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Monday, September 10, 2007

The Show Must Go On!

I do not have an easy time. It seems that no matter what I set out to do, it takes far more effort than the normal human being. Case in summer musical theatre camps. I decided to start my own because I couldn't get the Community Education that I teach for in the summer to give me more than one week this summer. They had too many theatre courses...and didn't want too many.

So, I thought to myself, "Why not do my own?" "How difficult can it be?"........was I kidding myself?

I started out by making up flyers, and getting them into the local newspapers. I got them as inserts into three communities, as I get more "bang for my buck" that way. The papers go out to 8000 households, so I felt confident... I also got them out in early June, as that would be when people were planning their summers, etc.

I found a space to rent in the building that my voice studio was in---very reasonable, but needed a lot of work----which my wonderful hubby, Bret, assured me would be no problem.
I sat back and waited to reap the rewards of my labors...waiting for those tons of e-mails and phone calls to come in...

The first few days after the inserts came out, I got about 3 or 4 phone calls a day and several e-mails---that was good and made me feel good. Everyone seemed to respond affirmatively and wanted extra information along with the registration form, so I was pleased...

I had made up a nice registration form, but realized that it was in a new word office document that a lot of computers couldn't open, so had people complaining about that------Strike One!

Then, as the day got nearer for the first camp and I was visiting my daughter in Utah, my husband called and informed me that the space that we had chosen would "not work" and required too much money to get it in working order. Now, remember that I have told all of the students that have signed up so far where it is being held and how to get there, etc.---it was even on the original flyer and registration form. "What?", I thought----"What do I do now?"----Strike Two!

So Bret assured me that he would find the perfect space that week, since the camp started the next Monday...and I stressed...

He ended up finding a great space in a mill building, top floor, big windows, and he moved all the stuff over there, and made up a stage and curtain area,-----it was a great location and a great price---even less than the latter one. We scrambled to get the costumes there and the makeup set up, etc. and in doing this, discovered that it was extremely hot and wait a minute, wasn't there supposed to be air conditioning? Well, it was promised, but it sure didn't work!
So, we bought a little A/C and put a huge fan in front of it and hoped for cool days...

No such luck... The class started and I was yelling my lungs out over the fan noise, but we perservered.... It was about 92 degrees that week, so you can imagine dancing and performing in that heat, but we perservered----- Strike Three!

Now, much to my dismay, after the first day, my husband got a call from the landlord saying that we had to move, as we were disturbing the business next to us with our "noise"---excuse me? mean our singing and music wasn't appreciated---not to mention the fact that I was talking so loud because of the fan----BECAUSE THERE WAS NO AIR CONDITIONING!!

So, he let us ride out the week and we would look for something else for the next one---- Strike Four!

So, on the second to the last day of this camp, a man appears through the door wanting to talk to me----I said that I didn't have much time, as I write these shows so that every minute of the day is utilized in learning the show to be performed on the last day, and we had a lot of rehearsing still to do. (trust me, it ain't easy to put on a full show in 15 hours!)

He informed me that it was too bad because he was evacuating the building because of a chemical spill and that we had five minutes to leave. "What?" I thought, "No way!"-----Strike Five!

So, we sat outside in the parking lot as they told us that we had to "leave" the premises and could not come back that day or maybe for the rest of the week... Meanwhile my brain is scrambling as to where I can go and what am I going to do and how the parents are going to freak out and not all of them can come get their kids, and now I am going to have to give back the money and all with no show,....and on and on.... know the phrase!!
The show must go on!!

So, I called my Bishop to see if we could go to the church which was right down the street, (luckily) and couldn't get a hold of him, but realized that I still had the key and made an executive decision---we were going there to finish practicing the show and I would ask forgiveness later! We called all the parents and they all agreed to pick them up there... Then, I told them all that we would just have class there the next day, as I didn't know if we would be able to get into the mill building again. But, then again----what do I do about costumes? What do I do about the makeup? We couldn't even go in to get the things!

Long story short----they lifted the "no enter" ban late that night and we moved all the stuff to the church for the show the next day....

Flash forward to the week before the next camp----we looked at the only other space that the landlord had in the mill building. It was a machinist type shop that smelled of grease with concrete floors, low ceilings and general depression. "Great!" I thought, "What do I do now?"-----Strike Six!

Bret assured me that he could make it work, as I was traveling out of town every weekend for gigs, so I didn't have the time to do the work on it. Well, I actually helped him clean it up, went to Home Depot and bought some linoleum for a "stage" area and he once again worked his magic to make the area look great with curtains and the costumes backstage...

Well, I finished out the last two classes in that scary depressing place (the door was even under a staircase and behind a huge trash bin---so sad) and it ended up working quite well. I bought two Plug Ins to mask the smell, Bret did an amazing job on the curtains and stage area, we set up the sound and hair and makeup areas, tried to sweep the broken glass and cigarette butts away in front of the door, remembered to shut the door when the guys working next door took their smoking break right outside our door, enjoyed the fact that it was very dark down there, so it was good for a theatre, and just put our "happy" faces on.

No one complained. I still lost my voice because I had to have the fan on all the time, and am now wondering if I have vocal nodes as I am still hoarse, but all in all, it was an OK profit....

I am just trying to figure out where to have it next summer...I'm starting now, just so I'm prepared...
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