Sunday, August 25, 2013

Musings About Our Actors

 One of the things I love about our theatre is how much it feels like a family. A weird, sometimes dysfunctional and chaotic family, but a family just the same. As producer and owner, it is my job to navigate the current with grace and class and approach all decisions with professional leadership. And the other 99% of the time, I just do the best I can.
  I could write today about how I feel about actors missing rehearsals for reasons I deem ridiculous, irresponsible, frivolous. I could write about how frustrated I get when people blow off responsibilities. I could say how angry it makes ensemble actors in the cast when principles are absent or keep everyone waiting because there is nothing to rehearse until they show up. I could rant and vent about giving actors chances to shine and then feel like they sh*t on those chances, and choose to be lazy or busy. But I won't. Not today.
  Today I am choosing to focus on the good things that the actors in my company do. I am. I really, really, REALLY am. Despite all the drama and mistakes and poor choices, there are such golden moments that deserve mention.
-Like the transplant military actor  in the ensemble of "REPO, The Genetic Opera" in 2010 who had to leave after only one play to serve his country. His fellow actors have made sure that for every show since, his picture is somewhere in the show. On a name badge, or a nondescript framed photo on the set. They've even placed his framed picture in the shopping cart of a homeless woman character in "Avenue Q". The audience doesn't even notice, but the actors do. Then they take pictures and email him or post it on Facebook so he can see it and still feel part of the company of actors. 
-The way that the actors chip in to buy the first ticket on opening night. This is something our co-owner +Lj Brewer's Mom did for us on EVERY opening night, started way back when we were feeling the pinch of the economic downturn. She would drop by the theatre about an hour before curtain with money in hand and say "the first ticket is on me", and would give first patron in line free admission. This was done even after purchasing her own tickets. After she passed away, the actors in her honor started the "First One's for Frances" tradition and have done it for every show since her passing.
-The way every new actor is greeted and loved and accepted for who they are. I have seen the girl who felt so nervous her first show, who never thought she would fit in during her first production, reach out two shows later to another girl who she noticed was feeling the same way. And then in turn has blossomed and reached out to the next new actress. I have seen LGBT people accepted and loved and cheered for who they are, instead of judged and excluded. 
-That the actors write on the walls of the dressing room after each production. When I feel defeated, I go back there and read the thousand or so musings. It inevitably cheers and refocuses me. I realize that many theatres do this, but ours started when we took over our current space, after a former theatre had gone out of business. The walls then sported previous actors writings, not too many but enough to know how much they loved their space. My original plan was to paint the dressing room, and designate a place for signatures, but after our very first performance, which had felt unconnected and hollow, those actors and I decided to sign alongside these original writings. I don't think it's a coincidence that the performance immediately after that was amazing and felt whole. Now, even the ceiling in the dressing room has been signed.
-The way they support each other by buying tickets to see their fellows perform in other productions, even at other theatres. They show up to shows and performances to cheer their friends. Again, this isn't a Paper Wing Theatre exclusive, but it's heartwarming just the same, especially since the world has become a busy, distracting place.
These are just a few of the reasons the actors impress and make me happy. 

"You're a shining star, no matter who you are
Shining bright to see... what you can truly be
That you can truly be." 
-Earth, Wind, and Fire

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Comport Yourself Publicwise, Oh My Brothers..."

**No one I've given tickets to should get their panties in a twist over this. This isn't about you. I'm happy to say that all producers that have attended shows at my theatre have behaved supportively and for that, I am grateful.**

