"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's ALL New To Us

I ran across this article called "6 New Elements of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2014" and figured it would be a good start on planning what to see and do.

1. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade gets new characters including Frozen favorites

 What the what?!?!?!?!?!?!?! FROZEN stuff at Disney World? Who'd a thunk it? I was getting really annoyed at all the Frozen branding and tie-ins going on, but knowing Disney would full to overflowing with Frozen-alia I decided to watch the movie again this past weekend to remind myself why I liked it in the first place. It worked. I'm not saying the sarcasm will stop, but I'm not really going to be annoyed by the Frozen-ness on this trip because I kinda think Anna is pretty awesome and that the story speaks to the human spirit in an important way and that "Reindeers Are Better Than People" will wind up being one of the enduring anthems of our time. I'm not even hating Olaf anymore.

 So bring on Frozen in the parade. We LOVE a parade. Parades are like the circus, one of the classic things that make humans human. I'm bummed we're going to miss out on Festival of Fantasy, but a new parade is a new parade, right? 


2. Brand new dance parties debut in Tomorrowland and Frontierland

We are definitely checking these out. Big Al has always one of my favorite characters and I hear tell he's in the Frontierland Dance Party in the Diamond Horseshoe Revue. I'm not sure John's ever been inside this building, so there a draw as well. And Lisa wants to meet Clarabelle, and who can blame her? We love Cosmic Ray's, host to the Tomorrowland Dance Party, so we'll stop by to see wha they've done with the place. And since Phineas and Ferb will be there, I'm holding out hope for a Dr. Doof sighting. A boy can dream, right?



3. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom gets Frozen

We enjoyed this game on our last trip and I'm a geek for collectible stuff like these trading cards. So we may not play the game during our limited time in the Magic Kingdom, but we'll certainly score a few sets of cards, and bring back the Frozen special card for Max, our little Disney buddy back home. 

--see? I didn't say a WORD about it being another.......... 

4. A Frozen Holiday Wish gets two showings

Really can't complain about this.  I mean, you had a show where a castle was seemingly turned to ice via lighting effects, then you produce a movie featuring a girl who builds magic ice castles...... Disney really had no choice here, and shouldn't have. This will be brilliant, I suspect. We may have to catch both showings  :)



5.  New merchandise options

Love me some merchandise! I have an eye on those ugly Christmas sweater t-shirts....... I don't know if they are among the "new", but I might need one. And the new Momento Mori shop full of Haunted Mansion stuff? Really Disney? Not sure if it'll remind me I have to die, or make me think I did and ended up in Disney Geek heaven.



6. New “Sandy Claws” meet and greet

 Yeah, so I WOULD all of a sudden find the need to participate in the whole character hounding thing just because I want see the guy with likely the longest line of the night. I don't know if I'll get to meet Sandy Claws, I'm going to try late and see what happens, but we are planning to visit with a few other characters during the party.


And then of course there's all the old new stuff we need to see--- Jingle Cruise, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, the special fireworks show. We hope to do and see it all of course. 

Any advice from those who've been before? What have I not mentioned that I NEED to see?



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hey! We're going to DISNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This blog started out as a Disney Blog. Yeah, another one, sue me. I added the caveats that it would also be about "life" and "fatherhood", two pretty broad topics, because I didn't want to be another of THOSE Disney blogs, regurgitating endless Top 5 lists and advice on all the dining options still available to the tens of people allergic to kumquats. I tried writing for one of them and it didn't go well. Lately, though, the "life" subject has been pretty much sucked up by theatre talk, and while I love my work with the theatre, I'M GOING TO BE IN DISNEY IN 12 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I am bringing this baby back to Disney talk for a while.

We are taking a long weekend to celebrate the lovely Lisa's birthday, experience Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time, visit Epcot and generally get a Disney fix while we save for another week-long trip in God knows how many months/years. We are lucky to live an easy day's drive from Disney World, so we like to run down and back for these commando raids of vacations. This time we're picking the boy up from school as soon as he has his State of North Carolina Approved Full-Day Time completed, about lunchtime, and driving straight down to Kissimmee. We'll likely arrive about 9 or 10 pm and check into a cheap-o motel for the night. Then Friday we head into Disney World, drop our stuff at the Port Orleans French Quarter and immerse ourselves in the magic.

