Why I don’t tour anymore.

I’m trading sugar for sleep.

This whole work all day and all evening and sleep very little thing is wearing on me. Not that it’s all that different having small children. But being nuzzled to nurse at midnight is different than trying to get your legs to stop moving after you’ve been on them all day.

Thus, replacing my sleep hours with the 3 S’s (that would be sugar, salt and Starbucks) seems to keep me functioning for at least the next few hours.

FP is programming the light board, a computer that tells which lights to turn on, dim, turn off, change color, etc. during the show. So all the operator has to do is hit the “Go” button when at the appropriate place in the music and, like magic, lights happen. I know. Good gig if you can get it, right? It’s my favorite place to be during the show. Everyone leaves you freaking alone, the computer looks impressive and there’s lots of free time to get caught up on celebrity gossip, suduku puzzles, crocheting and whatnot. FP will be programming the board for at least 20 man hours. That doesn’t count breaks so it will take the next 2 full days plus the rest of today. Seems a bit excessive but, whatever.

One of the realizations I have come to is that most industries, including theatre, waste quite a bit of money, time and resources. I try not to do that in every day life. You know, as a general rule. This? is a million dollar show. Just about. One and six zeros. I can’t imagine that kind of money filtering through my hands just for…opera of all things. Not that the arts aren’t worth it. They totally are. Society is nothing without their art. But a cool Mil? I’m not so sure about all this.

I’m getting rather attached to my crew. And they tease me endlessly so they either think I’m a tool or I’ve managed to earn their respect somehow. They are old and jaded and endlessly irreverant. And yet, they still understand why we are doing all this. It’s a job to them, no doubt, but they all clearly like what they do. It makes the hours away from my girls and the miles away from my life worth it.

I’m nostalgic for my former life. I felt myself wishing I didn’t ever choose to have kids for a fleeting moment. Everyone left last night and went out for beers and I declined. I knew that my mom would have had a long day/night tending to the girls and I knew that we all needed sleep. But I wanted to be them for a night. I wanted to be my old self. Tending to nobody but me. I want to tour again. Cuss. Get my hard edge and calloused hands back.

And then I got back to my mom’s. And she’s asleep on the couch with Amelia tucked into the crook of her elbow. As I lift her up into my filthy hands she nuzzles her head into my neck and, completely asleep, says “Mama? Na-na?”

So I know that I will never tour again. I know that these little trips out of town to work will be about twice a year. My hands will stay soft and, 2 weeks from now, I will rejoin the mommy-circle and the words “it’s hotter than two rats f*cking in a wool sock in here” will not pass my lips until I return. I know I will sleep again and my muscles will quit aching. And the union stagehands here now will probably be the same ones that work the show in October when I come back. Or it will be their son or brother in law (cause it’s union after all..).

The art, my art, will wait. I have 2 babies to raise.


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