I Have a Cast!

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Just a few minutes ago, I was sent the cast list for my play, the one being done in Ohio. I am SO excited. I had some concerns about how it would be cast. The main concern was that at first it seemed like only children would be auditioning. This worried me since my play, though yes, a Peter Pan prequel, is not for children, despite there being children in the show.  But thankfully, all the roles have been cast age-appropriately. I don’t know any of the actors, obviously, but I’ve been assured by the producer that there’s some great talent in the show, so that’s really exciting. I think the hardest part of being a playwright is not being able to control, or even observe in the long term, the rehearsal process.

After receiving the cast list, I Facebook-stalked some of the people on it. The leading girl has the perfect look for the part, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a fantastic actress, I trust that the director chose her for both reasons. The big shocker for me is that Peter is being played by a young boy. While obviously Peter IS a young boy, he’s so often cast with a young woman that that’s just the picture I have in my head (and how I cast it when I was working on this play in college.) It’ll be really different and awesome to see a young boy actually played by a young boy.

The last time I was produced (about three years ago, at this point), I was surprised upon seeing one of my two plays that three unscripted cast members had been added to the play. The director had her reason for casting them and they really added some nice moments to the show, which is why I’m really interested to see what is done with the “Neverland ensemble” that has been included in the cast. While I do have some control issues as a playwright, I also find it really exciting to see what directors do with my work. Sometimes they come up with stuff that’s better than anything I wrote.

The first read-through is happening in ten days. I wish I could be there, and I’m SO excited that this play is finally getting off the ground.

New Job #5647462

Yet again, I have been training for a new job. Hopefully this will be a more long-term job than some of my others, because I’m as tired of job hopping as you guys are of reading about it. The job is essentially live infomercials in stores, and tomorrow I will have finished my first week of training. My roommate it training both myself and a girl who went to the same university as both of us, and at first I was worried about being trained by someone who is my friend because I am often really self-conscious about performing (or in this case, pitching) in front of people I know. And that has been an obstacle for me, but I’m glad I was able to train with him because it means that during our downtime, I’m just hanging out with my friend instead of making awkward small talk with a new acquaintance.

For this company, they give you a $700 bonus if you can memorize the script in a week. The script is a short paragraph over three pages, single-spaced, and as a theatre person, I wasn’t worried. But I always manage to still get freaked out when I have to memorize an important script, even though the last three were thirty pages long and this one wasn’t even four. So I did what I always do when I get intimidated by a script: I procrastinated.

Eventually, though, I buckled down and memorized it in two days, doing my first show yesterday. The goal wasn’t to sell anything during my first show, just to get through it, but both I and the other trainee sold two during our respective shows. I did another show today and it wasn’t great, but I did get better. If I get good at this job, it will give me the financial stability I want to provide for myself.

(Un)Happy Jewish New Year!

I am not Jewish, which is possibly how I ended up house managing a Rosh Hashanah service at the Big Famous University today. I didn’t know what event I was working, so I was very grumbly as I rose at 5:30 this morning after a terrible night’s sleep and was at work by 7:15. When I found out it was a Rosh Hashanah service, I thought, ‘Well, that least that’s interesting.’ And I guess it was, but I didn’t get to see much of the service; I did hear the entire three and a half hour service over the speaker, though, most of it in Hebrew, which is very nice to listen to.

When I found out that I was managing a religious service, I figured it would be a pretty easy day; reports about last night’s service were that they arrived late, left early, and didn’t cause any problems. And in general, it was an easy day. But there are always one or two people who have to make sure my day isn’t TOO easy. Today, I had two.

I was a little annoyed because the woman running the service didn’t arrive until the minute she wanted the doors to be open, making it hard to be prompt in doing that. But after that annoyance, she was nice, so I let it go. There were only about 120 people expected to attend, and since the ground floor of our auditorium holds 800, we were instructed not to open the balconies. People wandered in and out of the service the entire time and for about an hour and a half, things ran smoothly. Then all of a sudden, this man, probably in his sixties, storms into my office. Öne of my ushers, Ceara, was sitting closest to him, so she said, “Hello, sir, how can I help-” He ignored her and stomped over to me.

“Are you in charge?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Your staff is telling me that I can’t sit upstairs in the balcony!”

“That’s true. The auditorium holds 800 people, so there are plenty of seats on the ground level.”

“Well, I have children, and for the past few years, we’ve been allowed to sit in the balcony. ”

I was wondering what age this man’s “kids” were, considering that he was kind of old to have small children. But I answered, “Sir, the kids are allowed to sit in the seats on the ground floor.”

“I want my kids to be able to run around and talk. How are they supposed to do that on the ground floor?”

This, too, was confusing. There’s no partition between the balcony and the rest of the auditorium, so if the kids were making noise on the balcony, it wouldn’t be quieter than if they were on the ground floor. In fact, it might be louder. And even worse, while them running up and down the aisle might not be good, the steps in the balcony are EXTREMELY steep, and way too dangerous for little feet to be navigating. There was no way that allowing kids to “run around” up there was a good idea. I was also kind of annoyed that, if this man’s kids were that disruptive, he had brought them to the service at all. As a kid in church, I was expected to sit quietly, as were all the kids around me, and most of us did it fairly successfully- and if we didn’t, we were chastised and/or taken out of the room. And considering the tone this man was taking with me, I knew he was able to sound menacing enough to shut a kid up.