We have tickets to the MVMCP Friday night and can enter the parks at 4 pm (see, I'm not writing a whole blog about that "tip" so I'm not too cheesy) so we'll have a good part of the day to just knock around the property. We might head to Downtown Disney early to try the hot air balloon thing, Characters In Flight I think its called, because I read it's half price early. We love DTD and especially The Earl of Sandwiche, so I'm expecting that'll be lunch. We may cruise some resorts to see if any decorations are up yet. We've never even been to The Wilderness Lodge, so I'd like to see that, and I don't believe we've been in the lobby of the Grand Floridian either, so that may be another stop. I'm not applying my Obsessive Disney Planning to this portion of the visit. Yet. We'll see.....

Then it's off to the MVMCP, something we are really looking forward to. I've got an article telling me about all the new things to do (which I will write about soon), but it'll all be new to us, so we are pretty fluid in our planning. We'd like to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and check out the rest of New Fantasyland, so that will likely be our first stop in the park. Once the party starts, we (I) have a plan to see and do all the coolest stuff with the least hassle. Lisa and I also developed an urge to get our photos with characters as of, well, yesterday. We've not been big Meet-n-Greet people, but this time I'm intrigued by Sandy Claws and Lisa by Minnie's Christmas dress, and both of us by Mary Poppins and her penguins. I'm studying strategy on the awesome Kenny The Pirate site (another upcoming post), so I have high hopes for our first attempt at character hounding.

After a few hours sleep, it's off to Epcot for Princess Breakfast at Akershus Dining Hall. We'll try out this new Fastpass + thing and end our day at Beaches and Cream indulging in the Kitchen Sink. I'll blog about our dining choices and the hows and whys as well, because I'm sure you're all DYING to know, right?

Sunday, we hit DTD again on our way out and it's back up 95 toward home.Then I'll be able to blog about all the stuff we saw and did and experienced rather than my plans for same. There will be a good, healthy dose of Disney back on Pooh Sticks. Of course I'm going to be portraying Mr. Fezziwig a week after we return, so the theatre talk isn't over either, but Disney will reclaim the piece of my head and heart it deserves.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I'm leaving this week looking at myself differently than I did entering it.

I've enjoyed my involvement with theatre in large part because it's allowed me the opportunity to work with and observe some great creative talents making magic. I talk about that a lot on here because it fascinates me, it's something I never could do (the performance/creative stuff) and I like being around those who can and getting a front seat or even behind the scenes view of the creative process. I've seen myself as audience, in a sense, observer maybe is a better word, even of shows during which I'm backstage working. I like being near people I admire and this year has given me a chance to do a lot of that and expanded the universe of artists and directors and actors and choreographers that I get to observe.

But Monday a silly little Facebook post started a week in which I came to understand that I'm not audience anymore. My friend Jen listed all the projects her "friends in the performing arts community" are working on in the coming weeks. It was a wonderful list, really, and she tagged the people responsible for all the happenings in her post -- directors, musical directors, artistic directors.......and me. And surprised myself because I didn't see that inclusion as odd. I had begun to feel like I belonged in that "performing arts community".

I'm not a director of any one show, and am not really an Artistic Director in the sense that other theater companies use the term. Usually that is a paid position for the person responsible for the day to day, week to week operations of the theater. But this year, as Brunswick Little Theatre has moved into a place of its own and we've had to make that work and fill the space, I've come really close to filling that role in all practical terms. One of the new friends I've made recently is Steve Vernon, Artistic Director of Big Dawg Productions, the group putting on The Hermit of Fort Fisher in our space right now. He's the first friend I've made solely because of our common ground in theater, and it's made me realize I have my own real estate there, in that artistic world. We spent an hour before the opening show of Hermit talking shop. Sure, he is way more experienced than I and we both understand that, but we spoke as equals in the sense that we are both doing the same job essentially and he respects the way I've handled my challenges as much as I respect the work he's doing with his own organization. A year ago, Hell, two weeks ago, I would have entered that conversation as a pure learning opportunity, a chance to hang out with "those creative-types". But Friday night I WAS one of those people, one of a community of very different personalities all joined by a desire to bring the arts to others.

