What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

04 February 2011


I went to a volunteer training session a few days ago for the fine arts department at UT. They've been working to get a student contingent among their volunteer ushers for a while, so for the next two semesters I get to be part of it. I am really excited about this.

Stock photo; this is not from UT.
Part of that excitement comes from being near a stage again. I was in the drama club throughout my middle school and high school years, and while I am far from being an actress, I loved the backstage stuff. Building a set, moving it around, learning every moment of a play by heart... that's the only reason I could see for even going to school when I was a teenager. (My reputation preceded me, even then; I was so clumsy and fumble-fingered that when anything turned up broken, the directors automatically assumed it was me. The problem is that they were right six times out of four.)

So in the course of the tour of Bass Concert Hall, I felt a little bit of my old life tugging at my heart. We were in the auditorium and the house manager was explaining seating and evacuation procedures to us, when someone walked across the stage, and the house manager paused to shout good-bye and assure him that she would turn out the lights when she was done. Sigh... that used to be me who was among the last to leave and who had free run of the auditorium pretty much any time I wanted. For a fraction of a second, I wished that I were a fine arts major.

The truth is, even though I once entertained ideas of being a professional stagehand, I can't imagine wanting that now-- the hours are long (including nights and weekends!), the work is hard, and the position is thankless. Actors and crew were buddy-buddy in high school, and I had the leverage at that time to demand that my crew and I be treated with the same respect as everyone else, but it doesn't work that way outside of educational theatre. Plus, everything is so automated now (okay, it has been for 20 years) that I'd be more in the nature of a technician operating a computer than the hands-on set movement I once knew.

Then the house manager took us up on stage and told us about the nifty hydraulic lift under the front six feet or so of the stage, which when raised makes the stage larger and when lowered makes the pit area (either for the orchestra or for extra seating), and I twinged again. My high school had one of those, as crazy as it sounds for a small high school to have such a thing. We didn't know that we were ├╝ber-lucky to have it.

So, I'm returning to an auditorium. I won't be backstage, I won't get to touch anything, and I certainly won't meet any of the actors. But it's a long way better than nothing, and a nice way to see an old dream readjusted for a new reality.

Do you have any childhood dreams that needed some serious tweaking as you grew older?


Megan K. Bickel said...

Pretty much the same ones, Su, but I was on the stage. I miss it so much. Theater is magical. I hope to get back to it someday (when kid's schedules don't take precedent over rehearsal schedules). Sigh.

erica and christy said...

It's nice that you get to be there (and watch, I assume?) again. Hope you have fun with it! (I'm boring. I always wanted to be a teacher and I am.)

Hart Johnson said...

I think it's a great way to get to be involved (see lots of plays for free)--I hope you really enjoy it!

Su said...

@Megan: It really is magical. I hope you can get into community theatre when the time is right!

@Erica: Depending on what they have me doing, I'll get to watch at least part of the show. My first shift is for Threepenny Opera in a couple of weeks, and I'm pretty excited. Also, I'm sure that being a teacher is not boring!

@Hart: Thanks! I'm sure I will! :D

Unknown said...

Yes, know how you feel. Had many dreams which I'm still fulfilling, including being on the stage, ended up exhausted!

Su said...

It is exhausting, isn't it? Better to be exhausted by something you enjoy, though. :)

Michelle in a shell said...

I really like how you mention, "and a nice way to see an old dream readjusted for a new reality." And I'm slightly jealous you've found a way to incorpoate your childhood dreams into the present.

Mine aren't that easy. I wanted to be a race car driver, a photojournalist, and live in a tree house. The tree house has turned into my goal for once I hit 40. But once I realized how difficult it is to do anything in the arts, my photography days became limited to my iPhone's capabilities :/

a runners' life said...

It's nice to look back on something we once loved or love with a fresh perspective. Hope you enjoy it - it sounds like an interesting experience.

As for childhood dreams, I've wanted to write since I was 7 and take part in the Olympics when I was about 13. There's still hope for the writing, as for the Olympics, well I think I'll have to settle for enjoying the competition at local fun runs :)

Faith said...

I always wanted to be a writer and a dancer... I thought neither one would ever happen, but by some strange twist of fate, here I am doing both! During my incredibly awkward teenage years, I would never have even dreamed that I'd be able to do it.

One thing I haven't managed yet is musical theatre. I'd love to act and sing on stage, and the only thing holding me back from auditioning somewhere right this moment is time... somehow I need to find more hours in a day... ah, go figure.

I am, however, determined to pursue this at some point. I won't put it off forever, because if it's a dream, I need to do something about it!

Hope you enjoy the ushering!

Su said...

@Michelle: I grew up in Indianapolis, so I always kinda wanted to be a race car driver... but not enough to actually try it! My husband plans for us to eventually live in a tree house. :)

@Runner: Yay for the writing, but Bummer! I would have loved to cheer for you in the Olympics!

@Faith: I wish we could all scrounge up a couple of hours for you. That would be awesome! Or, let me say, will be awesome once you're able to do it. :)

J E Fritz said...

When I was little, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I took drawing classes even, but my skills just never progressed. So I ended up just sticking with the writing side of things, but sometimes...I wish I could make a picture of what's in my mind without using words. Sigh...

Su said...

Ah, drawing. There's something I know nothing about, unless you mean really unconvincing stick figures.

amanda said...

This post makes me happy :)

Su said...

I thought it might, since I was thinking of you when I wrote it! :)