So, readers of my blog know that some pretty spectacular theatre shows are happening in Monterey, CA right now. (Quick side note, Pacific Rep. Theatre in Carmel just opened "Buddy Holly and Friends in Concert" and it's getting some wonderful feedback). While I unfortunately don't get to see everything playing due to needing to be at my own theatre, I do get the chance to see quite a bit, and that is largely due to invites and occasional complimentary tickets from fellow producers in the area.
I recently ran into one of the stars of "Buddy Holly..." and she generously offered me two "comps" to see the show and, as luck would have it, I happen to be able to go see it. Better still, my friend really wants me to see her perform. That's really very cool and I am super grateful... and that act of kindness got me thinking about these kinds of tickets.
I recall a colleague of mine who was rightfully angry at a fellow director because of their behavior after they had received such a ticket.
Apparently, after this person had called my colleague to get 2 "comp" tickets to a very big and popular show, they proceeded to trash talk the *free* performance all around our county. Their actions, of course, got back to my colleague, causing an unnecessary and uncomfortable rift between them. He was offended. I side with my colleague on this one because it is never nice, receiving this "sneaky criticism". More so, it just makes the offender look petty, selfish, and well...TACKY.
My Grandmother used to say "Good manners are for making people feel included and appreciated, not excluded and criticized."
If someone gives you a wrapped gift, you wouldn't unwrap it and then proceed to tell your friends what a crappy gift it was. And you most certainly wouldn't start criticizing the gift in front of the giver. And if you would, you need a crash course in etiquette.
Sadly, the offenders are not limited to just theatre people. I have many times given away free tickets in online contests, radio spots, etc, only to have the people show up and be extremely rude to my staff, complain about the parking, the weather, the seagulls on my roof, and just generally be pissy while holding $50.00 worth of free tickets. Or even worse, people who claim free tickets and never show up at all. Again, TACKY.
I am not talking about theatre critics who get paid to critique shows; clearly they can give their opinion freely. But unless you consider reviewing shows as your profession, it might behoove you to pay attention.

As a Public Service Announcement, I have decided to write a small list of "dos and don'ts" for the receiver of free tickets. Bear in mind that these are mostly for people getting tickets from directors and producers, but can easily be applied to people getting free stuff from anywhere.  They're called manners, my little Droogies....let's all use them.

1) If you had to call a producer, director, theatre owner, etc. to receive free tickets, go with the attitude of enjoyment instead of the attitude of "I wonder what will be wrong with this". You are obligated to find things you like about the production. You may find several things you don't like as well, but keep that to yourself. If you really need to bitch about what you saw, call your Aunt Millie in Texas or someone out of the area. DO NOT go running around town spewing your opinion unsolicited. If you did like the show, tell the person who gave you the tickets and thank them again. REMEMBER that YOU called THEM to receive the FREE tickets. Be grateful.

2) If you are offered free tickets by someone, the same rules apply. If the person asks you what you thought, (especially if they use the word "honestly") respond privately and be polite. Talk about what you liked more than what you didn't.

3) DO NOT march up to anyone involved with the production after and give advice, direction, criticism, a better idea, etc. No one wants to hear it. Even if your heart is in the right place, it is never appropriate and will only cause people to feel uncomfortable. Never say ANYTHING to the actors except "Good Job". If you can't say that, keep your mouth zipped.

4) DO remember that you are a guest and behave yourself. Be nice to the Box Office, the ushers, the concession workers. Let the paying customers complain. DO NOT complain about anything while seated for the show, even to your companion, because chances are someone who knows the person who gave you free tickets will hear you...making you later look like an idiot.

5) DO NOT be offended if your request for comp tickets is denied. Often, producers cannot afford to give up paying seats. Be pleasant if you are told no and DO NOT let this fuel your fire to bitch.

6) DO write a thank you to the person who gave you tickets, or better yet if you enjoyed yourself, talk about how much you liked the production publicly.

and lastly...

7) DO bring a paying friend if you can. That's just a nice thing to do.

