I don’t know why I ever left the theatre. I didn’t want to do this opera gig. I tried my best to bag out on it (even though my concerns about doing it and getting someone to watch my kidlets were valid). And now I’m really glad that I’m doing it.I forgot that I’m actually trained, educated and experienced in something other than wiping noses and tearing open fruit snacks. It took me about 45 seconds to remember what I was doing and how to talk to these people.Theatre people are different. Much like professional athletes, many of them never grow up. And, those that do, boss around those that don’t. When I was in high school, drama was the club for misfits. Not talented enough for choir, not smart enough for debate, not cute enough for cheerleading, not athletic enough for, um, athletics, too smart for shop, not sexy enough for jazz band, too sexy for marching band…what’s left? Drama. That’s me.
In my defense, I was the most well-rounded of the drama freaks. I also did choir, debate, tennis and ecology club. But still weird. Didn’t really fit in anywhere.
College was not much different except for the addition of illegal, um, herbals (?) and alcohol. Same bunch of people for the most part. Lots of oddly colored hair and unbathed individuals making art. I just wanted a job. So I learned backstage. I learned it well. I sucked at acting, sucked at directing but did really well at lighting design and pretty good at set construction. But stage electricians are, as a general rule, more hard core and thus sexier than stage carpenters. But carpenters are less geeky and thus more fun to party with.
After college came touring. And learning about the straight woman-gay man relationship that did nothing for my sex life but I did enjoy hanging out with a team of personal shoppers and stylists. I never left the house looking bad even though my chances of getting laid in a gay bar were next to nil. Oddly enough, my chances at any bar were just about the same. But I digress. Touring was wonderful. I was in my element. Not making art, mind you, but that was okay with me. I was being paid to travel and eat and drink and work a little. I got to see 43 states and 2 countries. I can honestly say that I was never happier than when I was traveling.
Theatre people are different. Some of them are married but most of them are without kids. I am an anomoly. And that’s why I got out. The hours suck. The pay sucks. Benefits? None unless you count free flat meat sandwiches and square cheese. And all the donuts you can eat. We put cops to shame. We talk dirty to each other. We drink to excess on a regular basis. But we make it look easy and we make the stage look good. We take pride in being safe and quick. We make things look neat and tidy. Most of us are a little bit anal that way. And some of them are anal the other way (I couldn’t resist).
I miss it. I didn’t know that I missed it until just today. I’m really glad I’m here.