I make my living in Theatre. I am a playwright, theatre artist, actor, director, producer, techie, — I’ve done just about everything but choreograph, though I HAVE choreographed various songs for various productions of my own (nobody would consider PAYING me to choreograph). I say this just so you know that I know Theatre, I know what it takes to produce shows, I know all about “the show must go on.”
That being said: I am also a Dad.
My two sons are involved in a local theatre production that is to open this week– in about 4 days. The theatre has a teen program that produces 3-5 shows per year. It’s a great program run by a wonderful theatre professional, though I absolutely HATE sitting in the audience to watch a show because the seating is cramped and my claustrophobia goes bonkers.
We are presently undergoing the worst snowstorms I’ve ever seen in Kansas. Usually, we get maybe an inch and it’s gone in a couple days. We may get 2-3 such snowstorms a winter. Three days ago we had 12+ inches come down. Today, schools are closed because they’re expecting another 8-12 inches to come again.
Last night, after all the local public schools announced closing for the day, the NWS issuing a winter storm watch and telling everyone to stay off the roads, and after the theatre in question announcing it was closing the offices and canceling classes– we get word that the show will be rehearsing from 10-2. According to the weather reports, that’s right in the middle of the the freezing rain changing into snow. The rule has always been, as long as I can remember, “if schools are closed, WE are closed.” This was to alleviate any confusion over whether there were classes or not during bad weather.
I always thought the rule was set in stone for the benefit of the students’ safety. After today’s events, I am wondering if the rule is more set in sand for the benefit of the theatre’s convenience. I know there is a show getting ready to open. I know there would be a possibility of having to post-pone the performances. But I also know that I am a nervous wreck having my two kids (the eldest only having been driving for a couple years) out in what is turning out to be near-blizzard conditions.
Yes, the show must go on. But in my later years– I find that more and more I have to place a caveat in that statement. I missed most of my brother and sister’s weddings because I was in a show. I’ve missed funerals, family reunions and vacations because I was in a show. Looking back over the years, I now regret a lot of those.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the passion, the excitement, the DRAMA of producing a show. There is an “all or nothing” atmosphere during rehearsals that really convicts or coerces (depending upon your point of view) everyone involved to be a team player and make sacrifices for the benefit of the production. That can be a good thing– but, particularly, when safety is involved, it can be a not-so-good thing.
I guess the reason for this post is to remind my fellow producers that it’s a good thing to get all involved in your productions to be team players– but PLEASE keep safety in mind. “The Show Must Go On” is a terrible excuse for a teen dying in a car accident. And trust me, should that ever happen to you (God forbid), you will not soon forgive yourself.