In closing, just be a professional grown up and show a little class. It is much appreciated.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Summer of Theatre in Monterey

I have been feeling really great lately about my local theatre scene. There are three different shows playing in our small city of Monterey, CA. And we are all having record numbers in attendance.
At the small Wharf Theater, located directly on the Monterey Wharf, the historic crowd favorite "The Pirates of Penzance" is seeing a huge bump in attendance. The show is campy, funny, and, as I have written before, the cast is clearly having a blast performing in it. Granted, it isn't a perfect show; but it is enthusiastically performed and has a dynamite Mabel who can hit all of those Gilbert and Sullivan notes perfectly and without her head exploding.
On our local college stage (Monterey Peninsula College, our area's "big dog" theatre), we have "Les Miserables". I haven't had the chance to catch this yet, but the word on the block is that it is MPC Theater Company's finest work. Phenomenal  vocals, very well cast, excellent props and costumes, and professional directing. And it's "Les Miz"....a true crowd pleaser that has packed their newly remodeled space. I have only heard positive feedback and I really look forward to seeing it soon.
And on our own stage, Paper Wing Theatre Company, we are staging a modern version of "Macbeth". Record crowds and standing ovations abound. Bloody stage combat. Punk and Gothic influences. The acting is spot on, and the direction by Jourdain Barton is fresh and youthful and has breathed new life into Shakespeare.
Everyone's success makes me happy. I have been a huge cheerleader for all three of these shows. For some reason, they all go hand in hand. A classic musical, Shakespeare, and a Broadway hit.
It has become commonplace for small local theatres to be extremely competitive. The Monterey peninsula has ten plus theatre companies producing at least one production per year. That's a LOT of shows to foist on would be patrons. I cannot speak for other producers or directors, but that can make me a little nuts sometimes. Worried about sales and creating new patrons. Protective, selfish, and...competitive.
I have been guilty of not supporting my local theatres, afraid their success meant my failure. I have participated in my share of bullsh*t and I am not proud of that fact. And the reality is this: all of that negative and unproductive crap did not promote my theatre over others, boost sales, or positively impact our business. All it did was make me angry, a little paranoid, and a lot frustrated. So I decided to try something new.
I went to see some local shows and instead of looking at it with a directors eye, I chose to watch it as a patron. I noticed the bright spots instead of the flaws. I chose not to be distracted by the pieces and enjoyed the whole. And I had fun. I felt good.
The reality is that each of our theatres give something wonderful to the community. Speaking just of the three in production right now, I know that The Wharf Theater is firmly rooted in classic musical theatre, reminding us of beautiful bygone Americana, leaving patrons feeling good and smiling. Angelo has kept the doors open for many, many years and still runs the Box Office. I love that.
MPC is the launching pad for most of the actors in the area. They have an extremely strong Theatre Department and one of the most driven leaders I have seen in Gary Bolen. They have the budget to bring big, newer musicals to the stage and also create fantasy fairy tales in their smaller space. Watching them power through the displacement during their theater remodel, and still produce such quality, was seriously inspiring.
And Paper Wing Theatre? We bring an eclectic blend to the scene. Edgy and provocative shows, musicals, and performances. Something for everyone. I'm proud of our work.
I am done with feeling like everything is a competitive threat. I no longer see another theatre's success as taking something away from us. This summer of theatre here in Monterey has taught me a huge lesson about being supportive and positive. And I am grateful for that.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why can't you say "Macbeth" in the theatre? An Inquiry into an old superstition...

So, Paper Wing Theatre, as usual, has thrown caution into the wind and is getting ready to open a deliciously modern, bloody, and oh-so-anachronistic "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare. The superstitions and traditions surrounding this play are well known, and this has turned my normally level headed, hardworking actors and director into a group of timid, superstitious kooks. (Sorry guys; I still love ya). The curse goes something like this: Unless you are in rehearsal or performance of the actual play, you may not say the name. Ever. Even the most linear and scientific personalities have been effected. To date, myself and +Lj are the only ones who seem to refer to the play by its actual name. Ever since we announced this play into our season, I have heard all the Macbeth circumlocutions from our cast and crew, including but not limited to: "The Scottish Play" "Mackers", "The Bard's Play", "The Glamis Comedy", "The Scottish Business" and my personal favorite "The-Play-We-Are-Doing-Now-Don't-Say-The-Name".  

There have been numerous stories, urban legends, and the like about this supposed "curse". You cannot exist in any theatre company without hearing a tale of misfortune about someone who heard about someone who uttered the word in a theatre and was met with illness, injury, misfortune and even death.

