Author Topic: First Time: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep  (Read 4927 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

zo_toast

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 7
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Journal of a Virgin Stage Manager
I'm pretty certain that for first time stage managers once it comes down to crunch time we get alittle nervous.  Perhaps to the point of not sleeping?!? All I can say is that I spent all night last night lying in bed with a pen and pad of paper next to me writing down all the questions about the show that came into my head, tasks that still need to be accomplished etc.  Needless to say, even after I had put down my pen I was still finding it hard to sleep.  I am wondering what others do when it gets to this point in rehearsals to keep themselves alive and functioning at the highest caliber.
Thanks for your insight!
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 01:06 pm by PSMKay »

ReyYaySM

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 360
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Current Gig: Freelance
  • Experience: Professional
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #1 on: Nov 06, 2006, 10:09 am »
First of all, relax and take a deep breath!  Since you are thinking ahead and seem to be very aware of what is going on and what still needs to happen, you are more prepared for this than you think you are.  Now, as far as how does one stay alive and functioning as it get to crunch time, sleep and maintaining a good diet is what helps me.  Try to limit your caffeine intake, especially in the evening as that will keep you up longer.  Also try to limit the amount of fast food you are eating.  I know its tempting to grab something fast, but the greasy and fatty food will feel heavy and will slow you down.  Also, eating three meals with several snacks throughout the rehearsal day helps me keep far more alert and focused than eating a large meal and then trying to make it through an entire rehearsal day.  When you do lay down to sleep, try some deep breathing or relaxation exercises to totally clear your mind.  You could also try drinking a decaffeinated tea (they have several lovely night time blends). 

I hope some of this helps.  Best of luck to you!


Scott

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 252
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #2 on: Nov 06, 2006, 12:04 pm »
Perhaps to the point of not sleeping?!?

I was going to suggest whisky, but I see from your blog that this might not be appropriate to your situation...

You might want to keep in mind Tom Kelly's edict (from The Backstage Guide to Stage Management) that "All things are not of equal importance." 

I also find that controlled breathing exercises, such as used in training the spoken voice, are useful for centering and leading to a calm, meditative state of mind. (Breath deeply and slowly, taking air in and releasing in controlled sustained counts.)

Rebbe

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 271
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #3 on: Nov 06, 2006, 12:31 pm »
You can’t take care of a show unless you take care of yourself, first.  You mention going to bed with a pen and paper nearby.  I’d suggest that before you even attempt to go to sleep, you spend some time out of bed with that pen and paper, and clear your head by jotting down all of your notes, questions, and worries.  Then put the paper aside, and do something non-theater related for a while (read a book, watch bad reality TV, call a friend who loves chemistry).  Then try hitting the hay.  In the morning, you can look at your notes again, prioritize, and be sure to delegate anything you don’t absolutely need to do yourself.

It sounds like you’re doing all you can to prepare, so be proud of yourself for that, and try to keep this experience in perspective.  Your first show doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be your best effort…and hopefully FUN, since SMing is far too much work if you don’t enjoy it.  Remind yourself that when something goes wrong, it won’t be the end of the world; you’ll learn from your mistakes, correct the problems, and the show will go on. 

Break a nail!
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

lydiaelaine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: SELU
  • Current Gig: 3rd Annual Hammond Horror Festival: 24 Hour Play Festival
  • Experience: College/Graduate
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #4 on: Nov 06, 2006, 01:30 pm »
This makes me feel better. Though it's my second show, my first show was not nearly as tech heavy as this one. (Try 30 LQs (126pg play) to 150(46 pg play). But these thoughts on how to relax are really helpful. I'm glad I'm not the only one suffering from tech week insomnia.
Stage manager: Totally responsible for everything.

philimbesi

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 117
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #5 on: Nov 06, 2006, 02:21 pm »
Quote
"All things are not of equal importance." 

Try printing that out and putting it on a sign where not only the 1000 people who are going to come to you with problems... but you also... can see it.   At times I've found myself pointing to it when I couldn't answer a question because I was in a hold, while moving around light cues. 

If you can't print it... White Gaff and a Black Sharpie work just as well. 

Breathe, classical music, tea... just remember in the end. "We ain't landing planes."  It's a show and it's supposed to be fun.   You want everything to be perfect and you strive to be that way but if something happens... it's the beauty of live theater.   9 times out 10 it's the stage manager that can adapt and overcome that is the hero. 

LisaEllis

  • Guest
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #6 on: Nov 06, 2006, 05:49 pm »
Any day you don't maime somebody onstage is a good day at work.  Cheer up, it'll get better.

When I need to unwind before bed, I usually try a cup of chamomile (sp?) tea.

