Saturday, September 12, 2009

I can't...I have rehearsal.

That oh-so-common refrain is becoming more and more irritating by the day. I can’t remember how much I’ve said this phrase, but I bet my family and best friends are keeping count.

As a theatre student I always have an unadulterated commitment to rehearsals or practical assignments with nerve-wrecking deadlines. It depends on the job I’m assigned to; most days I multitask and I scramble to finish all and still find time for sleep. You might think I’m exaggerating, but try this for a week: working for five courses, learning lines for acting scenes, designing a set for one play and assistant stage managing for another while humoring your family and friends into believing they actually matter. If you can pull it off without becoming an expert at nail biting and pulling your hair out, meet me this Sunday to tell me how you managed. Oops, I just realized: this Sunday I’m booked.

As passionate as I am about the world of theater and drama, my busy schedule is unbelievable and it does become a burden. Whether I’m part of the creative team or crew, the hours I spend on stage, behind the stage or sometimes under the stage (yes, there’s used to be a scary dungeon full of props down there in the old campus) are endless. In fact, the theatre has become my second, er, first home.

I spend less and less time with my parents, my sister and my precious cats. I miss on so many social outings, parties and gatherings. And my friends are the best, they never fail to remember to keep me in the loop, they always have to let me know what they’re up to, they always have to let me know what I’m missing out on. So yeah, your social life gradually becomes non-existent.

My point? My schedule is crazy; classes in the morning, lunch at the university’s food court, or a snack of cheetos, chips or cookies (or all three mixed which I burn during the first five minutes of rehearsal) then going straight into rehearsal have turned me into a walking zombie.

Did I tell you about tech week? Edvard Munch's "The Scream" is quite expressive of how I feel (and look like) during this week. Technical rehearsals are usually 10 to 12 hours long and what a treat they are! Stuck in the theatre for hours and hours listening to the words “ACTORS HOLD, PLEASE” over and over again, you start to go slowly, but surely, insane. I remember when I worked as an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager), I filled every square of Sudoko that has been created, read all the plays I had to for my classes, braided all my friends’ hair (boys and girls) and the freaking rehearsal was still not over yet! Sometimes there’s a lot of waiting to do in rehearsal and sometimes it’s working non-stop; I can’t decide which is worse though. 

Of course catching up on assignments for my classes is a whole different story. Finding me doing my readings in a pitch black corner backstage with a tiny flashlight is normal. It actually makes me appreciate the little things in life, electricity, childhood, and a vision that is waning by the year. It also reminds me of how my great great grandparents used to study. Since we’re usually done with rehearsals at 10 pm every night, staying up till 4 am finishing assignments and/or freaking out is also very normal … and of course since I’m too exhausted to do anything after midnight, the amount of typos and gibberish writing I discover in my papers and assignments the next morning is, well, you guessed it, very normal too and quite hilarious at times (and disastrous at others).

I recently discovered this T-Shirt that reads “I can’t…I have rehearsals” printed on it. I decided to get me one – if anything, it makes a point or shows that I try. Check the link:

The morale of the story? I love theatre, I’ d rather be doing theatre than anything else in the world and you know what, I just can’t help being whiny about it every once in a while. I’m a human with a passion but I’m only human :)

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