Although skeptical, I don't want to piss off the theatre muse(s). I have not challenged or made fun of any off these alternates (much). I don't necessarily believe in curses but I certainly am not in any position to thumb my nose at theatre tradition that could cause catastrophe. 

When did this all begin? As near as I can gather from my theatre history books and good ol' Google, there are divided opinions about the origin.

Some believe that the Witches of England got totally peeved because Shakespeare used their "real" chants in the script, and they cast a curse on the play, condemning it for all time. The original copyright infringement, I would say.

Others believe that the superstition started later and that King James I banned the play for about five years after he first saw it, in 1606. Some say he found the witches’ curses too realistic – having authored a work on demonology, he considered himself an expert.

Probably most spectacular (quack) view is that Shakespeare actually cursed the play himself, guaranteeing that no one other than him would ever be able to direct the play. Now, I have seen, and thrown, some pretty intense directorial hissy fits in my long career in the theatre, but I have never cursed my own work so that no one else would ever have success with it, so this one seems quite far fetched.

The most believable history is this one, ironically that I first heard from my old High School drama teacher, Mr. O'Connor. The superstition actually began in the old days of stock companies, which would struggle at all times to remain in business. Frequently, near the end of a season a stock company would realize that it was not going to break even and, in an attempt to boost ticket sales and attendance, would announce production of a crowd favorite . . . MacBeth. If times were particularly bad, even 'the bard's play' would not be enough to save the company, therefore, MacBeth often foreshadowed the end of a company's season, and would frequently be an indication of the company's demise. Therefore, the fear of MacBeth was generally the fear of bad business and of an entire company being put out of work.

Holy Crap. 
This, as a theatre owner and producer, is the scariest "curse" of all. It is the nightmare most theatres live in fear of and go on in spite of. And it is, in spite of all the curses and superstitions imagined or not, that Paper Wing carries on with this stunning and violent masterpiece.

There it is. The history of a theatre "curse".

So if you'll excuse me, I will now be off to leave the room, close the door, turn around three times, say a dirty word and spit... just in case.

“Angels and ministers of grace defend us!” -Hamlet, act 1, scene 4

"And the TONY Award for Best Director Goes To...."

So, just finished watching the Tony Awards, and if you are my friend on Facebook (presuming I haven't blocked you), you were subjected to my running dialogue of posts, comments, and general annoying statements. It is the one night I actually pull the "I paid for this huge, damn flat screen TV and surround sound, so get the hell out of the family room everyone" card and glue myself to the screen and Neil Patrick Harris for the next three hours. I love the sampling of plays and musicals and really, I fancy myself some big shot producer merely perusing the next big hit. True, some of past years winners of Best Plays and Musicals HAVE made it onto The Paper Wing Theatre stage eventually, but for the most part, it's all just me playing pretend. And pretend I do.
My Mother introduced me to the Tony Awards when I was very small. I loved the sneak peek feel of the musicals and plays and loved to watch the people winning. I really liked the speeches. And so, in true Tony spirit, I present to you my "If I ACTUALLY was on Broadway and Won" acceptance speech for best Director.
"Wow, what an HONOR!(because they always say that). I would like to thank the other nominees in this category; it is truly because of wonderful  Directors like yourselves that I stand here. (also this gets said a lot). I would like to thank all of the actors who came prepared to audition and didn't need to ask to start the song over. I would also like to thank the actors who left their personal drama at home and made the experiences a true delight. This Tony is for the actors who DIDN'T start dating at the opening of the show, only to break up by second weekend, and finally graduate to the "I can't stand him/her; can you please fire him/her" stage. For the actors who DIDN'T stop every rehearsal to argue or to tell me how their character would not walk onstage left because of some traumatic backstory, this goes out to you.
To all my Tech people who bring that little extra something to the productions, I thank you for NOT condescending me when you are speaking "techie" and I have to ask for clarification. To the choreographers who DIDN'T  ignore my pleas of: "For God's sake, keep it simple; these actors aren't dancers!!!".
To the musical directors and band, thanks for NOT interjecting your opinions of the show, particularly the actors performances, during rehearsal; we couldn't do it without you.
To my three boys: Thank you keeping all tantrums, arguing, and fistfights to a minimum at home, and for loving the theatre as much as your parents, but in a much more healthy, less obsessive way.
To my friends in the theatre and beyond: a big thank you for the laughter, the meals, and for NEVER using your proximity to me to negotiate/wheedle/nag/hassle me for a role.
To my weird and wonderfully creative hippy parents, especially my Dad, who DIDN'T have a major coronary when I switched to English major in college, so I could teach theatre.
And finally, to my co-producer and sweetheart +Lj , thanks for very rarely saying "I told you so", for the stress headache massages, for loving and hating the dream right there with me, and for being in love with a crazy drama queen."
There it is. And if by some miracle I do get to take my happy ass to Broadway and then to the Tonys, I promise this will be the speech.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Importance of Being Earnest (in nurturing your non-theatre friendships)

