Tuesday, May 6, 2014

This and That

I love my job...most of the time.  Maybe a more accurate phrase would be, I love what I do.  Because I do.

Piano dress for the opera was last night, which is the first time we see all the costumes on stage, mostly with lights.  I sat in the dark theatre with the crafts technician watching rehearsal (we do an MST3K sort of thing during rehearsals and it's hilarious), and at one point she turned to me and said, "Sometimes, I can't believe this is my job."  And, I knew exactly what she meant.  And, sometimes, neither can I.  There is a certain thrill to what I do,  I love the process, although it can be inordinately frustrating at times.  But, the idea of starting with a sketch or rendering from a designer and moving through the process of talking with them, researching the period, patterning the gown, doing a mockup or toile, tweaking things here and there and then building it in the actual fabric down to seeing it onstage?  It's magical.  There's no other word for it.  And, I think knowing what goes into making the magic makes it even more magical, somehow.

So, sitting in that dark theatre, waiting for the principal ladies to come on stage in something I created is a lovely feeling, and when they come out and it WORKS?  Glorious. It's pure delight to see a performer use something I have made to get even further into their character.  When what I have done just enhances the performance.  And, let's be honest, I do love to make pretty things.  And opera is a good venue to get to make epic, gorgeous, over the top things.  I've got a lovely series of pictures to post one of these days, showing how the process happens.

As I sat there, watching these lovely things that my hands made, marveling that I get to do things like this, it occurred to me that I may not get to do it for a whole lot longer if my plans come to fruition.  And that, dear readers, is dreadfully difficult to come to grips with.  Not only am I contemplating leaving the only career I've ever had, I'm contemplating not having the kinds of moments I had last night at rehearsal, the kind of moments that I am blessed to have fairly regularly in this field.  I know that there will be moments in the new career that will have similar sorts of feelings, but...ugh.  Giving up the pretties, giving up making someone's vision come to life?  It's sad.  Those kinds of moments are why I do this.  And at the pathetic wage for which I do it.  These kinds of moments are why the arts are important, why what I do is important, because I know that my work is part of what will transport people away from themselves for a time.

We did Turandot previous to the opera we are doing now, and it was the first time I actually attended a show as an audience member since I started working there.  The show was epic and it sold out the entire run.  It was pure spectacle, and gorgeous spectacle at that.  The music is beautiful, the tenor was spectacular and the sets, costumes and lighting were grandiose and beautiful.  The best part of it, though, was watching how the audience was affected by it, how moved they were, and knowing I had a hand in it.  It's quite something, honestly, to give people that kind of experience.

Giving that up?  Ouch.  But, I have to remember my priorities.  Which are...my daughter.  It's very difficult to support a child on a theatre technician's salary.  Clearly, the money is not the reason I do it.  ;)

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