Archive | 11:25 am

Four Openings

11 Jan


…See, there’s a reason I always take Opening days off from work.¬†

At the ass-end of Hell Week, after an often frustrating Preview where you very quickly learn all the shit NOT to do, and you’re tired and inevitably don’t sleep really well because of troubleshooting in your head all night long — the last thing you want is to go into the Office and put up with 8 hours of bullshit on TOP of it.

…But I didn’t have any choice today.

…Because Boss is MIA again, and we Opened 3 Road Shows this morning.

…Making that 4 shows I’ll be Opening in total today…

…And while the bulk of the B.S. is being handled right now by the WHS Pimp…we are still tag-teaming on the info and resources stream, while I finish payroll, work orders, and whatever last-second Corporate reports are thrown at me.

The shows started at 10 a.m.. in three different cities, branching out in three different directions from our Warehouse…up to 185 miles away. One over the pass through snow, one across the bridge through traffic, and the other: south. Inevitably the relocation of our product was held up, tossed off, mutilated, stripped and partially deconstructed before we finally got it to where it needed to be…P.O’s then sent to local hardware stores for immediate repairs, and we are still late on the last one with a salesman on the floor, even while a contractor is climbing on the roof to re-shingle.

…Meanwhile reports I turned into Boss earlier in the week for forwarding are all being bounced back to me again with exclamation marks because he forgot to turn them in…am trying to figure the schedule for a bunch of repairs with no idea how the sales specs are floating, or if we have time to book them as early as next week…and someone ate the last of the stale donuts in the fridge from Wednesday.

Look: I know I haven’t been in the greatest mindset lately, but I think this crap would challenge anybody about to wretch their guts out in front of God and everyone tonight, on no sleep and one cup of coffee.

Straight up, I knew this wasn’t exactly going to be a “fun” Opening to begin with.

Frankly, it’s a total mind fuck of self-consciousness, regrets, frustrations and some strange game I’ve unknowingly been playing with myself that goes something like: If I focus hard enough, kill every last ounce of self-vanity, and let everything come out at it’s most ugly, shameful, despairing, naked, hopeless, frustrating, gut-wrenching state…I will “Win.”

…”Win” what? I dunno.

…I still haven’t figured that out.

I’ve only just realized the sick little torture I’ve been allowing me to do to myself.

…All I know is the total self-rage and hopeless sense of inadequacy when something comes out “wrong” or I’m not really “in it” or I try something new that doesn’t work, is on a whole other level with this show. Mercifully I have two intermissions in it to go outside, try to cool off, re-focus and re-group. But for a person who has always been hard on themselves on performance levels…I’ve taken this one to a whole new intensity.

…Which isn’t good.

…And probl’y more than a little frustrating to the others around me when I start to lose it.

…So today, now that I’ve seen what a live audience can do to me…now that I know that feeling of being watched and pointed at in circumstances of self-conscious levels that I am more than a little familiar with…in fact the REASON I wanted to do this role to begin with…I HAVE to try and be a little kinder to myself. Doesn’t mean I will be, but I’ve got to at least try.

…I have got to realize that for most people in the audience: this is just a “show.” They cannot be expected to care or understand what it takes to put oneself through it, what it feels like afterward, or the actual, actual horror of realization that maybe if you pissed your pants right now, that would be about the only more degrading thing you could be putting yourself through, up on that stage. Because for me, it ISN’T just a show. It is highly personal. Which is a dangerous thing to play with.

…For some reason, I thought that with all those weeks of rehearsal and living through it over and over again, it would somehow get easier to deal with by the time we’d Open.

But it isn’t.

That’s the truth.

And while I certainly don’t want to be little Miss Debbie Downer on an Opening Night that we have all worked really fucking hard for…I feel like if I just admit this crap now, it’ll somehow help later.

That’s what I’m going for.

…I actually could not be prouder to work with these young people, who have pushed themselves to do and say things with a hideous truth of deception, with the kind of dedication that makes them viciously hateful. It is so incredibly brave of them, to face not only us, but a full house of patrons every performance, who don’t KNOW how wonderfully joyous and deliciously fun they truly are to be with.

…I am grateful, further, for the mind-games thrown from every-which-way direction by our “Aunt Lily” and “Mrs. Tilford”…who make it so easy to remember this emotional place of existence and revisit it every time with a fresh shock of slap marks still across my face.

I appreciate the good man, who is our “Joe,” for seeking a kinder less vengeful version of his character…even when “Martha” presses him much further than she should.

…And I lose my shit…maybe not always “fully”, maybe not as “snotting ugly” with consistency…but at least legitimately, and painfully…every time, because of the person I face most on that stage…who has taught me so goddamn much about so many things, not least of which how to trust someone so hard, so far, so faithfully that no matter how wrecked I am at the end: she will always, always be there.

Dear Marty, my dude-chick of love in every-day life:

On stage, even if I didn’t know you as the friend that I do…I’d be jealous of anyone who faced a partner like you, in front of all these people, who can somehow make them all go away, and keep you safe.

Happy Opening, “Children’s Hour” family.

With Love,

~ Martha.


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