Readers of my blog may know that +Lj  and I try to escape weekly from the theatre to regroup, play, and refresh ourselves. This usually happens on a Sunday (since Paper Wing Theatre does not have Sunday shows...yet), and we often find ourselves in the company of two specific, wonderful and non theatre friends. Well, I guess to say "non theatre" is a bit misleading. They, a married couple, are a wonderful combination of HE= a funny, social worker by day and extreme L.A.R.P. (Live Action Role Playing) by night who also teaches and mans the fencing booth at the Renaissance Faire on the weekends and SHE= a blonde bombshell organizer/decorator as her real job and whose playtime is filled with performing and running the royal court/Queen's actors at the same Renaissance Faire. But, for all intents and purposes, they are patrons ONLY when it comes to Community Theatre.
Which is why we love them so much.
They provide a much needed respite from the stresses of feeling like Lj and I always have to be "on". In our business, the expectation that we must always be witty/funny/always want to talk about the deeper meaning of 'theatre' can be downright excruciating. We are only human. Yes, we run a pretty hip theatre, (are the kids still saying 'hip' these days?), but that doesn't mean we want to eat/sleep/breathe theatre all the time. We enjoy time away from the drama and repetition. And this is where these friends come in.
Which got me thinking: How many non-theatre friendships do I actually have?
Luckily...a few. I am talking about people who aren't invested in which show or which role or anything to do with any decision about the theatre I or Lj might be making. People who happily attend shows for pure enjoyment without knowing a single soul in the actual production. People who can be counted on for their honest opinions and feelings, because they aren't worried about our reaction. These are people we can have fun with and share a good meal with. All of the friends we have outside the theatre are so necessary to our sanity.
There are a million expectations on us to lead the way in fostering productive and functional relationships in sometimes dysfunctional people at our theatre. You have actors, and staff, and crew, and band, and us and somehow, we have to negotiate some rough currents to make that work. There are insecurities and egos that seem to rear ugly heads at the drop of a hat. There is a constant vying for power and status that sometimes gets so out of control I want to shout, "Are you people fucking insane?!? It's COMMUNITY Theatre, not Broadway,  for Chrissakes!!".
I have been on the end of too many tirades from angry volunteers and butt-hurt staff to count. Somehow, it's always presented as my fault and it really gets exhausting to reiterate over and over that no one is a victim in our theatre; there are only volunteers. And that is why I appreciate my outside friends so very much. I love to talk and listen about anything that has nothing to do with theatre.
This isn't to say we don't love our theatre friends and family, because we do...and I hope I don't sound ungrateful for them, because I really am; it's just a rejuvenating change to hang with the outsiders once in a while.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes.

