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Tap Your Troubles Away June 2, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Sheer bloody-mindedness, Theatre, University.

Not so sure about the dancing (it’s the best recording I could find, sorry), but ‘Tap Your Troubles Away’, one of the big dance numbers from Mack and Mabel, has quite a lot of significance for me.  I stage managed the musical last year, and it always reminds me of some very strong feelings.  At the time, I was very sleep-deprived, I spent a lot of the rehearsal period without a voice, I was worried for my exams and had no opportunity to be on my own for a good month.  Not my roommate’s fault at all – events conspired, but I’m not very good at being with people for too long when I’m stressed.  I tend to need to hide, a lot.  Added to this, my grandmother was dying, and my whole family were running halfway across the country to look after each other.  She passed away on opening night.

Mack and Mabel was difficult for me, because it was the first thing I had stage managed myself, and it had a large cast, and a fair bit of tech, and I felt like I was on my own for a lot of it, with very little support.   The director and choreographer had very strong ideas about what they wanted, and the strong ideas changed roughly every half hour.  When we first plotted the lighting cues, there were sixty-seven.  By opening night, two days later, there were a hundred and thirty odd – and a good thirty or forty in ‘Tap Your Troubles’ alone.  For that reason, the song always speaks to me of ignoring everything around you, everything else you have to deal with and think about and react to, and just concentrating on one thing and not screwing it up.  Of course, I did screw it up, on multiple occasions, standing in my dark corner of backstage with my headset and my score and my pencil yelling “GO!” every other bar as a cue happened.  I am not an adrenaline junkie.  Mack and Mabel taught me the valuable lesson of acknowledging your screw-ups as they happen, but saving them for later.  It’s not the same as self-confidence, but it’s sure as hell just as useful.  On the last night, all the radio mikes that the major cast were using went down.  Luckily my crew were fantastic, and that’s something Mack and Mabel taught me too: if you pick up other people’s pieces, they’ll pick up yours.

I was humming this song earlier and suddenly I realised I’m feeling exactly the same right now: not sleep deprived, this time, and I’ve been able to hide, but I do feel right now like things are out of my control.  My last exam is tomorrow, and I don’t think they’ve gone well overall.  I’m in the library right now, long after most people have finished their exams.  My brain won’t give it a rest, and I know in the next ten days I have one 4am start and at least two more 4am finishes, as well as 9 til 7 rehearsals every day.  I’m looking forward to it all, but the next few weeks are going to be physically testing.  I am not looking forward to tomorrow afternoon, from 2.30 to 5.00, in the slightest.  I don’t know how easy it’s going to be to let go.

In two weeks’ time, I am going to be twenty.  I feel a lot older, sometimes, and sometimes I feel a lot younger.

This afternoon, my new needles, and the yarn for the cardigan, came in the post.  The yarn is beautiful.  I can’t wait to cast on something new, my fingers are itching to, but I’m not going to let myself until at least tomorrow afternoon.  Or, more likely, Friday morning – after all, friends don’t let friends knit drunk.

I feel like I’m reaching the end of something now.



1. Lucy - June 3, 2010

The end of something is the beginning of something else. Clichéd, but true.

Currently, I hope you are feeling very chuffed with yourself for having got through 🙂

2. Flix - June 4, 2010

You’re done 🙂 Whoooo hooo 😀 I hope you cast on and that it felt wonderful.


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