Friday, March 12, 2010


Day one of the Big Load In for the spring musical at the high school where I teach.

The auditorium was incorrectly designed. It was not built as a theater, it was built as an auditorium, for which purpose it is more than adequate. To make it a theater takes a whale of a lot of work.

Now, before The Disease became an ever-present companion, I could load in a show by myself, with the help of only one student. Took three solid days of really intense work, but we could do it.

That can't happen any more. Fortunately, it doesn't have to; the new drama teacher knows how to hang lights (even the disco wobbly lights), he's able to direct a student crew to load in our rig with quite reasonable efficiency.

But I'm still trying to participate in the load-in work The Old Way, the Way I Always Used To Do It. And it was definitely a mistake.

This will be the last time I go by myself to pick up the sound order... operating a vehicle is starting to scare me, especially when my right leg goes so cold and puffy feeling, and it's bad enough without the added pressure of several dozen thousand dollars of sound equipment in the back. I've got a couple of beginners on my crew this year, very capable, very earnest, extremely intelligent; but what they're doing right now, they're doing for the first time, and it's ever so much easier to explain something if I'm right next to it, rather than trying to talk them through it by shouting from a distance. But that involves going up and down the stairs, walking the entire length of the campus--several times--and walking up and down the aisles of the auditorium, many, many, far too many, times.

I can't do that any more. I'm in pretty bad shape this evening, and this was just Day One.

We'll survive this one, of course... they call this time of the production calendar "hell week" for a reason. But I'm definitely going to be talking to the director after we wrap the show, about how I'm going to have to be even less help next year.

Not sure how I feel about this. Sad? Well, not really... Resigned? Well, not really... Accepting of my condition, and accepting the end what I've considered "normal," as "they way I always do things in the theater,"the way I've been doing things since 1985? Again, not really... Right now, I think the best word is "numb." Emotionally now, as well as physically.

I'm seeing way too many of these "never agains" recently, and if I'm not meeting them directly I'm seeing them starting to round the clubhouse turn towards the "meeting me" finish line. Like I've often said, it really is just the human condition; the end of things comes to us all.

But I'm not even fifty yet...

I think it's perfectly honest to call this hastening of things slipping away, at the very least, "kinda weird."

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