Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not Just A One-Trick Pony

I recently made a decision to not be involved in local theatre for a while. It was not the easiest decision, & I did not make it lightly. Theatre has been a large part of my life since 1994 when I was approached by Duey & Luey to be a part of the group & ended up with a stage role. During the years of my involvement, I've acted, directed, produced, stage managed, ran the video camera, made/brought props, written plays, done advertising, found/made costumes, managed the floor, sold tickets, painted sets, made programs, been treasurer, M.C.'d the shows, read a brazillion plays, & above all, done everything & anything in my power to ensure that the production is the best it can possibly be. I also sat on the Facility Board, & spent 4 years as an Executive Member of Theatre Saskatchewan.

I've always conducted myself by the rules instilled in me by Duey & Luey:

  1. You can never pay too much attention to detail.
  2. We're an amateur group putting on a professional show.
  3. You find the people who want to be involved, then you find a play to fit the people.
  4. Never forget who your audience is & pick productions that they will enjoy, while still not compromising your integrity or your own interest.
  5. Have fun!

When I first joined the group, we had over 25 regular members who each worked their own chosen job, & did it well. It was a well-oiled machine. It was a pleasure to be a part of something that was 4 years established, & so vital to the cultural welfare of our community ~ a community like many small Saskatchewan towns, that seems to revolve around hockey.

Over the years, people dropped away for various reasons & some new people came to take their places. Some, but not enough. More & more responsibilities were doubled, then tripled, then quadupled up on the veterans who stayed involved, the veterans who became more & more taxed with more & more positions, causing burn-out & more defections to "normal" life.

At my peak, I was doing 7 jobs. 7 jobs that had previously been done by 7 people. It was overload. It was hell.

I rebelled. I refused to carry the world on my shoulders any more. I limited my involvement to 2 jobs, & forced others to take on more responsibility. I thought it would be enough.

It wasn't.

I took 2006 off completely, appearing only as an audience member, thinking the time away would be good for me & the group. I had protected them, I thought, protected them from the inner workings of the group through my own control-freakism & lack of delegation skills & this would be a good time for the rest to realize a)all that I had been doing & b)that they were more than capable of doing what I had done.

I came back in 2007 refreshed & ready to enjoy merely acting once more. It wasn't refreshing. The group of 25 had dwindled to 11. Yup. 11 counting cast & crew. The direction of the group had changed. The 5 principles that I had been taught, that I held dear, were no longer being followed. I felt like a stranger in a familiar yet remarkably changed world, a world where nothing was where it should be & things weren't as they seemed. & the whole point of being involved, the FUN, was no more.

& so, I retire. I'm not saying it's forever {I learned from Sean Connery long ago Never Say Never} but, for now, I don't have much interest in being a part of the group. I am not willing to walk the direction they are headed; I am unwilling to change, & yet I am unwilling to attempt to hold them back. Mayhaps this is an evolution of the group ~ if so, I wish them well. On the other hand, it could be a necessary diversion, a learning curve that all must go through. Either way, they shall do it without me.

That being said, Theatre is not all I am about. I work, albeit begrudgingly, I have the-place-where-I-worship, I have my husband & friends who love me, I write, I have my home & the DemonSpawn to look after, I have my crafts, & photos, & a brazillion other things that I do, that we all do, as part of our lives. Theatre is not the be-all, end-all of my existence. I am much more complex than that. I am not a one-trick pony.

There are some in this community, however, who are unaware of that. I've been asked by several people over the last few weeks how the plans for theatre are coming, to which I replied, "I have no idea. I'm not involved." Boys & girls, in this situation, do not say to me, "Oh no! What will you do if you're not in theatre? How will they survive without you?"

First of all, you insult me, you insult my life, & you insult Puffy when you insinuate that I have nothing in my life but theatre. Secondly, you denigrate all those who are still part of the group when you imply that they are incapable of carrying on without me. Any group that cannot survive without one member, one measly member, doesn't deserve to continue. This group deserves to & shall continue. They will do well & I shall be there to cheer them on.

From my paid seat in the audience.

1 comment:

Poopsie aka Blue said...

Well I for one think the Players are the poorer, but understand fully.
And hey, you can still go to festival abd JUST enjoy the fun, as I know you will.