(All images used with permission. Photography by Mike Groves.)
You may remember me. Short hair, bumpy face, vacant stare, used to blog occasionally? Sounding familiar?
Things got a little messy in February. See, my boyfriend directs the university opera, and this year’s production was Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. The stage manager had to back out at the last minute. “If you can’t find aaaaaanyone else,” I told Ian, “I can jump in.” I stage-managed this school’s production of Man of La Mancha many years ago, and dimly remembered feeling good about the project.
Despite his best efforts, Ian could not find anyone else. I suddenly found myself attending nightly rehearsals, taking multitudinous notes on blocking and line changes, painting and schlepping set pieces, venturing into the catwalk to mess with heavy lights, occasionally helping the costumer make satin evening capes and lace-draped gowns, calling light, sound, and curtain cues… and generally cursing the day my mother met my father.
My day job suffered, as did my housekeeping, relationship, blogging, hygiene, and will to live. Local law enforcement folks left a “maintain your lawn or suffer the consequences” note jammed into our door. “Not a chance,” we thought, “not until the after the opera.”
Management does not suit me; I transmogrified from “people person” to “hate-spewing volcano” in record time. Just when I thought I’d reached my personal frustration peak, numerous technical difficulties turned me up to 11. I’m STILL seething, and the whole shebang ended a week ago.
Before being dubbed stage manager, I did an intense 40-minute workout every day. By the end of the month, I was settling for 15 minutes of the easiest yoga imaginable, usually performed at 1:30 AM. I drank more soda in February than I usually drink in a year.
Don’t think I was the only overworked, tightly-wound art-maker in town. Hell no! The opera cast and chorus were working night and day, not only learning their parts but building sets. The (volunteer!) costumer worked 12-14 hours a day, the prop master worked miracles, and the orchestra certainly did their time. Nearly all of us had jobs or school to worry about, often both. Obviously, trying to direct everyone and everything probably aged Ian ten years.
The production was a success, and we all lived to tell about it. Once hazy nostalgia kicks in, we’ll recall the show fondly and be proud of our work… and maybe by then, I’ll have regained my usual lamb-like composure.
Until then, I still hate everyone and everything. Grrr, rawr, boo, hiss.