Friday, February 15, 2013

Lent Obligation from Hell part II

The following is a re-post from an old blog/column I wrote for another medium a long time ago. I've tweaked it a little to bring it up to date while hopefully keeping the content intact.

In a previous post, I wrote about my Lenten penance of doing charity work instead of giving up my beloved French fries and the headache that turned out to be. Well the saga continued well after Lent ended.

Each day I would get an email, phone call or thought sent via telepathy guilt tripping me into putting in a few more hours at St. Clements. Eventually I’d cave in and show up to put in a few hours of work. Most of it would involve climbing up a very unstable ladder to an extremely high spot. On top of that, the Executive Producers kept having this misguided notion that I knew what the hell I was doing. I was beginning to think that maybe in order to be successful play producers, they had to start drinking really early in the day.

The two people in charge had slightly different philosophies on how things should run. Jason didn’t want anyone to get killed working on Stage Crew. Bart on the other hand felt that a 10% casualty rate was acceptable if it meant finishing on deadline.

A big problem was that we didn’t have enough people to get the work done in a timely fashion. They shot themselves in the foot on that one, as far as I’m concerned. When they were doing cast call, they asked us to keep the months from January through April open and devoted to the play. I would have gladly done this had I been selected. But because they insisted on adhering to their rigid requirement of having only talented people in the play who can sing, dance and act, well I had to make other plans for my time.

But getting back to the story. The only other person on Stage Crew was a girl named TJ. She was a spunky gal who was a firm believer in “Girl Power”. One of our tasks was to drill holes in the wall of the Gym-turned-Theatre area. Naturally it required climbing really, really high to make these holes because God knows you wouldn’t be able to use holes in the wall at ground level for anything useful.

TJ insisted she could climb up and take care of all the hole making. I had no problem with this as I had a feeling the St Clements insurance policy was more of a rumor than an actuality.

And now that the play is over, I’m still touched by this group via the listserv. Every time I check my email there are dozens of emails from this group, most of which are responses to a single conversation thread or joke. What’s strange is that this listserv has been around for months, but it wasn’t until the week of opening night that the actors started using it. It was as if they suddenly discovered email.

When it was all over, Jacob emailed me to thank me for helping out. He also mentioned that when the next production comes along, he’d be sure to let me know. Thanks, because I will definitely want to change my phone number.

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