Run, stage manager, run
February 13, 2014
Theatre practitioners are creatures of routine. Ask any actor what their pre-show ritual is and they will inevitably tell you the very particular ways they prepare for the show during half hour (have you seen the RSC's exhibit, The Half?), often planned out down to the very minute.
Ask any designer how they handle the stress of tech and they'll probably give you a rundown of what restaurants they always frequent on dinner breaks.
Directors may talk about how they always prepare for opening night and what they always do during press night. Don't even get me started on stage managers….we're the most Type-A bunch of them all!
It is my personal theory that we hold on fiercely to whatever little routine we can because they're the only things that can make this very abnormal lifestyle somewhat normal.
With weeks upon weeks of rehearsals and tech and the constant swarm of challenges that arise after a show opens, it's important to find routines outside of the theatre as well as in it.
A stage manager's de-stress secrets
How do I manage the stress and create a semblance of order and normalcy in this crazy profession?
If you've been following this blog, you may have figured out that nail salons factor in prominently to every place I go for work. Getting my nails done is a weekly ritual for me. Call it superficial, but sometimes the superficial is critical. I love, love getting my nails done – and Miami has been no different.
Put yourself in someone else's hands
It's not just about the pampering and the pretty polish colors. It's an hour where I actually can't touch my phone – an hour I can't send an email, can't fire off a text to one of my co-workers about something, can't respond to queries about the next day's schedule.
In my job, the show's in my hands. In the nail salon, my hands are in someone else's hands.
Find a coffee shop and get the gossip
I love finding the best local coffee shop. If you're looking for good local news, local gossip, or want to know the best nightclub… start with your local coffee shop (not the local Starbucks – we're talking a place that gets their beans from somewhere inside the city limits). Here in Miami Beach it's a place called Panther Coffee.
Run, stage manager, run
One of my favorite things about being a runner is I get a chance to see lots of the city that I ordinarily wouldn't see if I weren't running around it. My favorite run in Miami is along the beach and down the marina – where else? Depending on the schedule and the city, I'll often try to find a local running group or race. This time I'm running the Miami Half Marathon!
There's one thing unique to this city that I've added to my daily routine. With the new city and new title and preparation to transfer to New York comes a lot of new responsibility, and I am on the phone, answering emails, and sending and receiving texts a lot.
It's really hard to put the phone down sometimes (Martha sometimes will physically take it out of my hand and put it in her own purse when we go out to dinner).
So here in Miami, I've started taking nightly walks where I actually leave my phone in the hotel room. I'm sure you can guess how hard this is for me, but it's been a really nice way to unwind at the end of the night and set work aside for just a minute.
Sometimes I'll take a long walk all the way down the beach, sometimes just a short walk down to Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit – by the time we leave Miami it might become a permanent part of my new city routine (might being the operative word there).
The A&C Company has one more week in this beautiful place before it's back to cold and snow. We're revelling in sun and sand and good food. We're settling into the routine of no routine. We do some shows, we have some rehearsals, and we weave our way into the local community.
Last Sunday after our last show of the week, several company members went out for 'family dinner'. In the midst of our chatter the city and what we were all planning to do with our day off, Martha very poignantly stated, 'We're going to become Miami people just in time to leave it.'
As they say…truer words have ne'er been spoken.
Top image: Evangeline gets her nails done - part of her weekly routine.
Middle image: Evangeline gets her coffee at the Panther coffee shop in Miami.
Bottom image: Evangeline ran the Miami half marathon while she was in the city.
by Evangeline Whitlock
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