And if I have a headache and have 8 hours before getting up, a Tylonol PM.  But then I definitely need coffee in the morning to get going.

Also, trying doing something other than work before bed (it's hard, I know), but reading a magazine or watching TV can help clear your mind.  Even some simple yoga can relax your shoulders and help you destress.

There are too many things you can't do anything about until you get there.  And then you do them.  But all the planning in the world isn't going to help when you have to punt anyway.

Good luck!

Mac Calder

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 966
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #7 on: Nov 06, 2006, 06:46 pm »
Try a little psychology on yourself: "If I keep worrying about the show when I should be sleeping, chances are I will be useless when it comes to fixing these issues."

My body clock is stuffed due to working theatre - some times I don't sleep for days, some times I sleep whilst it is light outside, and sometimes I sleep when it's dark, so I bought an exercise bike the other day at a garage sale for $20. Now, every time I want to get some rest, I ride. After a decent stint of peddling quickly, I am so exhausted that I just flop down onto my bed and sleep. As a general rule, a stage managers will be mentally tired long before they are physically, yet whilst they feel physically fine, their brain does not want to let them sleep. Concentrating only on riding, my mind gets a small break where all those worries are pushed aside, and by the end my body is exhausted. And when the body is exhausted, the brain can only think of sleep.

Prior to that, I was fairly reliant on sleeping pills if things like breathing exercises, meditation and tea did not work. Talk to a doctor - many of them will prescribe a decent strength pill to those who have trouble sleeping when working odd hours, or are just in capable of sleep.

Lucky

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #8 on: Nov 07, 2006, 10:54 am »
I agree with the physical exercise to help fall asleep. I'm not so much for tea :P and I'm not so crazy about the idea of taking pills to solve problems :-X. A stage manager I worked with this past summer ran 5-8miles in the morning so she was energized for rehearsal but at the end of the day would definitly sleep. Plus physical activity helps you relax since you can let go of all the stress of the day. I myself find ice hockey a great way to take care of this. If though time or location isn't suitable, then I try the do-what-is-most-boring-and-time-cosuming-and-mind-numbing-thing (Soduko puzzels) until you quickly bore with it and go to bed. But then there times that I lay in bed after a full day of classes, work for multiple shows, work that pays, and what ever else happened and find it strangly amazing how soft my pillow is and after finding that it amazingly soft, I'm out like a fat kid in dodgeball.

philimbesi

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 117
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #9 on: Nov 07, 2006, 02:59 pm »
Quote
Out like a fat kid in dodgeball

I hated that... then there was no one to hide behind...

killerdana

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 87
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #10 on: Nov 07, 2006, 06:40 pm »
I'm a big fan of a hot bath when I need to relax.  If you put a little lavendar oil in it will help you sleep. 

I've had trouble sleeping my whole life, so I have a lot of solutions.  However, the best advice I've gotten is to only use your bed for sleeping.  If you want to read, watch tv, write notes, whatever, do it on the couch, in a chair, or at the table.  When you're ready to go to bed, go to bed.  Basically, you need to set up a pattern that the bed is for sleeping, not working.  When your brain can compartmentalize that, you'll fall asleep better.
Science without art is sterile.  --Albert Einstein

Darek

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #11 on: Nov 12, 2006, 06:04 pm »
I've had problems with this as well. When I use to work as a TD for a performance center that I lived across the street from I would wake at 4am sure that there was a presentation later that day and I hadn't even looked at what we had in terms of lights and was there a mic even patched, did the wireless mics have batteries in them, etc. I was so sure of this that I would actually get dressed and walk out the door until I realized that the presentation I was thinking of wasn't for another week. Eventually, I got comfortable and was able to sleep through the night. It does get better the more you do this. Opening night is always a little nerving. I learned that there is a fine line between worrying and being prepared. If you're prepared things will likely go smooth (life is unpredictable) and all you will need to do is believe in yourself. If you worry not only will you lose sleep but chances are that you were too busy worrying to remember a couple of important things. If you're still having trouble as you go on in stage management, I do suggest to exercise where you slowly say goodnight to your body starting with your feet and working up or popping in Enya with some aromatherapy candles and maybe doing the exercise.

wilsom6317

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: 8 rehearsals 'til tech week and i can't sleep
« Reply #12 on: Nov 13, 2006, 12:09 pm »
For the not sleeping try chamlmile because its the one tea that helps you relax and sleep.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
5 Replies
4159 Views
Last post Feb 09, 2009, 12:02 am
by Bwoodbury
2 Replies
1530 Views
Last post Jan 23, 2014, 04:35 pm
by Dart
16 Replies
4635 Views
Last post Jun 01, 2015, 04:06 pm
by ShyIverson