Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why Do These People Look So Tired?

Posted by Bruce Miller

Well, all right. Scotty, Debra and Joe don’t look so tired. It’s just me.

In the old days, the Barksdale tradition for tech Sundays was for Muriel to make a huge pot of her spaghetti (with green olives, of course) to serve to the cast and crew between the afternoon and evening rehearsals.

Even though we finally arrived at a respectable recreation of Muriel’s beloved meat sauce (minus the cigarette ash that she always claimed to be the secret ingredient), we gave up trying to make the sauce itself in 2002. After two years of cooking at home and hauling the spaghetti fixins to the theatre in giant tubs, we decided enough was enough. If you want to re-experience Muriel’s magnificent abbondanza, you will find the recipe in Erin Thomas’s upcoming theatre cookbook.

Since 2002, we have made our lives easier. We now walk across the Willow Lawn parking lot and enjoy our delicious and moderately priced tech dinner at The Crazy Greek, where the flaming saganaki has become as legendary as Muriel’s spaghetti—well, almost. Our kindly restaurateur friends push several tables together and we all have a grand old time.

The photo shown above and to the right was taken just before the tech dinner for Moonlight and Magnolias. We are standing in front of The Crazy Greek and across the street from El Toro Loco at the Intersection of Insane Eateries. Debra and I are the interlopers. We heard “free meal” and we were there, rushing over from the Tavern after our Sunday matinee of Swingtime Canteen, which opened last week.

To confess, the rushing and the late hours have finally gotten the best of me. After several 100+ hour work weeks in a row, I’ve finally lost it.

Yesterday, I started the day with staff meeting at 9:15, then planned some improvements to the Swingtime sound system, then went to the JCC to seek their guidance on the proper Hanukkah display for the Barksdale lobby, and then sought out and purchased the appropriate electric Menorah (we can’t have lit candles) and other Judaica that we had decided upon. Do you know how hard it is to find a blue tablecloth in Richmond?

I met with Jackie Gann about how to best credit Gino’s Italian Restaurant as our “Doughnut Sponsor” for Swingtime. I checked in on Judi Crenshaw and John Wiley as they set up the amazing Gone with the Wind gallery exhibit in the Barksdale lobby. I received a fund development update from Phil, who had just completed a very successful day raising money. I planned my next moves on two major fee-for-service grant programs that we have in development.

At 4:30, we began a Theatre IV Board meeting (with record attendance, I’m proud to say) and I left the theatre at 6:30 feeling like I’d put in a full day’s work. I made it home by 6:45, and immediately left with Terrie to go to my son’s orchestra concert—he had a solo on the double bass.

Just as we were sitting down at 7 and the curtain was rising, Terrie’s cell phone rang. Mine was on the fritz. It was Ginnie Willard, reminding me that I was supposed to be, at that very moment, directing auditions for The Little Dog Laughed from 7 until 10. So out of the middle school auditorium I ran, and made it back to the Empire by 7:30, where I apologized profusely to the waiting auditionees.

Thankfully, Corey Davis and Jason Campbell had filled in ably in my stead.

How can you really explain being brain dead because you’ve just come out of four weeks of working 15/7 directing Swingtime Canteen while trying to juggle a hundred other responsibilities. You can't. It comes off as whining. Shoot, I’m whining now.

So, why do I look so tired in the photo? And why did I forget about my own auditions—which is about as stupid as you can get? Who knows? To quote my least favorite thing that is said to me with regularity when folks find out I’m employed by a theatre: “It must be nice not to have to work for a living.”

--Bruce Miller


Anonymous said...

Good thing you forgot to turn off the cell phone at the performance! Otherwise Ginnie would never have gotten in touch with you! ;-)

pnlkotula said...

I got a sneek peek at John's (I get to call him that now) exhibit today. It was so thrilling! I am a longtime GWTW fan, and I was just in awe. I used to call myself a HUGE fan until I met John today. He is so gracious and kind, and that's all I'll say, because I'm writing a story for the Marquee! How fortunate that he would share his collection with the theatre.

Bruce Miller said...

Actually, the lights were going down and Terrie was opening her cell phone to turn it off when the first call came in from our daughter Hannah. She caught us by about three seconds. We stepped into the hall to talk with her, and she mentioned that someone from the theatre was trying to reach me, which is when I figured out where I was supposed to be. Then Ginnie Willard got through, and out the door I went.