We have 14 days.
Actually we have fewer than 14 days. We have 13 days, 6 hours, 40 minutes, and about 51 seconds. Until when? Until my head explodes. Until I put my headset on and have Maddie turn the house lights down, have Natalia fade out the music, and try to have the audience suspend their disbelief for an hour and a half, maybe two.
If you don’t know what day I’m talking about — and I’m assuming most of you don’t because you have lives and do not memorize the events going on every day at school — let me clear it up for you. Fifteen days, 6 hours, and 30 something minutes from now, is the first performance of “Rumors,” the fall show for the drama department, of which I happen to be stage managing.
What is the stage manager’s job, you ask? I decided a long time ago to stop thinking about my particular jobs, because it just makes me sad. So I just do whatever Mr. Harlow asks me to do, including to assign jobs to the crew, to make sure all the actors are on time, or to make sure everyone is healthy and energized (or at least prepared to pretend they are). Basically, I make sure everyone and everything makes it to opening night in one piece by pretty much acting like their mother.
From my previous experience I would like to take the time to tell anyone who cares that this is a much better contraceptive than any sex-ed course. Nothing makes a teenager want to have a kid less than making them take care of other teenagers that have the tendency to act like children.
For instance sometimes people are not as cooperative as I would like them to be. For example, a few of the cast doesn’t seem to get that if they’re late or leave early and do not tell me, I have the tendency to freak out when they’re supposed to be onstage and they’re not there. Then there’s things like how we’re putting on a show with the normal production time of seven weeks in five. It’s enough to give me some anxiety.
Most people would categorize anxiety in people as those who freak out and pace around the room and sweat a lot, and those who take that anxiety and become so overwhelmed that they do nothing.
I have both kinds. It makes things very problematic. When I’m at the theater, I have the first kind. I pace up and down the rows of seats and ramble on and on until I go home. Then the second kind of anxiety sets in. I ignore the thought of theater completely. I do whatever homework I can get myself to concentrate on then watch TV and go to bed early. It works rather well in keeping my blood pressure down until I get back to the theater, when the whole process starts again.
I’d quit if we weren’t so close to tech week. Not to mention I don’t think at this point I could just walk away.
I’d annoy all my friends in the cast with texts about how it’s going and I definitely couldn’t sit still during a show and be an audience member. I’d be on edge the entire time wondering if everything was going okay. One wrong cue could give me a heart attack.
Fourteen days and counting.