Working on a production is like having a baby. You have to be really gutsy to decide to to decide to make one and the first few weeks are new and weird but exciting and fantastic. From there, everything happens really quickly. Every day is a first for something. Around a month in you start to feel nauseous quite often and your sleep begins to start suffering, but you’re still in it for the long haul and you’re happy about it. The last week before the final product appears, tech week for theatre, is excruciating. You could not be more ready for this phase to be over but you know that you will miss it when it’s over. When it finally does happen, you’re happy and sweaty and so freaking done.
So I suppose I’m 12 weeks deep in a pregnancy. As stage manager for the student production of Elephant’s Graveyard, I have found that there is always work to be done. Working on this show has tested my limits of capability and sanity. It has forced me to learn to become a more organized and thick-skinned person. There were so many times I thought I wanted to quit but then
I remembered why I am doing it. I love theatre for everything that it is. Even if it comes in the form of stress, I love feeling like I am putting my all into something I really care about. Knowing that my show, my baby, has the potential to touch people and change opinions makes the struggle worth it. But it takes a long time to grow the baby, nourish it, and clean all of the yuck gunk off of it when it’s out. But once all that is done, you have a clean, soft, miracle.
These feelings are precisely why I am frustrated. To care about something and work so hard just to have it shoved down the totem pole by administration priority is disheartening. The College administration has made it so abundantly clear that theatre, and the arts in general, are not prioritized. From being excluded from various campus memos to being denied necessary funds in place of athletic spending, the administration has made their stance clear.
Let’s look at the facts: In 2010, the natatorium and fieldhouse were added to the over $10 million Bear center. Bucksbaum’s only proscenium stage theatre, Roberts Theatre, was built in 1961 and remains acoustically insufficient for shows that the theatre department want to produce. The walls are made of cement which, if you know anything about music/physics/vibrations, does not jive well with acoustics. Meanwhile, who even knows how much money has gone to STEM and Noyce. This is not to say that all that money was not worth it, those buildings and resources are beautiful and they benefit many students. However, it should not be at the cost of the arts.
We dramatic students DEMAND JUSTICE! Fund our arts. They’re IMPORTANT. This doesn’t mean drop funding for athletics or the sciences, but at least give us our fair share. At the very least promote our events the same as everything else.