Letters to Holly

Thursday, July 16

A Day Off

And, man, did I need it.

I realized something yesterday as I was cataloging my manager checklist. My notes are written on the back of business cards, and I've gone through ten of them as I take notes, scratch out bad info, and make notes on new cards. It took a while to remember the last time I did this, but it hit me last night. It was Dad's death last year.

I followed Mom with pockets full of lists of things to do. I had few certain activities and otherwise kept my ear out for things to take care of at the proper time. I kept my head down and jotted everything I needed to keep in mind. That's what I'm doing now. And I feel the same now. Yesterday I was so anxious that I was afraid to eat. I settled on a simple sandwich for dinner and an ice-cream dessert to keep my stomach quiet.

I'm embarrassed to have this association flying around in my gut. I didn't expect those echoes to linger. But at least I know it's not the show filling me with dread. It shouldn't. I've done a dozen shows. I don't have to memorize anything for this one. I'm backstage virtually the entire time. My heavy work is done. I prepared the cast and provided them with props and movement. They have to perform. I only need to show up and stay alert.

I also realized that my curtain speeches will be much easier if I approach them as a stage manager instead of a formal member of the theatre. Stage managers wear all black casual clothes. They have checklists. My speech notes are a checklist. If I put them on a clipboard, I can make them into an in-character presentation. "Hi, I'm your stage manager tonight. Stage managers have checklists for everything, and I have a list to ensure I welcome you properly." I won't have to memorize it. I'll have one of the three easiest jobs each performance -- the tech guys just have to hit the lights and sounds with the scripts in front of them.

Also, we watched the director's cut of Aliens last night. A good action-horror movie is great for perspective. Yes, I may feel a twinge of nerves right now, but I'm not on a desolate moon pursued by a hive of walking acid sharks while the clock ticks down on a nuclear reactor. It always good be worse.

So, good. I'm all settled. Bring on the show.

Your Sis and I enjoyed our last evening together before she hoofs it to somewhere in New England, or as we call it, New VerMaiMassicutt Island. She almost put down the younger cat last night, and after getting the bill, she wishes she did. That's a horrible position to be in. I assured her the cat, who lost five teeth to a common cat disease, will be fine. She can still eat regular food. I'll give her the prescribed medicine while Your Sis is gone. The cats will be here when she gets back. It's just the kind of drama one doesn't need before a big trip. I always play at hating the cats, but they're good pets, and they pre-date me in the household.

Your Dad finished the drywall repair yesterday, and he met me at the office this morning. He said he was glad to do it, to see if he still could. He is a drywall champion. That wall is textbook. He also brought a box of blueberries I'll bag and freeze this weekend.

In the News
Lost made the cut of Emmy nominations again. It's up for best drama, editing, supporting actor (Ben), sound mixing, and writing. In the last category, Lost is the only other show against four episodes of Mad Men.

Picture of the Day
The audience can't see you but they see what you do.


Anonymous said...

i like the humble stage director angle, especially as it makes things easier for you. it also points out your multiple roles.

wish i could see it!

Gregory said...

I'll have a DVD available for your next visit. And oh how we'll mock.