Every show presented more technical challenges. How to get the pleats to lay flat? How to secure the boots that were too loose? How to ensure that a girl's top stays in place? All these little details that I had never thought of before. I mean, who thinks of these things? Well, now I think about these things. But that wasn't the biggest challenge.
You see, I didn't grow up as a performer. I did a couple of plays in high school. Small shows and I had very small parts, which was fine by me. Now, suddenly I was involved in these huge productions with elaborate and expensive costumes. Hundreds of pieces to keep track of and repair and replace. It all seemed pretty straightforward and each show started out that way. Alas, it never went as easily as I planned. Things were torn, or misplaced. There were last minute casting changes that led to last minute alterations.
Early on, one show went especially wrong. I hadn't thought about that evening in a long time and then I read Maisey's post and it all came back to me in sharp detail. It was one crisis after another all night long. I literally didn't sit down before my name was called again by panicked dancers - Torn pointe shoe ribbons, tights with holes, makeup stains, ripped tulle, lost headpieces, tears and stains, glue and thread and needle. Finally at the end of the night, the star was back on stage - neatly sewn into his costume with the broken zipper - and I turned to some of the veteran performers. They were celebrating our success in getting everyone back out on stage on time. The audience had no clue how frenzied we were back stage. My hands shaking with an excess of adrenaline, I couldn't see anything to celebrate. "Tell me it isn't always like this," I said, half-joking. I wanted some reassurance that some day I wouldn't have to do this, some day in the not too distant future I would get it right.
They assured me that it was indeed always like that, and if you were very prepared and very lucky, the audience never knew. It was one of those moments when the world shifts around, like a kaleidoscope, and suddenly you see a different pattern.
I wasn't supposed to get it right every time. It wasn't supposed to be done. I wasn't supposed to be done. Being accomplished didn't mean being finished. I carried that thought with me out of the theater that night and it quite changed the way I thought about my life.
I'm not perfectly organized or getting everything right. Every single day is an adventure. I'm making it up as I go along.