Friday, June 25, 2010

Theatre Makes You Forget

How is it that the act of doing a play can make your mind put aside everything else in your life for those few precious hours? It's truly a beautiful thing. I'm not sure how it happens, adrenaline maybe, or the need to focus on what's on the stage or perhaps a combination of the two. But it is an amazing talent the mind has for putting everything else in some closet in your brain that gets shut and locked until you're finished.

This week has been a whirlwind of theater. Twelfth Night opened last Friday and it is truly a magical production. The set and the costumes are beautiful and the actors are incredible. Friends Like These opened last night at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I had to hand it over to another stage manager for tonight and tomorrow night as I am committed to Twelfth Night for those two performances. I don't have children, but I think I now a bit of what it must be like to leave your kid with a babysitter for the first time. I had to really resist the urge to call and check on them. It's not an easy show to run and so as I watched Twelfth Night tonight my mind kept going back to the booth of Friends Like These and hoping they were doing alright.

I go back to FLT tomorrow afternoon and then leave them again for the final Hollywood Fringe Production. Super Sidekick is in full rehearsal mode. It's the coming of age tale of a superhero's sidekick, complete with evil ninja koalas. Super Sidekick is a children's musical written by Gregory Crafts, also the writer of Friends Like These. And so this week I feel a bit like a bowling ball being sent down a lane that has the rubber gutter guards for kids, I bounce from place to place, cast to cast, booth to booth and script to script. I actually caught myself telling myself out loud as I walked to get dinner that I needed to remember to breathe. Then I started to laugh because if I'm unconsciously speaking out loud to myself, it must be something important that my brain needs to tell me. And so I followed the directions given to me by my subconscious. I took a few moments to breathe and remind myself how incredibly blessed and lucky I am to be traveling down this incredibly insane yet fulfilling alley and how thankful I am that I have the rubber bouncers covering the gutters so I don't fall off.

After the show, as I cleaned up, locked up and left, life outside of the theatre came flooding back to me. The to-do lists, the conversation with my grandparents that reminded me that I really do need to get to Indianapolis soon -- a thing I've been promising for two years and it still hasn't happened. The fear that if I don't get there this fall I may regret not taking the time for the trip. The wish that I could fix everything and make a friend completely better, the sadness at the realization and acceptance that I can't. The tiredness and desire to crawl into my bed and sleep for hours and the guilt that my once aloof kitten now follows me everywhere because I'm clearly not home enough and she misses me.

All of these things along with the good thoughts, an old friend is coming to LA this weekend and we get to have breakfast on Sunday, a short term tutoring job that will help me get to NYC for the fringe festival in August, how lucky I am to have amazing friends and to be doing things I love, all of these thoughts came rushing into my head as I left the theatre tonight. I know the spell of the theatre can't last forever, but it definitely is a nice reprieve from normal life. Apart from a four hour version of Hamlet I can't figure out how to get that spell to last longer than it does and I suppose that's a good thing because the longer you stay in that world the harder it is to come back.

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