No Carry-On Baggage
We all have situations in our lives that take priority. They can take our focus, and rob us of being present and available to those around us. Performers are often given the task of drawing upon their own experiences when delving into a new character or situation on stage. If we are not careful, the drama in our lives can take us away from the drama on stage.
No Carry-on baggage please. Leave it at the door. Let it go. It is a fallacy to think that we are the only one with drama in our lives. It is equally false that someone else’s personal drama is so paramount that it should bleed into a rehearsal or performance. We’ve all been there. And this is not mean to be cold or unfeeling. It’s a hard thing to do to let the things in our lives, that are on our minds daily, not go into our work.
It’s a fine line. And as much as we can say the personal baggage should not enter the work place, the rehearsal or dance studio, it will. The real question is how do we deal with it. So often we are there for each other through illness and hardship. The theatre community is the most resilient when it comes to supporting each other. And we are also a community that thrives on drama, on and off the stage.
What is appropriate drama? I’ve been in rooms with other creative types who are dealing with a world of drama. And it is human nature to want to know what is going on, to be a part of each other’s lives. But the best people in these situations are able to acknowledge their situation and move on to the work. It is the people who use their situation as a crutch, or a hindrance to the rest of the process that is not helpful.
You may have heard the expression: leave your ego at the door. Or in this case, leave your baggage at the door. I had an experience recently with an artist where business needed to be taken care of, but the time was spent on personal matters that did not concern the project or me. And there is only so much one can do, listening to tales of woe. I am supportive with the best of them, but how much must one endure before they are sucked into someone else’s world of crazy?
This business of show has many pitfalls. One in particular is the amount of craziness we all encounter, and the legitimate problems of colleagues. And it’s hard to tell the difference at times. We are constantly faced with a lack of work, lack of housing, lack of money. Many of us have family troubles, relationship troubles, and creative disagreements.
And yet we must check the baggage at the door and fly solo. If we were all allowed every piece of baggage and every piece of personal property on to the plane, we’d never take off. If each cast member in a musical were allowed to air each and every concern, worry and woe to the cast in rehearsal, work would not get done. Travel light, and keep flying.