Friday, March 2, 2012


A bittersweet day, today.

We're gearing up for the Spring Musical: 42nd Street. It's really going to be quite a stellar production. I'm predicting that, as soon as the curtain opens, parents will start weeping (for the right reasons), or lose control of their bodily functions, or spontaneously combust. Or all three, simultaneously. It's that good.

The lighting-rental company delivered the lights we're going to hang tomorrow. The drummer arrived and delivered his set. The pit is set up. The microphones are getting picked up. The set's not quite complete, but they promise us that it'll be done in time for the show's opening this Thursday. I saw part of today's run-through, and the kids are wonderful.

That's the sweet part. And it's very sweet.

But what's bitter about it? There's so much stuff going on that I used to do. Much of it with one (usually, only one) student helping me, occasionally with a few parents helping, but basically, I did it all myself.

For Ghosts, I built a kitchen in the black-box theater. For Antigone, I built something akin to "Devil's Post Pile," with hexagonal columns. For Damn Yankees, I built a stadium. Stage-filling set after stage-filling set. I did between 80 and 100% of the building and painting. By myself.

Sometimes while the show was in progress, I had to slip out the back of the house, run around the building, up a flight of stairs, and then do something backstage. Sometimes to shoot a gun; sometimes to throw a circuit breaker; sometimes to repair a wireless body-microphone.

And now... nothing. I can still program the light board (all it requires is imagination and button pushing), I can design the set and the lighting plot (requires imagination and some drawing skills, sometimes "arts and crafts" cutting up paper), but all the stuff I used to do... It's gone.

I honestly don't know precisely what I feel about it. I vacillate between "To everything there is a season" trite pseudo-acceptance, happiness that finally the kids are involved enough to be doing some of the work, the usual "Pshaw! If I were doing this, it'd be done right!" that arises any time the torch (or should I say, "tool-belt") is passed to another pair of hands. But sadness? Is it there, and I'm just not facing it?

I'm seeing a lot of "things are changing" going on; some of it caused by my physical changes, some of it caused by other sources that have nothing to do with me. There's a lot of "facing saying goodbye" that needs to be going on, and a lot of not facing the facing of saying goodbye.

One would hope that this "acceptance" thing, especially "acceptance of loss," would get easier. I keep having to do it...

Maybe if I actually did it, it would get easier.

I wonder if this is another gift... Perhaps it is this message:

Mean it when you grieve. Because nothing is going to change until you do.

Why is facing yourself, and being truthful with and about yourself, so hard? I suppose that really, it's easy... I just choose to make it hard. Easy to do... Uncomfortable? Hell yes. But easy? Truth is truth; it's going to stay "truth" whether I face it or not. It takes as much energy to deny it as accept it. And yet, I work very, very hard not looking at it, and telling the truth about what it is and what I feel.

Again, the message is clear: Time to change.


Muffie said...

It's probably one of the hardest things we have to do -- accept change. Your description of set design reminds me of my days of school plays -- I did over 20 -- musicals, Shakespeare, classics. I worked on a shoestring budget and relied on parents and their connections to get me costumes, wireless mics, and props. One parent (a plastic surgeon) built me footlights and purchased materials for sets. Another mother helped to build sets, another got free paint from Home Depot, and still another made arrangements with a local theater company to get all their old costumes.
When I left to become a principal, no one took over, and the plays and all the prep work ended. I do miss it.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

It is so hard to say goodbye to the different areas of life that you described
I don't know if it gets easier