Just got back from a wonderful 24 hours away with my boyfriend/business partner. After three hectic show openings literally back to back to back, we needed a break. +Lj  was emotionally and physically exhausted and I had turned into Mommie Dearest towards everyone, especially in the cast... (think NO MORE TRASH BACKSTAGE! NO MORE PEOPLE MISSING CUES! NO MORE LAUGHING AND SCREWING AROUND! NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!) I would try to start each day all Zen-like, complete with positive meditations and affirmations, but to no avail. I would get frustrated and pissy as soon as I hit the theatre and damning to Hell anything and everyone in my path. Couple this with the fact it was the "I'm-sure-it's-lovely-but-I-don't-ride-a-bike-so-I-don't-give-a-crap-Sea Otter Classic" weekend event which not only put every cycling enthusiast on the Monterey Peninsula, but also every single one of their car driving friends, making it impossible to get anywhere efficiently. By the second weekend of our current show, "9 to 5,the Musical", I was fried. I needed a time-out. And EVERYONE in my life was in agreement.
So when the third person burst into tears after a conversation with me and after Lj and I were seriously contemplating ditching the theatre biz and getting minimum wage, "real" jobs, Sunday morning I said "We need some sun...let's go". So we packed up, and headed north to the heat and most importantly, an economy hotel with a pool.
Bliss. The lady at the front desk started to say "Well, normal check in time is 3pm and it's only 12 thirt-" but wisely stopped when I believe she saw silent Hurricane Koly beginning to touch down. "Let me see if we have any rooms ready for early check in." She did, and we were presented with a clean crisp room, right above a sparkling pool.
"Let's go!" Lj said, more energetic and enthusiastic than I have seen him in years. And within 4 minutes, we were swimming around, splashing and laughing like two twelve year olds. We were having fun. We were playing. We were having a good time.
It becomes important to note that as a director and producer, I am often telling adult actors how imperative it is to remember to play in their lives. Acting is just a sophisticated form of pretend, no matter what anyone says. We as adults forget that fact all the time. We are too busy, as Lj often says "chopping wood and carrying water", to meet the basic human need of fun.
Lj suggested after the swim and a luxurious nap that we contact our friends who live in the town we had escaped to. Brilliant. They guided us to a fabulous small Italian bistro and the four of us proceeded to laugh and eat. The subject turned to work, (they are some of our theatre's biggest fans), and we both got sullen again. But, being able to open up to the people who aren't in the daily grind with us, and hearing their suggestions and their laughter was like crazy good therapy. Situations that made me nuts during the past week seemed funny and not so aggravating when regurgitated in the presence of the people who love us.
Good food. Some rest. Good friends. A lot of play. Being away from the theatre. All necessary to my sanity. As Lj put it..."I feel human again."
Not bad for 24 hours.
PS: Thank you to the cast and crew at our theatre. I apologize for my snappiness and will return a much better person tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Almost Repertory Theatre...

Repertory Theatre: Running two different shows at the same time, at the same venue, in two spaces.

In 2011, we added a smaller performance space to our already small theatre. We converted our Gallery space, (which was designed to showcase our many newspaper covers, reviews, photos, and history...but in actuality became the dumping ground for all of our extra theatre crap). We built a small stage, brought in 31 folding chairs, a small lighting and sound system and Voila! We created a new space for our smaller, edgier, independent, and let's face it, less attended shows.
We opened with "Bug", a dark, drug addled play written by Tracy Letts and led by guest director, the courageous Kirsten Clapp. This show riveted people to their seats and, because of the close proximity to the action, it thrust the unsuspecting audience into the tiny motel room where the play takes place. I distinctly remember an audience member say while leaving "...I feel like I just survived a plane crash!". I loved it, and our new "Little but fierce" Gallerie Theatre was born.
Since then, we have produced Classics (Prometheus Bound, Don Juan in Hell), Comedies (An Evening with Mr. Johnson, Big Baby), our trademark Edgy fare (The Goat or Who is Sylvia?), and even squeezed in a two person Musical (The Last Five Years). I am proud of this space and also happy to have the extra revenue it brings in.
Now, we have little down time between shows, because we can now perform plays while rehearsing others on our larger Mainstage. This has caused me to become very creative with scheduling. Just the other night, while rehearsing our upcoming high energy musical "9 to 5" on the Mainstage, we were also having a pick up rehearsal for the now playing "Big Baby" in the Gallerie. We could hear each other, and every few minutes, there was a distraction as the rehearsals powered  on.
This is the reason we can't have nice things, ie; a Repertory theatre. It would be impossible to give these two very different spaces the separation and attention if we utilized them at the same time.
So, our little journey continues. Maybe someday we will be able to afford to soundproof one or both of the spaces, but for now we just guerilla along, powering through seemingly impossible walls with our awesomeness. And, although not always easy, I don't think I'd have it any other way.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A New Perspective on Life, Love, People, and Performing.

