2012 Occasional Posts · Significant Stuff

Beautiful: Rant and Resources

Frustration = $13M for Scott Walker’s efforts to fight his recall + Shakespeare in the Park struggles to pay our cast and crew.

We make it because individual humans like Kris, Dan, Ruth, Pam, Heather, Konrad, Jean, Barbara, Chris, Char, Edie and about 100 others gift us with whatever they can spare. Without the willingness to take a chance on us that Alverno, Max, Nancy, Linda, David, Jim, Donna, Teresa and Bob have decided to make, this would not happen. We persevere because of the love of the people of Milwaukee and environs, because of the supportive kindness of our local theatre community and because of your good will.

I confess, I’m feeling it especially right now because I’m crunching the budget. It’s hard to see in black and white that we can’t afford to pay our cast and crew enough to justify the time commitment to create SITP. If it weren’t for their willingness to pitch in, we wouldn’t make it. Too many professionals at the top of their game are volunteering their time. It’s not right. And, the fallout is happening.  People have to put the day jobs that pay the bills first and we ain’t it.  I honestly understand.

I don’t want anyone who’s pitched in financially and with their blood, sweat and tears to feel it’s not going to make it.  To ask themselves why they did it.  We will make it this year.  Every corner will be cut and every single dollar will be spent and we will make it.

My optimism is taking a hit today. I know it’s bad form to confess that but there you go. I’m asking forgiveness and patience. Thank you for your help. I’m not asking for more from you, my friends. You give and give and I’m so grateful.

Arts cuts are bringing me down. Yes, I’m preaching to the choir. I know you’re all feeling it – either directly or spiritually. I’ll say it – it hurts. It hurts personally. Hey, who wants to struggle for their dreams every single day? Who wants to re-invent themselves every day? Who wants to crunch and crunch and crunch?  I know so many of you are doing that very thing every day too.  Yeah, daily re-focus seems like a great way to approach life but I confess, it’s tiring sometimes.  I have a really tough and demanding boss and she just won’t take less.

I also have the help of an intern, Jean, Jim, Tom, ML, Char, Edie, Holly, Ruth, Rachael, Lisa, Este and a host of other skilled folks who are happy to pitch in to help on projects like stuffing envelopes, writing program copy, cutting and pasting addresses, and even fundraising brainstorming.  And asking their friends for money.  How long and how much can you ask from these fine people?  I know they actually are happy to help.  Sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed that it’s hard to cut through the noise and figure out what they can do for us.  For me.

I’m staring at the notes on our reservation system and our audience check-in system.  Seems simple, right?  This is the most complex thing you can imagine.  It’s complex because it matters.  We are trying so hard to create wonderful theatre but people need to be able to get to it.  It’s also complex because it’s human powered because we can’t afford to use any other system.  Even the so-called free ticketing options actually do cost $.  I’ve read the fine print.

PLEASE do not take this as an oblique, passive-aggressive call for help.  I needed to state the state of things in my head and on my desk.  I don’t need rescuing.  Thank you for your kind instincts.  And, if you didn’t actually have kind instincts after reading this very long post, then … fine!  (heartless bastards…)

I’m really grateful that Ron’s on the road and Rachael’s at work right now so I can sit at my desk and rant without bringing down the people sitting next to me. They feel it just as much as I do – as does Tom, ML, Jim, TJ, Amanda, Jean and everyone who helps run this company. Grateful for family.  People like you.

So, here are my resources in all this:

  • Ranting helps clear the cobwebs in my soul.  I can get on with the task at hand.
  • I believe in honesty and also believe that withholding is not honest.  I get to practice a core truth.
  • It’s better for my marriage not to dump on my partner.  Not that it’s better to dump on you but, believe me, it’s hard for 2 such driven people to also work together and manage a loving relationship.  It takes care and consideration.
  • I have a renewed focus on what counts – you.
  • Gratitude is high on my list today.  It’s much more effective than wallowing in self-pity.
  • I am going to give myself the luxury of focusing on one big, big thing today and ignore the receipts, forms, letters, etc in my in box.  They’ll be there tomorrow.  Perhaps today I will flow chart a lovely, inspired, human, caring, streamlined process.
  • I’m reminded of the wisdom of Jacque’s perspective:  “My job as an actress is to audition.  If I get cast, I consider it a paid vacation.”  My job as a producer to to figure out how to get things done.  If I get to greet and chat with a happy audience, it’s a vacation.
  • Confession clears the fugue that keeps me from connecting.  That and coffee with chocolate-peppermint creamer.
  • A good rant clears the way to taking care of myself so that I can take care of business.  It’s much better than eating myself into numb oblivion.  Mind you, I’m still not putting down the coffee cup.
  • My sense of humor is restored.

Thank you for bearing witness.  It has helped.




One thought on “Beautiful: Rant and Resources

  1. I understand. What I wouldn’t give for 1% of that budget…but, then I suppose, I’d be selling my soul. And, that’s already in hock.


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