I've finally accepted that that's now a part of who I am. I organize. I facilitate. I make things happen. But that IS "arts". In a simple example, I figured out how to add enough chairs to fit 106 patrons into our theatre space while preserving a center aisle that the director wanted to use as a part of the show's blocking. In a more extensive example I oversaw the transformation of an abandoned church and school into a performing arts complex. That property will see auditions for a youth musical and rehearsals for an all-ages cast Christmas show and a children's theatre workshop and host over 100 souls attending a play.......TODAY. In Southport. In Brunswick County. And while it took the efforts of a lot more than just myself to make this happen, I am very proud of my own role. No theater in Wilmington is doing more. We, we in the Brunswick Little Theatre, are contributing as much as any group in the area to making the arts available to our community. And if the sell-out crowds are any indication, the community appreciates it.

While I got great joy out of being able to see up close and personal others making magic, I finally feel like I can say "Ta-Da" myself.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Plans Gone Awry.....WIN!!!!!

Yesterday Lisa and I planned to drive to Loris, South Carolina to watch John in his final marching band competition. The weather was iffy, well, more like definitely crappy with rain pouring down at regular intervals, but in the past the schools had moved the show into a gymnasium in bad weather, so we thought nothing of it.

We've developed a little tradition while traveling to John's band competitions. Lisa and I like road trips, and these things tend to bring us to places we've not been before. We drop John off at his school early in the morning so he can practice and ride the band bus to where ever. His group usually performs in the late afternoon, so we have plenty of time to amuse ourselves during the day. We've gotten in the habit of leaving home early enough to explore the area hosting the competition a bit, and we try to find some local, interesting place for lunch. One of our favorite finds last year was in Conway, South Carolina on our way to Loris. We planned yesterday to revisit this little cafe, Crady's.

All was going just according to plan, we were sitting at a nice window seat in Crady's looking at the really cool community theatre building across the street when I got a call from John telling us the competition was canceled and the band was heading to Planet Fun instead. So we ended up driving quite a ways for lunch (which was GREAT, by the way), but we still had until early evening before we needed to retrieve the boy. No problem, we thought, we'll just drive around and check out Conway then head home and cuddle up under a blanket until John was done.

While we were there, though, we decided to go across the street and look a little more closely at this theatre, The Theatre of the Republic. We'd seen it the year before as well when it was running The 39 Steps a week after our own closed. This time Young Frankenstein was the feature. While we were looking in the windows the door popped open and a nice lady invited us in to look around. We said, sure, we'd love to see the inside and went on in.

Well, before you know it, this little old man came up, Lisa tells him I'm the president of Brunswick Little Theatre in Brunswick County, and he says he'd love to show us around. I was hoping to see the seating area, which we did, but then he proceeded to walk us up on stage, through a sliding hidden door in the back and proceeded to show us the whole building. It was great, the place is the Tardis of theaters, it's about 12 times the size inside as it is outside. I was blown away, I have theater envy, bad. Our friend Jen took us backstage at Thalian Hall a few weeks ago, and that was impressive, but this little 325-seater has MORE space backstage than that! They have a huge scenic workshop, a big kitchen/hang-out room, make-up rooms, costume storage and workshops, dressing rooms with showers (separate from the make-up rooms) and prop storage everywhere. They've been in this facility a while, so it's like a museum of all their past shows. Lisa was dying for a camera.

The fireplace opens up. It's cool.
In talking to our tour guide, we find the Theatre of the Republic is celebrating 45 years next year, and HE was on the original board! Kind of explains why no one questioned the two strangers wandering through the back stage area 45 minutes before curtain. He was a little, as Lisa said, light on the facts. "When did you move in here?" "Oh, a while ago." "How'd you come into this place?" "Oh, it just opened up." But he was a great tour guide anyhow and showed us everything we could have asked to see and more. Including two racks containing probably at least 80 tuxedos that had just been donated. Why doesn't that happen to US?!?!?

On our way out, we were deposited in front of the ticket booth to sign up for the email list. The FABULOUS guy manning the ticket booth was in the middle of a rant about the huge pain in the ass that is cast and crew comp tickets. The audience for this rant was a woman who, I discovered to my great delight, was wearing a "Frau Stage Manager" shirt. We bonded. We got on the email list. We made plans to invite friends back to see Gypsy this summer. We left a bit exhausted and with heads a-spin just as the audience was beginning to arrive. I love the theater community.

