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The unexpected ‘woe is me’ post November 3, 2009

Posted by Fiona in Bwargh, Sheer bloody-mindedness, Theatre.

It’s a quarter past one in the morning.  I got back from the tech run for Iolanthe about twenty minutes ago.

To say it went well would be probably true, in a roundabout kind of way, although it was bloody hard work.  Some things never fail to amaze me, like the inability of people to see outside the tunnel vision of directly what affects them, the seeming propensity of actors to be really lovely people and yet trample on your feelings, patience and intentions so effectively (what does the sentence, ‘This is my rehearsal, you’ve had yours and I listened to you and told you how well you were doing and paid you attention and let you work things out at your pace, so can’t you shut up for five minutes while I try and recover this train wreck of a stage?’ mean to you?), and of course that innate ability of people in production teams to chuck every single issue they’ve had in the last week at you in the space of five minutes.

And of course, the way some people manage to realise that what you’d love most in the world after doing one of the bits of a show you most hate is a cup of coffee, a bourbon biscuit, a bit of a confidence boost and a natter.  Maybe it’s the sort of thing you notice in people when you’ve worked with them for a year or so, or maybe it’s just that some people are destined to sainthood.  Particularly the man who made me a cup of coffee at half past eleven when I’d shouted myself hoarse, and the girl who turned up mid-afternoon with a hug, an excess of enthusiasm and a carrier bag of chocolate doughnuts.  When sanctimonious people tell you to ‘pay it forward’, this is presumably what they mean.  It’s got to be.

Tech rehearsals over which I have to preside are absolute anathema to me.  I can’t stand them.  Especially with a large cast, where they don’t do as they’re told, and then moan that it’s taking forever.  I turn into a Guider and that’s bad.  These people are some of them older than me and I’m treating them like eleven year olds.  I hate it.  But it has to be done because if you don’t do that you get walked over.  Tech rehearsals make me resigned to the fact that yes, at heart, I am a pushover.  I just want other people to enjoy themselves.  It makes me sick that I can’t do that, and it makes me sick that I feel the worse because I can’t do that.

Hopefully, though, there’ll be a good show.  Hopefully it’ll be successful.  Hopefully things will go well and then at the aftershow party all the tech team will be ignored because if it’s good tech you won’t know it’s there.  And hopefully – I can’t believe this still matters to me, it makes me sicker than all the rest put together – I’ll get asked back.



1. Lucy - November 3, 2009

Having worked in a support staff (aka dogsbody) role over the summer, I know exactly what you mean, and even more so when actors are involved. I feel a bit the same way in a choir where one part needs attention focusing on it, and the other parts just won’t stop chatting or (possibly worse) humming their own parts along. Yes, we know you can do it, just give other people a chance, OK?

Thank god for the man and the girl, eh? 🙂

stitchthisdarling - November 3, 2009

I know it’s part of their job description that they have to be very self-aware and, dare I say it, on the self-involved side, but honestly, sometimes it makes you wonder. Some of them are brilliant, and lovely, and helpful. A few of them are as bad as comedians and you just find yourself melting into the scenery… until you do something wrong and then you just get a bollocking. I don’t think they really see what they’re doing. Not that that makes it any easier.

Thank GOD for the man and the girl. The girl is my co-stage manager. And she is an absolute godsend!

Lucy - November 4, 2009

Enjoyed it muchly. Congratulations!

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