Theatre is a discipline with truly unforgiving deadlines. Tech weekend is tech weekend is tech weekend, and opening night is opening night is opening night. Therefore, when difficulties arise the week before tech weekend, there is very limited time available to trouble shoot and problem solve.
May 4 Voices: Kent State 1970 is an ensemble piece, meaning that there are few, if any, named characters and each member of the ensemble plays a different role in almost every scene. One of our ensemble members backed out of the show earlier this week due to health issues, and at rehearsal we (the cast, the director, and the stage management team) discussed how to best fill in her roles. Other actors were able to take most of her roles, but there are two brief spots where I was asked to step in.
While I definitely prefer the technical side of things over acting, I have no issues at all with being asked to be on stage for a grand total of about five minutes and speaking approximately six lines. In fact, I think it will be fun.
That being said, this definitely adds to my current stress level. I was already working on this play in three different capacities: I am the assistant scenic designer, the props master, and one of the assistant stage managers. Adding an onstage appearance means that during rehearsals and as we go into tech weekend, I am now juggling four different agendas.
It’s almost like all of my classes decided to have something due on the same day: the assistant scene design and props master positions equate to major projects, the assistant stage management is like a research paper, and the onstage appearance is like that homework assignment that, while not necessarily large or a great deal of work, is worth a significant portion of your grade.
While all of this is time-consuming and more than a little stressful, it all just serves to highlight the fact that theatre is never boring and that, even accounting for unfortunate circumstances, there are ways to make the show go on.