Directing or Distressing?

Twenty minutes go by, no one is where they are supposed to be despite the reminders every five minutes from arrival. Doors open in fifteen minutes and yet, no one has completed a mic check. You call over the radio to the Assistant Director to send the leads out on stage now. Yet, you merely get a response back "they're next to put on their mics."  He said that ten minutes ago. 

Tech is requesting sound files from your computer that completely refuses to turn on. Tomorrow is opening night and to your dismay, you will not complete a run through tonight. You have not completed a run through all week. Opening night will be a stress through as the production team has chosen to rename it - they aren't wrong.

Last night, you deemed most of your cast's questions as dumb and time consuming so all have been redirected to your Assistant Director who almost always asks you about it anyways. Stress and anxiety sets in and you do your best to ignore it - perhaps too well as you move too far into the calm and totally okay with this persona that a director really shouldn't be having the night before a show.  At this point, you've decided, there is nothing you can do. You have a rule not to give notes the night before an opener for this reason, but due to the circumstances - you must.

You take a deep breath tell tech that you're sorry and the audio just isn't going to happen and willfully hope that the audience isn't entirely off put by a party with no atmospheric music.  You hope that your lighting reads for what it was intended. You hope that your lead actor finds a middle ground between constantly pacing and moving like an animatronic because he thinks he shouldn't move his feet. You hope that your cast, and the audience, doesn't think you failed as a director. You hope that your cast doesn't think they failed themselves, each other, or you. All of these things happen in an instant before you even have the consciousness to process them. Before you know it you're on your feet barking into your radio to send people onstage to finish the sound check. You don't like this side of you, the brash part of your personality that comes out when you take charge but you know that in this moment it is needed. As you wait for a response you hope one last instant that your cast isn't freaking out backstage. You hope that they trust their art, that they trust what they know, that they trust each other to help them out when they fumble. 

Before hearing a response you see them. One after another cast members come forward, say their lines and return into the darkness behind the curtains. You stand in the booth waiting, watching, not thinking. From this point forward, the night is out of your hands. Whatever happens tonight is entirely on them - your cast, your crew, your tech. Not you. It was never on you. Yes you had a vision, yes you helped them along the way, but you knew from the start that the majority of this job was quietly putting out fires and getting shit done that no one else wanted to do - that no one else thought about. But now, the lighting cues have been made, the mics have been arranged, the costumes bought, props made, set built - well mostly - flyers were posted on campus and off, ads were sold and put into playbills sitting in a box upstairs already printed. Your job was done and aside from the one thing with the sound that you completely dropped the ball on, you made it all happen. Actually you made it happen just the way you wanted it to. You've done what you can with your cast. They either know their lines or don't, but you can't help them now. You send a final reminder back stage that they're on their own tonight - no calling lines, no calling each other out, no stopping. This is it. This is what it's like and you hope they understand that. One second, five seconds pass before you pick up your things, ask if anything else is needed from you, and then walk out of the booth headed backstage. Your narrator cannot speak. Your set is missing a piece. Your blood packets haven't been made. Your leads are freaking out about their lines.

As you walk through the doors to the dimly lit waiting area you find your cast in a circle laughing as they attempt to run through a diction exercise at such a fast speed that almost none of them can breathe let alone speak. Someone locks eyes with you and smiles. A few turn their heads to look. Your cast is happy. Yes they're stressed but of course that's expected. You smile back and walk into the center of the circle to tell them one last time: the boring serious mundane things that they need to remember before going back on stage but after that its something fun. You lead your cast in some silly exercise to pump them up before making your way into the audience. 

This is on them now. You take your seat as close to center as you can, take a deep breath and wait.

Days Spent Vegetarian: 71

Movies Watched This Year: 31

Books Read This Year: 7