YOU WILL SMELL LIKE AN UNWASHED TEENAGE BADGER BY DAY THREE
My sweat glands were reawakened by some of of the stronger stage lights. Our costumer elected not to bring the steamer, as we had in previous years, so the clothes never got to breathe. We would take them off as soon as the piece was over, roll them up (still wet, usually), and put them in the costume trunks because we had to pack up quickly after the show.
YOU GAIN A DAREDEVIL-LIKE SENSE NAVIGATING BACKSTAGE
A different stage every night meant no two shows were the same. A different backstage is what really contributed to this, though. We were on stages with very little room to pass from SR to SL, stages where there were a series of tight corners to get from backstage to the wings (a problem when you’re trying to move quickly past people carrying buckets and jangly instruments)…all of this with a 40 person cast plus whatever students we added, and all of this in the dark.
THE MORE YOU MOVE, THE BETTER YOU FEEL
Getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night, uncomfortably trying to doze on a bus, not eating your own food you’re used to, dealing with castmates and directors, and all you really want to do is take a good nap. Moving, even just doing your own little improv, will make all of that feel a lot better, though, despite your instinct to fall asleep in whatever seated position you may find yourself in.
DANCING IS THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES
There are so many moving parts to a tour. The equipment, the students, the musicians, the costumes, the personalities. You have to navigate a million pieces of putting a show together, so the dancing can absolutely fall away when you’re trying to corral students or fix a missing prop. You can’t lose heart, though, and you have to keep reminding yourself that you’re there to dance and put on a good show.
THE QUIET RULE SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR EVERY SHOW
It’s pretty self-explanatory: before the show and during the show, shut up. There’s nothing you need to say to anyone. There’s no reason anyone should be talking to you. You should be in your head, focused, thinking about what you’re about to do and where you’re going to be.
And I can hear the complaints now: oh, I need to ask a question, I need to make sure I’m in the right place, I need to find out where X is….no. No, you don’t need to say a word. By this point, you should know what’s going on and where your shit is because you set it during the walk through. If you have a question, there are non-verbal ways of communicating that.
Not speaking puts you in a place where you are able to mediate on your job, where you aren’t distracted making jokes or conversation or asking questions that you should already know the answer to. It shows onstage, too. The ones who are focused put on a better show than the ones who aren’t. You may think you can do both, talk and still be focused and professional, but one hundred percent of the time, this has proven not to be true. This is your job. Be quiet and be a professional.