Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hell Week

"Hell Week" is the name often given to the week before a show opens. The final week of rehearsal is given over to issues that were planned to be handled that week (such as "tech" like lighting and sound effects) and that surface that week: things that should have been handled but for whatever reason weren't, things that nobody saw (or could foresee) arising but that badly need to be fixed. It's most hellacious for the tech crew (which I'm on) because all our planned challenges are scheduled for that week, and said challenges fight for attention, sometimes nastily, with the unplanned challenges.

I don't know if life with MS is incompatible with life in the theater, or the perfect preparation for the "hellacious" experience.

Let's see, what sorts have things have come up this week?

  • Something I designed, and handed over plans for, in more than enough time to get constructed long before this week arose, didn't (for whatever reason) get built in time for the cast to rehearse with it, or for me to accommodate in programming the lighting. It's still not done, and as a result, the cast (and my lighting) isn't nearly ready enough.
  • Another thing I designed, even obtained the supplies to construct, also in plenty of time for this week... just ... isn't going to happen. For whatever reason. Now we have to figure out how to work around that with what we already have on hand. Yeah it'll work, I suppose, maybe, but I had counted on These Things and now they ain't gonna happen and I'm not quite sure how to really work around it and make things turn out as well as they would have, had what I planned for occurred as planned.
  • I've had several exchanges with another member of the production staff that reduce to something like this... Him: You're doing X wrong. Me: Not according to what's in front of me. Him: Don't yell at me, I'm just trying to make this better. What I want to say, but never do (because it would take too long and frankly I don't think it would make things better): I'm not yelling at you. But I'm not wrong, from my point of view. The problem isn't you or me, it's that what we know about the situation doesn't match. You don't know what my problem actually is, and how you're trying to help isn't helping, and that's why you're not getting what you want, not because I'm wrong or pissed at you.
So, all this week, I've been dealing with things I was supposed to have but for whatever reason don't, things I was counting on having and suddenly for whatever reason don't, and a lot of difficulty caused first by the correct information not being heard correctly, then by anger based upon bad data.

And I'm physically, intellectually, and spiritually exhausted by dealing with all of this crap.

What part of this is not precisely, and in every respect, life with MS?

Art imitates life imitates art imitates life.

As was said often of the theater in the film Shakespeare in Love, "Somehow, it always comes out just fine. No one knows how. But in the end, it always works out."

I sure hope so. In both the theater and MS.

1 comment:

Muffie said...

It sure sounds like a typical "Hell Week," and I'm sure it exacerbates the MS in a hellish way. I can remember those days -- but I wasn't suffering so badly from MS then -- and I know how frustrating those fine-tuning moments can be right before a play.
It also sounds as if your production crew doesn't appreciate your expertise. From the posts you've written, it seems as if there are too many 'prima donnas' vying for position, and they're thwarting your efforts for a good production.
As I said, "Been there, done that," and good luck!
BTW -- what play are you doing?