It’s a full week.
…Sleeping is spotty at best, out of control anger management issues, face breaking out, paperwork hell at work, 2 a.m. uterus cramping contractions that last for hours, rehearsals, hair and nail appointments, shopping for the show, interview podcasts, costume fittings, and family driving up for the services and wake, which I will be spending in back-to-back tech runs this Saturday and Sunday.
Theatre, ER Staff, Holy Orders, and the Military are the only professions I know of, where the expectation to show up and work through any contingency is a requirement. Even death.
…Everyone I know has performed while running a fever and puking, despite horrible stresses, sisters weddings, family reuions, ended relationships, and every major Holiday, at some point. Some then push it further through family losses, broken bones, and mental breakdowns. If theater were the Girl Scouts, I’d have earned another badge this week, by the completing achievement of “all of the above.”
…It’s a shitty badge, but for the people who wear it, at least we know we aren’t alone. There were those who came before and those who will after. It’s really the only comfort you get, because otherwise you sound like a giant mal-adjusted asshole to say, “yes, of course I went to rehearsal the day he died. What else would I do?”
…It was my job, this was my team, we had a run-through for tech, which isn’t an “option” on a fully booked schedule, it’s a demand. And so are my fittings Saturday morning, the quick change rehearsal to follow, then the Q2Q, then notes, then the same the following day. Tickets are pre-sold, Preview is in one week, and we can’t open a four-person farce without all four people.
…Which doesn’t help the stress any either, I can tell you. Because nothing at all seems funny right now, and that is also one of those, “tough shit” things I’ve gotta deal with. And I am. Frankly, better than I thought I would. Of course, it isn’t Saturday yet, when it all becomes real because I can’t push whole live people onto a back burner when they’re waiting in the car to go to a funeral while I’m trucking it to the theatre to try on my wigs and teddy with knife rig adjustments.
…I’m sure that at that point, even I will be painfully aware of how fucked up my priorities are. And I will feel like a total asshole. As I should. Because in all the professions who fight on despite circumstances like this one: ours is primarily esthetic make-believe. We aren’t saving a life, putting ours in danger, or making a humanitarian effort. At the end of the day, I’ll have done it for a farce-comedy with dick jokes, that opens in a week and one day.
…From a moral ground, I can’t back that choice either. But it’s the way of the theatre. It always has been, and always will be. And so has been my way, for over 25 years.
…This is one of those instances where, If you have to explain it to a person, no explanation will be acceptable. And I wouldn’t expect it to be. All I know is: it’s what I have to do.
I don’t like it.
Nothing is funny right now.
…And not a single patron will care, or even know, what it took to open this show next Friday.
I’ve got a job to do and I need to just hold my shit together and do it.
…So I will.
Because: That’s the Theatre.