We headed home and realized that our change in plans meant we could go to the first meeting/rehearsal for Brunswick Little Theatre's Fezziwig's Ball and Murder Mystery (tickets on sale now!). We went to our own little theatre, we danced, we discussed costumes, we got assigned characters (I'm Mr. Fezz himself and very pleased about that; Lisa is Mrs. Cratchet), we discussed how to fit all that we do into our space that seemed so huge just a little while ago, and we left smiling and happy and looking forward to the future.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Opening Night

Well, it happened.

That wasn't completely guaranteed at all, a fact that kept me up nights for the last couple months. Oh, I put on a brave face, I played my role as fearless leader telling everyone not to worry, that the show WOULD go on. I sold tickets with only the vaguest notion of how I'd refund them if disaster befell us. Most of all, I simply did something very hard for me and completely, willfully buried my self-doubt. Call it the power of positive thinking if you will, but I convinced myself that somehow I'd stop anything or anyone that tried to prevent us from opening this past Friday night.

We did it. After a lot of work by really a very few people, we did it. Lisa and I went to the first show in front of a (pretty much sell-out) paying audience. I saw it happen, saw the patrons arriving and picking up tickets and entering the theatre. We saw them enjoy the really comfy seats, saw them enjoying the company of friends and then enjoying the show and leaving happy. It should have felt......triumphant maybe? I mean, it was a long road, a bit of a fight actually, and I'd been building this night up as a sort of final battle, a chance to walk away with a win or a lose. But it wasn't. It was totally anti-climatic. I didn't walk out happy about all we've done, I left worried sick, still, about all we have left to do.

I've written before about all that needed to be done. It's not over in the way I expected it to be. Not by a long shot. I'm still going to be losing sleep over contractors and their bizarre sense of time and space, inspectors that may or may not come visit, permissions we may or may not need or have and another show coming up in just 14 days (and we still have another weekend of this one to get through).

 Now to be honest there are a lot of positives to list right now. The work paid off. They came and left happy. I've heard noting but praise for the venue from patrons. They love the seats, the lobby, even the parking. They were able to hear and see from all their seats. They were able, except a couple of ladies whose GPS led them to the ILA Hall up the road, to find us with no problems. Those with, ahem, mobility issues, were able to use the handicapped ramp easily. Our lobby easily held the crowd until the house opened. It's a GREAT place to see a show, much better than anywhere we've been outside of the main theater at Odell Williamson Auditorium. It's safe and comfortable, which a lot of our past venues were not. So hooray us.

The problems come from the performance side and the matter of permitting and inspections. I'm just confused by the whole permitting process, so I'll leave that aside. But the performance issues have me a bit worried.

In two weeks the Hermit of Fort Fisher opens and we need to have our lovely Southern beauty parlor turned into a cement bunker on a sandy spit of land at the southern tip of Pleasure Island. I've seen both the real bunker in question and the set used by the company putting this show on in their own space, so I know it can be done. However, I don't know how. I have a meeting with the Hermit director hours before we are scheduled to strike the Steel Magnolias set to determine what needs to go, what needs to stay and what pieces of the set can be left hanging around to await transformation into the beach and bunker. I'm hoping to have our Techincal Director at this meeting to start discussing tech needs for the Hermit show, because there are some and I'm not sure how they will be met. Are you sensing the pattern here? I know enough to know what needs to be done, but not enough to figure out how to do it. It's frustrating the Hell out of me. One condition of our lease of this theater to the Hermit people was a stage exit out of sight of the audience. This meshed nicely with the ADA requirement for a handicapped egress from the stage and will take the form of a ramp outside the building. I'm stressing out having this thing done in time, as it was promised to both the government and the leasees. So I've been stopping by the property every afternoon to ride herd on the contractors, who, in a very troubling way, remind me very much of Larry, Daryl and Daryl from The Newhart Show. I lose sleep over this.
Here's what the REAL bunker looks like. I imagine there was less graffiti in the Hermit's time

