I was looking at my name on a list of ushers (my current work-study assignment) last week. Next to people's names were various designations: jobs they held, year and department. Next to mine was an asterix and the words "The Busy List." I have no idea what the Busy List and am only moderately interested in finding out. Now that I know it exists, however, I'm feeling quite justified in being on it. In addition to ushering, I'm directing a show at the Cabaret, on top of all the regular classwork plus TAing plus thinking about next year stuff. Life (as defined by regular exercise, sleep, church, and reading novels) bit the dust around mid-September and hasn't returned.
It's tech week, though, and I'm having all kinds of directing flashbacks. It's been about 6 years since I've done this. Scratch that. It's been exactly 6 years since I've done this -- I always have a play going up the weekend of The Game -- and it's amazing what's faded (many, many useful skills) and what's remained (my emotions). During tech week when everyone's digging in and hunkering down and fighting for what they want and crying in the corner, during tech week when it seems so life-and-death, I always become weirdly detached. It's the moment when I suddenly go, "You guys, it's just a play." I tend to do this about 48 hours before we open. It's not particularly helpful.
So, everyone's running around and doing things and asking my opinions, and no one's slept and everyone's on edge and I'm continually asked if I want to either:
A) Tell someone I like very much who's exhausted to work still more on something
B) Tell someone that I like very much who's exhausted that I don't want to use that thing they stayed up all night making
The only way to get through these moments, I think, is to have a clear sense of vision. A perspective that "I don't care if you plucked single hairs off a thousand llamas, this is sweater doesn't look the way I want it to." And I just don't. I kind of go "I dunno, what do you think? Sweater? No sweater? Meh, it's only a play."
This is the same me who will write for months, years on "only a play" or rehearse tirelessly, convinced that a single missed word or comma or realization or breath will inexcusably alter the course of the piece. But put me in tech week, and I'm suddenly the captain of team, "why are you guys so worked up about playing dress-up?"
Anyway, it's extremely late and I can't sleep because I'm afraid of making decisions that will make people that I like very much who are exhausted upset.
And, for the past week, whenever I do get to sleep, I just dream about the play anyways.