Growing Up and Getting Happy

It’s easy to whine and bitch and moan. Woe is me, I didn’t get thanked. Curses, I’m not appreciated. Waaa, someone looked askance at me.
I get tired of my own inner brat leading the way, believe it or not.
Last night, I decided to re-enter the world of this show with an open mind, and, more importantly, an open heart.
Two questions would be my guide: How can I help? What can I learn?
I set up the stage as best I could for 15 minutes. I actually got most of it done. I put props and costumes in places where the actors didn’t have to crawl on one another to get them. I pressed out, as best as I could, wrinkles. Props were placed carefully. Set was put out with an eye towards feasibility of movement. It was almost zen — quiet, purposeful, focused.
To my delight, about seven people showed up early to help me move the heavy stuff — so it would seem that those with man muscles *do* like to help, they just don’t like to respond to emails. 

This show has taught me that most actors communicate differently than I do.  They are sporadic, a la minute sometimes.

I had printed out extra signs for one cast member.  We use the signs in the first act closer.  He had emailed me in a panic that morning saying he had spilled juice on his signs.  When I saw him, he confessed (without prompting) that he’d just lost them and was worried I was going to be upset.

It seems for all the risk that actors are willing to take onstage, most are worried about people being mad at them.  Actors are delicate, insecure, raw people.  I say that speaking as someone who will identify as an actor (usually, though, as an actor-hyphen, as in actor-writer or actor-mother or actor-astronaut.) 

I listened to the pre-warm up chatter as I set and fetched and found things for people.  Worries. Every actor in the room was worried…so very twisted up and fretting, be it about rent, the next gig, a class, a relationship, the past, the present, the future.  There was little joy gathering.

This wasn’t surprising.  It’s always there.  It just struck me as something that maybe I can ease a little.

I took a little extra care with actors last night.  I took a second and third look at our directors.  Tired.  Worried.  Proud.

I still stand by my previous concerns and aches.  Things I think could have and should have been done differently.

However, something triggered the Gentle in me to come forth. 

We are all doing the best we can. 

We are all doing the best we can.

I was unable to stay for the show last night due to sitter conflicts.  As I left, people were surprised — ok, I’ll say it, some were disappointed — that I couldn’t stay.  I was a fixture.  Not to all.  Some of the veterans could have cared less.  That’s ok. 

But when I look to love, when I look for opportunities to help, when I look to learn, I often quickly receive love, help, and lessons.

I need to remember that.  My attitude.  MY attitude.  My ATTITUDE.

The kicker?  This morning in an email, the director stold me how much he appreciated all I’ve contributed to the show.

Color me gobsmacked. 

I’m no Pollyanna, but sometimes a smile, a genuine shoulder to lean on, a little extra care is more than an umbrella.  It’s a hazmat suit.  It doesn’t bring on the good stuff, but it does help keep the bad out.


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