Then, less than two weeks after the last Hermit show, we have an event that may utilize the entire property at once. Our annual Fezziwig Ball has turned into a Fezziwig's Ball and Murder Mystery The ball and mystery part will take place in the same theater as the two shows have, but without the chairs present. I'm not sure where to put 100 chairs, especially as I'm not 100% sure how we'll be using the rest of the property. Our original plan, and the one we've been promoting, calls for a Children's Victorian Christmas Party in one of our two classroom buildings and a Victorian Food Court in the outside area between the main theater and the classrooms. It all sounded great when we planned it, and I really would still LOVE to see it come off as planned, but it's going to be an adventure. The chairs can go, for temporary, any of several places, that's not too big a problem. It will just depend on what space we use for children's stuff. But one thing I wasn't counting on was the transformation of the kitchen I suspect was supposed to play some role in the food prep situation into a lighting/technical workshop. Cooking anything more complicated than boiled water in there right now would be impossible. I saw all this work and thought how great it was our Frank the Tech Guru had found room to play until it dawned on my how close the Fezz Situation was. Now, again, this isn't a solution-less problem, it's actually a pretty easy solution, simply pick up all the equipment and tools and parts and control panels and send them back from whence they came. But it is just one more thing it never dawned on me would need to be done. I am finding I am not as good at thinking things through as I like to think I am.

Add to the mix the fact that while all this is going on we have two plays rehearsing and a children's workshop in full swing and you have one very busy theater manager with a very full brain. And a very complicated Google Calendar.

I'm wondering if I bit off more than we could chew to finish off the year. I mean, it WAS me who pushed for all this, so if it ends up turning into a train wreck, I'll take the blame, but I still think I would do it the same way if I got a chance to try again. I would rather fail from trying too much than fail from not trying enough. If this theatre wasn't being used this much, I think it would hurt us in the long run. I think also that while we are pushing the limits of our volunteer base, we are learning a valuable lesson. We need to know if we have the enthusiasm among our "BLT family" to make this place work long term. If this year ends as a train wreck, if we can't pull off all these projects, we will know that the support for a place of our own simply may not be there in anything but lip service. We've all TALKED about how we need to have our own place, but BLT needs to see how many people are willing to work to make it happen. If nothing else, I've unintentionally devised a great first test of that question.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Stage Mangement Appreciation Day

No, I'm not going to appreciate myself for being a stage manager, but I AM going to appreciate the chance to work in this role, and the patience and understanding and teaching and pure joy I've gotten from those I've had the opportunity to work with. And I'd like to REALLY thank Jen, a great stage manger (professional stage manager, thank you very much) in her own right, for offering me the chance to enter this world and for helping me find my place in it.

And it's a place I really, really like. I get to be part of the show without being "in" the show. I have the best seat in the house for free. I get to use duct tape. I've gotten to perform shadow puppet shows and create sound effects. I've gotten to work with flying monkeys and a steampunk chicken and cross-dressing men and leather-pant-and-corset-clad women. I've fixed costumes, kept props from catching fire on stage, bandaged cuts, wrapped ankles, wiped tears and mediated disputes before they turned to fisticuffs. I've also shorted out a good third of a theatre's electical system and thrown an entire production into disarray. It's not easy and I'm not at all what I'd like to be in the job yet, but it's tremendous, exhilarating, challenging and sometimes just plain silly FUN.

See? Best seat in the house.

I had a shadow for a lot of the night during Into The Woods shows.

They are making the "scary trees" pose. By the end of the run, I had ALL the backstage crew doing it too.

I never knew they had ladders that did this. I had to hang these lights so I could blow their bulbs up later ;)

I got to wear a headset and make shadow puppets during The 39 Steps, what's not to LOVE about that?

Good thing I look so FABULOUS in black. And so do those freaks :)

At Odell, I have a huge backstage in which to work. At the Amuzu for 39 Steps, we had this. It was cozy

Getting to the theater before anyone else and just being there is kind of magic.

Making sure no one eats the props is also my job. Sometimes I've had more success than others....

Really, seeing a show from here is pure, unadulterated FUN. You should be jealous.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Running Past The Roses

Sometime last year I re-posted something I found on Facebook, some meme with a photo and the words "I give great advice, but I seldom follow it" or some such thing. My friend immediately responded that she had the very same quote on a coffee mug on her desk at work, seems to ring true with quite a few people. When I began this blog, part of the reason I chose the name Pooh Sticks was because it represented to me taking the time to slow down and enjoy the simple things. Rather than using the bridge simply to cross the river that lies between you and your destination, we should stop, find a stick, go back and drop it in and watch what happens. Life is about the journey towards our goals and we miss much if we get too focused on the ends. I prided myself on being the sort to appreciate the little things, to take full advantage of the journey, to keep perspective.

