We have an election day! Actually they call it Polling Day over here, but regardless, the date is set for May 6! That means that our already busy campaign office has turned into a 7 days a week campaign machine. That also means that yours truly is working more hours in a more stressful job than I have ever had in my life, including the ones that actually, you know, paid me money. The good thing is the now there is an end in sight, a goal, a finish line, a light at the end of the tunnel to look at to keep me from stabbing some of the people I work with for being so %*$@^* crazy. Please don’t take that the wrong way- I love what I am doing and have never cared so much about what I am doing but some of these people are complete wackadoodles, though I feel like I have been properly trained for this. How? Community theatre.
Most of you know that I grew up doing shows at our local community theatre. I could be found down at the theatre more nights than not doing everything from acting to lights to stage manager-ing to props. Some of my favorite memories of my whole life took place in a community theatre. I love it unapologetically. I thought nothing would ever replace the feel of doing a show from the auditions to closing night cast party. I may have found a close substitute. What’s that you say? There are no sets, no lines, no actors, no props, no director- how can you think they are similar?
The Time Limit. When I look back on plays in which I have participated, they are in time blocks. Each play took up a block time in my life. Usually they were in 6 to 8 week blocks. When one starts, you put the rest of your life on hold and fully immerse yourself in the obligations that take up every night of your week. It isn’t something you would do indefinitely but because you have an end date, you don’t mind.
The Goal. The similarities between Opening Night and Polling Day are also eerily similar. You can rehearse every day for days and have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen when the lights go up but the audience is a factor that you can’t predict until they are actually THERE. In every play I was in there was a line that the audience would laugh at that I never thought was funny. Same with campaigning, we have polled people and talked to people and mailed people things and done everything that we can to make sure that they vote how we want them to vote, but when it comes down to it we won’t know until they actually vote.
The People. There is a saying that Washington DC is Hollywood for ugly people. While I do not think that all people that go into politics are ugly, I think that the sentiment that politics and theatre attract the same types of people is totally true. Where I am working is an office that is running a Parliamentary campaign is also running 30 council campaigns for the local council and therefore we have to work with the local ward chairmen and the little local groups are where they hide all the …colorful personalities. That is my way of saying that those people are a special kind of crazy. I find myself making comparisons with some of the people that I remember from theatre. We have people that must be handled a certain way and told things a special way and need their egos boosted and need the rules broken so they don’t throw a hissy fit. I may or may not have assigned some of them the names of some of my favorite people from theatre. (I would use an example but I feel that would not be prudent!)
To wrap up this long and fairly pointless entry. I miss theatre so much for so many more reasons than just performing, and I miss working for so many more reasons than getting a paycheck. Getting to get so much of what I have been missing back even if it is just for a time has been so so so wonderful. I love all the people, even the ones I want to kill. I love working so hard because I am working toward something that I care about. This is going to be a hard month. Really hard. Like dress rehearsal week four weeks in a row. I think I am as prepared as I can be. I have a picture of Mike in my phone so I remember what he looks like. And I am missing the Acura and all the crap that I used to keep in my trunk for times like this. So come on May 6, when the lights go up, I’ll be ready.