What Color is Your Parachute – Story 4

As suggested by my uncle, I picked up a copy of the award-winning novel What Color is Your Parachute to help figure out what it is exactly I want for my life. The book is recommending that I write a series of seven stories in order to identify some of my own personal qualities. While it doesn’t suggest posting the works publicly, I thought it would be a great opportunity to post more content to this blog. Enjoy 🙂

Story 4: 

Working for an arts organization in college was one of the best experiences I think anyone could ask for. It wasn’t necessarily taxing, but it was a job that exposed me to a wide variety to professional musicians while also working with kids (to some extent). One of my fondest memories while working for the organization was being stage manager for the big fundraising event where kids essentially put on a musical theatre production for a large audience. As stage manager, I essentially had to memorize every aspect of the production, from dancing, singing, lighting cues, costume changes, and everything in between.

After every rehearsal week, I was required to submit a report concerning what we had done, what still needed to be done, and any messages that needed to be said by any of the artistic team (which I was a member of). When it came to the production time, it was my favorite experience because I was, in lack of better words, mostly in change of the entire process. During tech week, the directors were at the hands of the lighting designer and myself so that we could create the perfect atmosphere for the show.

One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was in 2010 during the whole Swine Flu (H1N1) epidemic. The director famously shared with me that “I don’t want to know anything that happens bad, so you take care of all of that.” And I did. During one performance, in particular, we had kids dropping left and right vomiting (or needing to). I had to make sure that not only these kids were in proper hands, but that the show could go on. If there were any major stage issues, I had to get them sorted out on the fly because we couldn’t stall; the audience was waiting.

One of my notorious qualities was that I was always on time with every start of the show. If curtain went up at 7PM, it went up at 7PM. Often, the directors were notoriously late. To have an employee push them to start on time (for sake of audience and the fees we have to pay for any overtime) was not common.

There were also a few shows where I had to take an artistically creative role, such as one of our “staff routines.” One year, I played the role of William Barfe in our performance a piece from the 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee. It was an incredibly exciting role to play, though it took me away from my main role of stage manager for about 5 minutes.

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