This was a flight that we will never forget - and we weren't even flying! (A little rant)
|Working backstage is harder than it looks. Sure, working backstage has some perks: you don't go on stage, so you don't have to remember lines; you need to be quiet, which is heaven to an introvert, and you get to be in charge of people and get to tell them what to do, but that's what is on the surface. When you actually work backstage, it's more than just bossing people around, being quiet and not getting to go on stage and reciting lines, it's work. Hard work.
I was asked to work backstage for The Christmas Carol. My job was originally to take care of the children and make sure that they don't make a huge mess or cause a lot of noise, but when I got there my job had moved to work with the curtains. I was okay with that, I had worked with curtains before, but then I found out that there was going to be a lot to do with the curtains. They had to open and close multiple times; it wasn't just "Open the curtain for the opening of the show, close it for intermission, open it again after intermission and close it one final time after the play was through" but even though there were more steps involved this time, I was ready for the challenge. Besides, I wanted to learn more about theatre and working backstage was a part of it: so if I wanted to learn more about working backstage, working with opening and shutting the curtain a hundred times was the way to go!
By opening night I knew the ropes (get it?) and was feeling confident. I had no anxiety and working the curtains felt second nature.
The show was going smoothly, until the second act after the Ghost of Christmas Present left.
We were supposed to open the mid-curtain to show the Ghost of Christmas Future or Death for short, but the person working the mid-curtain wasn't opening it. I was wearing a headset and I was repeatedly told, "Open the mid-curtain! Open it now!" so I threw off my headset, squeezed through set pieces to get to the mid-curtain, and without looking to see if the Ghost was there or not, I pulled open the curtain: all that was there were stairs but no Death. A few seconds later, the girl who was playing Death walked onto the stage without her full costume on. She had the big piece on, but the mask that was supposed to cover her face wasn't up and people could clearly see that there was a girl playing Death. My eyes became glassy but I was able to stifle my lip: now was not the time to break down and cry. I had a job to do and I needed to stick to my guns. I went back to the main curtain and closed it behind Scrooge and Death and the show continued.
There were more problems that occurred after that incident: the carolers had to loop the same song as they waited for us, the crew, to figure out that we were supposed to open the curtain after the first time they sang and not the second; a scene change that was supposed to take ten seconds took twenty-seven; Act Two was a nightmare, short and simple. I wanted to teleport to my house, snuggle my teddy bear and cry myself to sleep.
The reasons why we experienced turbulence during the second act was because one) we had run the entire show from beginning to end once and that was on the dress rehearsal before opening, and two) the director made changes to the show two hours and thirty minutes before we were supposed to perform. Two hours and thirty minutes. Before we were supposed to perform.
If that does not show the sign of a director who needs a reality check on being a director or doesn't need to be a director in the first place, then I don't know what does. I mean, who would be stupid enough to make changes like that before a show! That's ridiculous if not rude to your cast and crew. On top of that, he had a cast member with Aspergers. It's harder for a person with Aspergers to respond to change than someone who doesn't have Aspergers and in this case, the change was changing the script. It was a fun show and I enjoyed having another reason to hang out with my theatre family and it was one of the few shows where I felt like I was being treated as an equal to the adults: right then, I wasn't a kid, I was a shorter adult.
I went through many ups and downs during that show, and if you gave me the chance to go back and relive and possibly change this moment, I would leave it alone. The memory is not worth changing if it means I would have to relive it again.