So I told him again that I would not be opening the balcony for him and his family. Besides the fact that it wasn’t safe, opening the balcony would involve sacrificing one of my few ushers to go up there and, I’m sure, babysit the children while the adults ignored them. My staff didn’t deserve that, especially since I was sure, if a kid got hurt, they would be blamed for it and not the negligent parents (who, I found out later, were the children of the man to whom I was speaking; he was the grandfather in the situation.)

The man was floored that, no matter what he said, I would not let him upstairs. “We have ALWAYS been allowed to sit upstairs. The RABBI lets us sit upstairs.”

“I’m just following the rules laid out for me, and you’re the only person who has asked to go upstairs. I’m not going to open it for one family.”

“I’m sure there are other people who have wanted to go up, but that belt across the stairway makes them think it’s not open.” (Kind of the point, sir…) “And they may not say anything but let me tell you-” And here, he leaned in very close to me. “I will.”

Of course, after I said no again, he threw a tantrum and demanded to seethe event contact, whom I couldn’t find. He grudgingly headed into the main level of the auditorium (sans children- I didn’t see him with children, even the grown ones, at all today), but not before growling, “Let me tell you, young lady, we’ve ALWAYS been allowed to sit in the balcony.” I half expected him to add, “You’ll be sorry for this!” but instead he just asked for my name, I’m sure to report me. But I’m not worried. After all, he can tell my boss every little thing I said and did, and it all just adds up to me doing my job.

I feel like part of his extreme anger is that he didn’t enjoy being told what to do by me. After all, I look like a teenager and, even though I’m not one, I’m still a person decades younger than him who is denying him something that he feels he has the right to. I’m sure he thought he could bully his way upstairs, but I had been forced to get up before the sun. I was not in a bargaining mood.

This wasn’t the only instance of guys thinking it was their special day. Another man, this one even older, tried to insist his way upstairs by elevating his illness. He peeked into my office and was like, “Miss, I have to sit upstairs because of my-” and he held up a nasal spray. I was confused as to why nasal spray would require someone to sit upstairs, and I told him that we weren’t opening the balcony. “But I have this awful cough,” he said, hacking pitifully, “And I already tried to sit downstairs and people complained. HILLEL MEMBERS!” he told me,  as though the Hillel members being particularly annoyed was going to influence my decision. I still told him no, he asked to see the event contact, and when I found her, she also told him no. He continued to cough as if to prove that he was actually sick, but the case was the same as with the children: there was no soundproof barrier in the balcony. The man waited around the lobby (where you could still hear the service) for awhile, finally saying poutily that he’d just stay out there. And glory be, his cough was cured- I didn’t hear it once for the hour he was sitting there. It’s a Rosh Hashanah miracle!

The rest of the day ran smoothly, and we even got out an hour early. One day, I aspire to be like these men- totally focused on only my wants and not caring how hard I make other people’s jobs. It must be nice to live like that…

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In – Between

About a week ago, I handed in my two weeks’ to the touring company. With the colder months approaching, the tours will be slowing down. They will pick up in October because of Halloween, but with September being so bare bones, schedule wise, I figure I might as well spend that time training for the new job (live infomercials in stores) instead of waiting to get thrown a tour.

I didn’t get a response to my resignation e-mail, and I thought it was my boss being her usual passive-aggressive self. I expected to log into our scheduling system and find myself inundated with tours during the time I had declared myself done with the job. Instead, my calendar is blank for the entire month. Again, I figured this was her passive-aggression, but today, I got an e-mail from my boss basically saying, “I’m so sorry, I’ve been out of town for the past few days… Can you please work for us through October?”

I said I’d see, but I thought it was interesting how a boss who abuses her employees thinks that I would be quick to say yes to working for her more, when I had another opportunity. This is the boss who got annoyed that I had to go my uncle’s funeral, and the one who expects me to have extra hours laying around in my day to work if she demands it.

But this company is understaffed, so I am in a position of power: they need me, and I can say yes or no. My boss asked if she could fix it by giving me more hours. “Tell me how many more you need, and I’ll try to make it work.” She doesn’t seem to understand that even if I worked all day every day for them, I still wouldn’t be able to support myself, but I don’t see how that can be a surprise; she knows how much I earn and she also knows how much it takes to live. Plus, her treatment of me certainly hasn’t, until that e-mail, shown me that my time was of any worth to them.

So with my not being scheduled for September, for now it looks like this past Friday was my last tour. I was surprised not to be working over the weekend, but since I worked a few jobs for most of the week, it was nice to get to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. Then, when I was awoken by thunder yesterday, I was more than happy to stay cozy in my bed with my laptop while the rain pounded against the window. But by midday yesterday, I was restless. The novelty of having the whole day to myself had worn off. When I have a whole day every now and then, it’s a gift. But now I’m in the position of that being the norm for possibly a week longer, and that’s kind of killing me. Thankfully, I am working at the university on Thursday, so hopefully that will make me feel useful again.

I’m also in between two beginning stages of taking anti-depressant medication. I took my first pill two Saturdays ago, got my dosage upped this past Friday, and now I’m waiting for it to actually start working. It might take another four weeks, which kind of sucks, but I’m just hoping it works at all- otherwise, I might have to start all over with another one. But it’s too soon to tell either way.