Being a community theatre director is usually fun. You get to meet new people, create some art, laugh a lot during the rehearsal process, add value to your actors, and the best part—make an audience “have all the feels” as one of my friends delightfully says. It’s a good fit for me, as I have zero problems telling people what to do. (My family and good friends are laughing so hard right now. Stop it, you’ll hurt yourself. Stop.) I also like it because I like puzzles. There are always issues to be solved, from juggling schedules, to finding a “safe” switchblade, or how to create a small, controlled fire onstage. It’s akin to an excellent jigsaw puzzle. Hopefully, you have all the pieces, and you can put it together so that it looks like the picture on the box.
It’s not so fun being a community theatre director during a global pandemic that has legs.
My first show to fall to the pandemic was only two days away from opening when the city closed all the theatres. “You Can’t Take It With You” is a delightful play that also has legs. Kaufman and Hart knew how to set up a joke. Our cast had bonded, the chemistry was fantastic, the set and costumes and off-stage explosions were ready to go. I’m sad that only I got to see what those actors created. It was magical. We were holding onto the hope that we could bring it back, but now two years later, we’ve been told the theatre will not produce it. Here is a fun picture of our set and a moment just before end of Act One. Love all of the cast reactions! Great set, too.
The second one halted production this past Saturday, right before we started building the set. “Wait Until Dark” is an excellent thriller, and again, wow, do I have a great cast. We were rehearsing in masks in the rehearsal hall, taking precautions, but the darn thing got us, anyway. It swept through the production side of things. It was the right decision to postpone, no doubt. “Wait Until Dark” has moved to a later date. All I can do at this point is hope that the wonderful cast, design crew, and production peeps will be able to do those dates. It’s a volunteer gig, and while folks set aside the time to do the show in early Feb, early May is a different matter.
It’s not a puzzle I can solve/fix/control/bend to my mighty will. It’s a keep your knees bent and give people grace situation.
I used to be terrible at keeping my knees bent and giving others grace, but life has insisted on giving me lots of practice, so now it’s not hard to do.
I’ll tell you a secret; knees bent/dollop of grace is an easier way to go through life vs. fighting for every bit of what you perceive should be yours and/or go the way you want it to. I know this outlook might sound weird, especially if you were raised by parents who expected you to get all A’s, win trophies, never get pimples, and be happy all the time. You know who you are. We are a mighty tribe.
Saturday was an emotional day, as I contacted the actors (17 in one show, 8 in the other) as well as the design teams and crews personally to let them know what the situation was. In every case, those lovely people responded with grace. That’s the silver lining, you see. If you give grace and friendship, you’re likely to get it back nearly every time.
I was still feeling blue, despite the kindness, so I defaulted to doing something that always makes me happy. I baked. I made biscuits. (Side note, I never ever spell biscuits right the first time. I always want to spell it bisquits. Anyone else do this?) I was tired, so did not attempt my normal I-make-all-the-things-from-scratch, Great British Baking show biscuits. Nope. These were Bisquick biscuits (ah, I may have just solved why I spell it the way I do; I’ve spent years of looking at the cleverly named Bisquick box. Score!)
They were delicious. They really are quick too, just “two” ingredients, the mix from the box and milk (almond milk in my case, but it doesn’t matter). 15 minutes to flakey butter-and-honey delivery devices. I would have taken a picture for you, but alas, they are eaten.
Here’s hoping your week is easy, and that if you run into a situation that needs some bendy knees and grace that you find it tolerable, and that people do the same for you. Or that someone makes you biscuits with love.