Lesbians in heels and dancers in boots. This is a modern realization that I made today at rehearsal for our show, Motown, The Musical. Two gorgeous black women doing side by side developpe in big rubber boots. Supremes with a beautiful bevel ready to weather a storm.
“Buffalo Gals won’t you come out tonight”
“I have outlived my usefulness” is an expression I often use when I am talking about the trend following business of theatre. As the years progress I find myself taking solace in the 30 year Stage Hand and confused by edgy young explorers that fill the stage. It used to be that the understanding Stage Manager went along with the actor who needed a “mental health” day after a long stretch of readings, pre-production for another show or just too many late night cocktails followed by matinees. Now the busy has taken on a new tempo. I’ve got rehearsal for “my show”, “I’m in studio all week”, “I’m doing a benefit for…” The list of My, I and Me seems endless. I sit in awe of all these young performers can accomplish in two evenings a week and on average four daytimes a week. It’s as if Broadway is not enough, these dynamos want to be stars of stage, screen, concert; the more solo the recognition the better. The days of “making it to Broadway” as being at the top of the heap doesn’t really resinate in many young minds.
“Oh God I need this job”
My own part of the theatre business has also trended in so many ways. I started as a stage manager thrilled with the idea that I could make a difference to the creative process. I could not only be the eyes and ears for the director but I could help set a tone for a room. Wanting, willing and trying to stay a step a head. Legal pads full of information, loads of phone calls made at the close of each rehearsal to make sure notes were being communicated. Knowing how to manage people and their needs could make a rehearsal day sing. Problem solving was easier somehow. Now we as Stage Managers are often administrators to a host of creatives and assistants that all have their hands on the rutter. Instant communication has made it impossible to stay attentive to the room and re-cap at the end of the day. The information will be passed around ten times over by the time the day closes. Stage Managers today are so often computer savvy and text-centric that most information comes and goes from their minds without ever speaking to another person. I often wonder if my own people (stage managers, not lesbians) even have the spirit of the art in mind or is the administration what they love?
“racing with the clock”
So I guess I should just learn to be content with a lesbian in heels, just so long as she retains her flannel.