I Quit the Play and Other Stuff I Did Today

[Hey, that rhymes!]

I hate directing. It is sooo not my calling, but I sort of feel compelled to do it, because I'm the only theater teacher in the school. The administration doesn't make me do it, but the kids want it, so I do it.

And then I wind up getting frustrated, because I feel like I wind up doing a LOT of work just trying to motivate people to learn lines and blocking and show up for rehearsal, not to mention all the stuff with scenery and props and lighting, etc. Plus, I have to show up for every rehearsal, even if one or two of the kids don't, and that is a lot of time out of my week that I could be spending taking a nap.

After yet another disappointing rehearsal (when I put the rehearsal schedule together, I also included dates on which I wanted scenes to be memorized), I'd pretty much had it. At the conference this weekend, I talked to a guy who teaches directing at a college, and he said that if I make a threat, I should be prepared to back it up with action. He said, "If you say you're pulling the play, then pull the play."

So I quit.

At rehearsal today, I walked in to see my actors doing--as usual--nothing, and I got so ticked off, I can't even tell you. Here is a paraphrase of my speech:

"I am about sick of this play, and I am this close to calling this thing off. I'm not required to do it; I'm here out of the kindness of my heart, which as you know is running on short supply as it is. Furthermore, I'm not getting paid for this, so I have no motivation to be here. I won't get fired if I quit, and I won't feel any guilt either, because I frankly will not be even a little bit sorry if this play goes down in flames.

"It's YOUR job to make me want to be here, to let me know that something good is going to happen. This play is on YOU, not me, because my name's not in the program and I'm not onstage. I'VE done my part, and I'm meeting expectations, and I'm on task and on schedule, but that doesn't matter because YOU AREN'T.

"I'm leaving to go do some work. I'll be back at 3:30. In the meantime, you discuss amongst yourselves what YOU want to do about this play. If you aren't going to be committed to it, and if you are just planning to come in here every week and waste my valuable time, then tell me NOW so I can go home. Otherwise, you need to get your butts in gear and come up with some kind of plan that I will agree with, because I'M DONE."

And I left.

I went down to the workroom and rewarded myself with--essentially--an extra planning period, wherein I got SO MUCH done (much more than I would have if I'd had to sit and listen to people struggle through lines they should have had memorized BEFORE CHRISTMAS). And when I came back, they presented a plan to me.

One of the understudies wants to direct; she loves directing and has experience to boot. She offered to be a co-director, so I can take care of the big picture and she can take care of the details.

My only questions to the actors: "Are you willing to listen to a student director, or are we gonna have problems here?"

They reassured me that they were willing to go along with this solution, though I made it clear that I could still pull my sponsorship at any time, because I despise mediocrity and I have very high expectations which, so far, they have not even TRIED to meet.

"Oh, we'll change, Ms. Flower! We're going to do everything right from now on!" And though I have my doubts, I gave them a trial period, because I do think they CAN do it, but only when someone stands over them with a (metaphorical) gun to their heads. I am not that person, but I think my new Student Director? Is kind of a Nazi. So I bet they do get their butts in gear.

In the meantime, I have promoted myself to Executive Producer, and THANK GOD I do not have to freaking direct anymore!

In other news, I sent four kids to the office today because they did not respond to repeated warnings to BE QUIET AND WORK. I think they will do that from now on, though.

I knit almost one entire scarf while watching Oprah, Martha, CSI, Earl, and The Office (I am working on cleaning out the Tivo). I think it will be finished tomorrow, and then I have my knitting class on Saturday, which I am super-excited to go to.

I found out today that my church's Easter musical will be presented the same weekend as the school play, so now I can excuse myself from those rehearsals without feeling any guilt. My brother-in-law is going to be the drama director this year, and he asked me to help, but now I don't have to, and that is AWESOME. Because I didn't want to anyway.

I have been tired and running myself ragged all week, and I'm trying to find something on the internet that says I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but mostly they just say I should get more sleep. Stupid websites; they don't know me!

I just drank some milk and took a sleeping pill, because I wanted to get to bed (relatively) early tonigzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........

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