On October 20, my Mother had a stroke. Thank God, we got her to the hospital and she was able to jump right into recovery and rehab and, as of today, she is doing a little better every day.
 But, this has indeed put my already hectic life into a tailspin. Doctor appointments, tests, various therapies (I'm an only child)...this is added to my current schedule of co-raising three boys, running Paper Wing Theatre Company, teaching Drama part time at a local Elementary and Junior High School, helping to create a new Non-Profit Theatre Company for Recovery, maintaining my 9+ year relationship with my sweetheart +Lj Brewer, and producing over 10 events and shows per theatre season.
I stupidly used to think I was "SOOOO Busy". I was like "No, I can't do this or that, because I'm SOOOO busy". Idiot. I used to have plenty of time for coffee and breakfast with the other Moms from my school after we dropped off the kids. I used to have hours of time to hand pick through potential props and costumes at every local second hand store at least twice a week. I used to take the long way to get errands done so I could listen to my current audio book. I look back now and see how much time I did have. I hate that girl that used to say how busy she was.
I hate her because she was naive. She was totally self possessed. She had no clue about how her life would change and just how unprepared she actually was. She took her easy life for granted, and never really enjoyed the individual moments she shared with herself or others.
Now, that girl (me) has become the master scheduler for everyone in the family. My soon to be retired Dad can take no more unpaid leave time without jeopardizing the hours in his paycheck. My Mom has eight different doctors. EIGHT. She sees half of them on a regular basis and 2 of them are in San Francisco. She has Physical and Occupational Therapy twice a week. I also try to take her shopping and to lunch weekly.  Long story short, I am her primary care person.
This is not a "woe-is-me" poor little Koly post. This is my job and she is my Mom. I am stating how much my new life has changed my perspective on a few key things.

Life: I now know that, if I choose, I am completely capable of living in the moment, for the moment. This means I can celebrate the happiness without fixating on the unknown future, IF I CHOOSE. Most days are filled with these moments.

Love: I knew my man was handsome. I knew he was smart. I knew he was funny, witty, charming, supportive, and fun. I had no idea until I needed him just how unselfish he could be. When my life screeched to a halt and was rerouted to my Mother's new schedule, this man dropped everything in his world to help me with mine. He ran our theatre; rehearsals and performances, tickets and publicity. He prepared and brought me healthy food at the hospital, including my favorite water. He was perfectly happy to be at my beck and call for every little thing, even if it was just to hold me while I cried. Our love had been fun and playful; now it is deep and bonded and real. There is a true commitment to our partnership, both at the theatre and our romance, that I have never experienced before. This has rocked us both to the core, and we are truly connected as soul mates.

People: Ah, the people! Before, I could lapse into a better than, smarter than, judgmental, pooh-head at the drop of a hat. People annoyed the f#$% out of me and I did not bother to disguise it.  I had my small group of friends and that was it.
Now, I notice how people feel. I notice Mothers and daughters and how they relate to each other. I see elderly people with walkers and people in wheelchairs. I notice nurses a lot more to. It's actually more than notice...I feel these people now, in a way I never did before.
People at the theatre, especially the volunteers....WOW. All we had to do was ask, and they jumped in to help. Letting them in to run things, make decisions was the best thing I've done in a while.

Performing: I want to have fun. I want to laugh. I want to be entertained and enjoy a night out. So do all of our patrons. Choosing the shows for this season, I noticed a lot less "in your face" edgy picks and more crowd pleasers. Sure, we made our name on edgy theatre, and certainly not every theatre can succeed on such, but I was happy to announce that our season this year was filled in with some more mainstream favorites.

We'll see how everything continues on, but right here, right now, things are grand.