Author Topic: Balancing Theater Work and Having a Life  (Read 1341 times)

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JJ Hersh

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Balancing Theater Work and Having a Life
« on: May 01, 2016, 01:44 am »
I've been stage managing for 6 years, and I can honestly say that I can't imagine doing anything else. But lately I've been feeling isolated. Many of my dear friends are not in theater. My off hours are their working hours and vice versa. Before I did stage management I went to several dance venues. Obviously, dance happens at night, which means that unless I'm between shows I can't do that anymore. It feels like I can only spend time with other theater people because of scheduling. Has anyone else had this experience? How do you keep in touch with friends and family with uncomplimentary hours?


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Re: Balancing Theater Work and Having a Life
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2016, 08:58 pm »
There are a lot of ways to keep in touch. Some of them will work, always. Others will work for a time, and then you'll find yourself feeling isolated again -- so the evaluation/test process pretty much never stops.

Facebook is a great tool. Private groups are especially good, if you have a circle of people you want to connect with, but can't find common social time.

If your location is indeed UCSC, I grew up not far from where you spend a lot of time. It's beautiful... but in addition to the hours in the theater (when friends and family are free), it's likely you also spend a good chunk of time in the car. That's a tough one, but not insurmountable. When I've had a reliable commute in a place where it's legal to use a hands-free set with a cell phone, I've gotten into the habit of making calls during the drive. Sure, it's not the most relaxing option -- but hearing Mom's news from work, or chatting about my niece, etc. is a wonderful way to catch up with the family while doing something productive.

If you're looking for social time to go out with non-industry friends, that's what funemployment is all about :-)


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Re: Balancing Theater Work and Having a Life
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2016, 09:23 pm »
This is one of the biggest challenges of creating a sustainable SM career.  Here's one of my strategies for creating a social life:

When I know I have free time (or am feeling that same sense of isolation you are feeling),  I think of the people I REALLY want to see.  Like really, really want to see - no drama or complicated feelings involved.  Then I send out a bcc email to all of them, admitting it's a "mass email" of sorts, and that I'm looking to book my time with the people I care most about.  Then I list my availability and any social vibes I have.  Literally, I've sent out a day-by-day schedule of my availability (listing my show calls, dinner breaks, curtain down times for each specific day).  This is especially helpful for non-theatre friends because they don't get what tech is, or how long a dinner break is, or that we might be free for coffee on a Saturday morning.

Then I say, "you see a time you're free?  Reply back and the time is yours." 

This strategy works really well because it removes the back-and-forth of schedule juggling between 2 parties (can you do Thursday?  Oh, I can't do Thursday, is Friday good for you? etc.) A few times, I've had 2 people "claim" the same time slot, which was fine too - friends from different corners of my world met for the first time, and we had a blast.

Good luck!  This is a long-term problem that you are smart to acknowledge.  I'll be interested to hear other folks suggestions to this point.



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