It took three and a half years and over 30 productions for me to reach the burn out stage. Everyone said it would happen eventually. I didn't believe them. I love stage managing, I love being a production manager. When you love something it's impossible to get burnt out right? Wrong! When it happened it came very quickly. I felt like I had been pushed to the ground. After Birthday Boys closed I had intended to jump right into rehearsals for our current production of Julius Caesar. I dragged myself to the first two rehearsals, I suppose that should have been a warning sign, but I ignored it. Then I went on vacation for a week, I figured I just needs a bit of time to transition from one show to the next and a week would be sufficient. I came back even less motivated to go to rehearsals than I was before I left. I absolutely did not want to sit through 6 more weeks of rehearsals. Burnout status was officially confirmed as was the fact that I possibly needed a bit more time off. At that exact moment I was having a hard time remembing what I liked about stage managing.
I'm luck to have such an amazing and supportive leadership team at Theatre Unleashed. I quickly sent an email out to my fellow executive team members asking for help covering rehearsals. Without the help of each of them, particularly Greg Crafts, our Managing Director, I would not have been able to back away and take the time I needed.
Two weeks ago I rejoined the production of Julius Caesar. I admit, the transition back was a rough one. I still had a hard time figuring out why I ever thought this was fun. Tech week went fine, but I was still dragging myself to the theater. And then at some point during the final dress rehearsal everything changed again. Do you remember that moment in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, where he is standing on the mountain after stealing all the presents and he hears the singing from the village and his heart grows ten sizes? Standing in the booth, looking down on the stage watching this magical world come together, seeing this incredible cast and being completely spellbound by the costumes, lights and sound, it all came back to me. Why I love what I do, why I choose to do this...and as quickly as it arrived, the burnout was gone and I was excited and happy to be up in the booth again.
It's a good feeling being back where you belong and an even better feeling wanting to be back where you belong. This week I've found myself missing the booth and am completely excited that tomorrow is Friday and I get to return to the booth for a few hours.