Stage Manager Life

Posted by  Been
May 28, 2007

In my old job, at Ye Olde Archive, I worked four days and had three days off every week. It was choice! It was. I slept in, assed about wasting time, had leisurely lunches out with friends, watched CSI at noon in my pyjamas, whatever. I still used to bitch about work, of course, even though I was only there four days a week. There's always something to bitch about. Some stress. I used to imagine that I'd accomplish great things with my three day weekends... great works of written art... plays and novels... that I'd volunteer at the SPCA... that I'd, you know, discover a new planet or reinstate Pluto as one... perfect "beaming" technology and thus make air travel obsolete. Things like that. But in reality, the more time I had off, the more I wasted.

How times change!

When I got my new job, as Ye Olde Stage Manager, it was a dream come true. Suddenly, though, I was catapulted from working four days a week to working six. Theatre weeks are six days long whether you're in rehearsals or the season. One day off, six days on. That's how it goes. And funny enough, I've adjusted just fine. I have no complaints. I work a lot but it's good work, it's fun, and in a very few weeks of full-time input you get to see a physical and tangible result. You get to see the show on stage with audiences filing into the theatre every night. There's nothing quite like that sort of immediate reward for your effort!

Initially I was worried I wouldn't be able to line up work for after the current season. Yes, I was living a stage management dream, but the show I was brought into only had five weeks of rehearsal and a four week season. My fears, as it turned out, were unfounded. We opened Saturday night, three nights ago. And I now have two more shows lined up to stage manage, back to back. Because they're all slated to have their run in the same studio theatre, it means now that the first show is off the ground and into its season, I've started up rehearsals for the second. Once the second has started its season, I'll start rehearsals for the third. I've gone from one day off to none. Rehearsals run in the daytime from Monday to Saturday. Performances run in the evenings from Tuesday to Sunday. I'm seven days on every week and five of those days I'm working both shows, day and night. And you know what? I love it!

I'm a bit tired and I find that normal things, things that used to be a snap to accomplish, now take a little clever scheduling to get done. Things like banking and laundry and grocery shopping. But otherwise... surprisingly few complaints.

It makes me ask YET AGAIN, what the hell did I do with three days off every week? Why do I not have warp drive to show for it? It really is true that the more time I have, the more I will waste. It must be a human condition. Look, I don't recommend a seven day and two job work week as a general rule. But for now... since it's a finite situation... I'm okay with it. By the time September 1st rolls around, I will have helped get three stage shows up and running. Wicked!

After that, I might slip into a well-deserved coma. We'll just see.

Copyright Corinne Simpson

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