I try to be patient with the rest of the world

The awards. All right. I swore that I would not be negative this week so I am going to do this as best I can. First of all, this is a small theatre. It has been around for over 25 years and is ran out of a church (not catholic) basement where we have a small black box theatre. We put on four shows a season and do not present shows during the big holidays, advent, or lent. This is part of what I like about it. It gives me a chance to do what I love without worrying about it interfering with my spiritual life. I did a show there not long after I moved here about five years ago and was asked to join the board right after that show. I served as the “production director” for three years and last year was the member-at-large. We have had the same president since before I joined the board and mostly the same board members. It was becoming increasingly harder and harder for me to serve. I kept trying to help them organize procedures for helping train our volunteers. Volunteers would come in, get little instruction and then run for the hills. Two board members have completely different views and are locked in a power struggle. At every meeting we would make decisions and then as soon as the meeting was over it didn’t matter. People would do what they wanted anyway. Little to no communication. It was frustrating. Last year I help start the awards and did almost all the planning by myself. We had the five main categories: best actor, supporting, show of the year, etc. Plus, a backstage award and an award named for one of the founder’s given to two long time supporters (on or off the stage). We decorated, had lots of food and did a ceremony with trophies. I was upset because while I was in charge and running the event. There were others who just added and did things on their own interrupting the flow of the night. So when I was asked to do it again this year I declined. However, I was asked to at least emcee it with another board member, who is also leaving the board. We only agreed because each was doing it. Well, the food ran out in the first 10 minutes. The ballots still weren’t counted by 7:45. (The event started at 7) Now, I am a perfectionist. I have come to understand and accept this about myself. I try to be as patient with the rest of the world as possible while it is not leaving up to my standards. I was asked to emcee – no other communication was given to me. I could have just show up and phoned in my work but I can’t. My friend’s husband did an awesome job of putting together computer slide shows so that when we reviewed each show we saw slides of the show, when we announced the categories it showed slides of all the nominees and for the show of the year we actually saw clips from each show. It was so cool. I had taken the time to write a script for the evening, which includes Ken and I doing a funny bit at the beginning and some on going jokes. Well, a board member comes to me at 7:45 and says they are not done counting so we have to switch up the line up and start by reviewing all the shows at once. I said I don’t think we can because we did all the slides in order of the program. He turns and just goes up and starts the program introducing one of the board members. I was hot. My friend was hot. If he would have taken a moment to work with me, we might have been able to work something out. Instead I have to do some off the cuff rewriting and scrap part of what I wrote. I let him have it later. I let another member have it later. I had quit the board knowing that this was driving me nuts. No one gives a darn that I put in all this time planning, etc. and just plow ahead with their own agenda. I wanted to leave before I came to dislike anyone but I stayed on for one event to many. Of course, the audience did not know what was going on. Bela (college prof.) taught me well in improv and the night, as far as they were concerned, was a success but only because my friend and I are professionals. Good news is that my friend Christine won for Best Actress and my friend Brian received Best Actor. I lost in both the best actress and best supporting actress but knew I would because there was good competition.
I guess I just can’t handle inconsistent leadership. I like to make a decision and move on. So I made the decision to leave the board and move on. I am still directing the January show but unless things change it will probably be my last show with this group. The problem is that there isn’t a theatre in my county. I have to drive at least 45 minutes to get to a theatre. Our group has put out some pretty poor quality productions in the last few years. Not all of them but a few have been real stinkers. The mentality is that it is only community theatre – it will be all right. But in my book it is not ok. What is the point of doing something that is not the best it can be? I will say there is little backstage help. The last two productions I directed could have been better but the thing is that I was the set designer, decorator, props master, costumer (some help), director, sound designer and in one case an actor because I cut an actress two nights before opening because she still didn’t know her lines and it was killing the show. I did the part myself and it was much better than with her but could have been even better had I made a decision sooner. The point is I made a decision that mediocre was not ok and moved on.
I don’t think I am better than the others because I have a degree. Some of them have way more experience than I do and I admire their work and advice. Unfortunately, a few have decided this is their only legacy and have turned a deaf ear to change. Theatre is art and art is meant to evolve and change. If it does not evolve it will become stagnant and dull. Who wants to experience something lifeless?
Was that too negative? I’ve been told lately that I’m negative (which just about killed me) and I have been working really hard not to appear that way.

2 thoughts on “I try to be patient with the rest of the world”

  1. Very well said, without going over to the dark side! Sorry the theatre awards weren’t fun. I wish they had been riotous and you had tons of hilarious things to recount.

  2. I will say that I have apologized to the two people I got upset with because I shouldn’t have said anything that night. After the apologize was accepted I did later send an email explaining my grievances. We did have some good laughs and most people had a great time. I am very happy for my friends that won. They totally deserved it.

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