Author Topic: Balancing Theater Work and Having a Life  (Read 958 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?

megf

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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 :-)

Beatr79

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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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