of the dialogue and vocals for the entire run of the show.  I know this show backwards and forwards, inside and out, and I could just, just barely call it.  If my crew hadn't been on top of their game, I think I would have broken down a lot sooner.  About two songs in, my music director, bless her, sang Tristan's part, which gave me something to go off of at least.

Again, if I'm being my honest with myself (most of me is screaming otherwise), I did call a great show.  I only had one or two cues off, even with missing lines, missing songs, and scene changes gone awry.  But it was enough to shatter my confidence and stress me out more than I've been stressed out since college.

Tomorrow will be better.  The mic problems we had (because while mics went well, we inevitably had problems) will be fixed tomorrow. Dear GOD, hopefully Tristan's voice will be better tomorrow (at least enough so that he can speak and be heard hopefully).  We'll run the awful scene changes.  Everything will be fine.  Today was just a bad day.


In other news, all stage managers sing to their rehearsal CDs while also calling cues on the way home from techs.  That's not just me....right?  ................right?  It's strangely relaxing actually, I enjoy doing it.  Also, I have 18+ bumps (0 count light cues that happen at the end of a song) in the musical, so I can use the practice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


So on the tail of a speculative stage management post, I suppose I'll post a fairly personal spiel.

Occasionally I play Starcraft II with friends (Boyfriend and Will most often).  I don't play competitively, we play against computers (when I'm playing).  But I still have the tendency to get upset over my perception of the competition.  Will and Boyfriend play Starcraft a great deal more than I do and that shows in our skill levels.  I get frustrated that my army is frequently obliterated or that their scores are frequently more than double mine.

Well, recently after a rather frustrating game for me, Will mentioned (not in these words, but I think this was the essence of what I needed to here) that maybe it wasn't just a problem with competition for me.  Maybe I was equating success in games to self-worth.  I rejected the notion at first.  I've always been competitive and that seemed to be all the explanation I needed.

But I'm not good at just taking a surface thought (of mine) at face value.  Why was I competitive?  Why was winning/do well so important to me?  And I slowly, over the course of a couple weeks, began to realize how deeply my feeling of self-worth was tied into my achievements.  I had to do something successful to make myself feel good.  I couldn't just be happy being me, I had to push myself. I had to be the best, the winner.  Or I had to be perceived as smart, or competent, or capable.  My sense of self-worth was and is deeply tied up with how other perceive me.

Now (I haven't done a post on this, though I've meant to) I am very careful about the face I present to various people. With my closest friends (and to some extent these days my family) I'm just me.  Not really putting out a persona at all.  At work, I'm serious, competent, calm, and in control.  I present myself that way because those are the traits needed for my job.  Now, those traits aren't manufactured.  They are very much part of me.  But I've realized that not only do I present myself that way because it's necessary, but also because if someone doesn't think of me as competent and capable, I tend to feel awful about myself.

I've always thought I had high self-esteem.  I don't care about what people think of me.  I know I'm capable person who does the best she can.  And I suppose that is true to some extent.  If I cosplay something in public, I don't really care what strangers think of me.  But the people I know?  The people that I interact with?  Those are the people who I crave approval from desperately.  I'm constantly surprised when someone praises me, because in my head, it's truly not deserved.  Why would someone praise me...ever.

I need to work on this.  I need to be okay with myself.  I hate realizations like this.


A friend of mine, Beth (from this post), who also stage manages, cannot stand intermission. She says it interrupts the flow of the show.  Even when kept to the correct length, they are choppy and completely unnecessary.  As a stage manager, she just hates dealing with them and the complications that they create.

As a stage manager, I don't mind dealing with them, but I do wonder at their necessity.  People will sit through a two hour+ movie without a break without even thinking about it.  Hell, they'll even sit through a three+ hour movie; possibly with more grumbling, but they'll still do it.  However, if a play runs more than about 90 minutes without an intermission everyone gets up in arms.

Is there a reason for this?  There's no reason people can't just sit through the play like they do for a movie.  Maybe it's just so ritualistic and traditional that it's an integral part of theatre?  Maybe people just have the expectation of intermission, so they get horribly upset if it's not there?

I don't really know, but the whole mindset is baffling to me.  My college once did a four hour play that end up having two intermissions.  I'm not entirely sure why we couldn't just have one intermission in the middle, but whatever works I guess?  Ultimately, I think I've accepted that intermission is just part of theatre and I don't mind dealing with it.  I'm just not sure it's necessary.