I've totally ignored that advice, that part of myself, this summer. And I feel the worse for it, but I don't know how to fix it. The problem is, the things that have me running and not slowing to enjoy the path are GOOD things, largely even fun things. I am blessed with great opportunities and I feel like a heel whining about them. But I haven't slept through the night since mid-July, I regularly have a huge nervous pit in my stomach, it's an effort to not let my stress bleed over into lack of patience with others and I often fail in that. My pastor told me he loves reading about all I'm up to on Facebook and that he alternates between jealousy and sympathy and sometimes both at once. That's it in a nutshell.

Serving as president of Brunswick Little Theatre this year has been fun. It's also been much more than I bargained for. I had no idea how much stuff would end up in front of me, how many decisions others would refuse to make and leave to me, or at least wait for my input then do whatever I said. But that was ok, I could handle it just fine. Then this summer our treasurer, Jack Mical, passed away suddenly. Jack was my friend, he and I used to joke about being two fish out of water on the board, two guys with zero talent, zero experience and zero training in theater. All we had was a desire to see our friends (the same ones it turned out) with the talent, experience and training make magic and give the community great opportunities to enjoy live theater.  He was always there, always cheerful and always finding a way to turn what he knew he could do into concrete help. I admired that, learned from it, and then he was gone. And his job devolved to me. No question I was going to do it, and do it right, I mean this was the one way I could honor Jack's memory. I just had to figure out how. So with a bit of work and a lot advice I've managed to keep the theater's finances straight. Doing that in the middle of stage managing Into The Woods was a little TMI. It wasn't killing me, but it began the waking up at 3 am each night with my heart in my throat over some aspect of the books.

Then we decided to lease and run our own theater. And not only a theater, no, we moved into a 4 acre complex with several buildings, classrooms, a kitchen and more bathrooms than any normal group of people need. I signed the lease on opening night of Into The Woods, at the time our theater finances were at a low ebb and ticket sales for the Big Summer Musical were not big at all. No stress there, huh? I insisted on signing physically on the set of the show. I wanted to ask Lisa, John, the director and a few others to lay hands on me while I did it, but didn't want to look too much like the basket case I felt. I just wanted some good mojo, some clear sign of moving in the correct direction. I knew it would be a big undertaking. I'd thoroughly annoyed many long-time BLTers and some board members by throwing up every road block I could, by raising every objection, by voicing every caution while this was being discussed. They were convinced this was a no-brainer, this would be a great thing, nothing but positives. I couldn't even wrap my head around all the new work, all the new problems, it would bring. But in the end, at a special meeting, I voted along with everyone else to sign the lease. And I've been a wreck ever since.

It's been so very much more than I imagined. I liken it to moving into a new house, but more so. We have to prepare the space for we don't even know what yet. We have lots of ideas, ranging from the normal shows and workshops, all the way to sing-a-long movie nights and a medieval fair. That's part of the challenge for me, we are full of ideas, but less so on execution. Take for example the Fundraising Committee we created back in March. They were the ones who took it upon themselves to find a property for us to move into. They spoke with several realtors, a land developer and a landscape architect; they toured four properties; they generated over 4,990,876,412 emails (approximately) but have to date raised not one penny of funds. The members of the committee have donated generously themselves, but that's kind of not the point.

These are the people who said how easy it would be to operate a theater. They have ideas. But the place needs material and lights and paint and a schedule and some idea of what to use which space for. The size of that 4 acre property has shrunk massively in practical terms with requests for dance studio space, children's workshop space, a painting area, a technical work bench, a sewing room, prop storage, costume storage, and oh yeah, there' s a huge hollow tree prop with spiral staircase on  site now. We have requests to do dinner theater and a coffee house and babysitting and build a proscenium arch and knock out a wall to put a tech booth in the attic. And so far all these ideas are coming to me. Oh, and we don't have permission from the county to use the building as anything other than a church yet.

The board isn't so much absent as disengaged. We only meet once a month and most never look at their emails. They simply think we can carry on as we always have and it will all get done. I'm trying to spread out the work and it has helped a lot. I have a great guy in charge of grounds and maintenance, but he is loath to tackle any permitting issues. Jen is helping with fundraising, so we will now actually raise funds and build a real, active, renewing membership base. Lisa found me a treasurer, but the transition will take a while and a bit of work on both our parts. Still, I end up at the least overseeing all the aspects of running a theater, or really more like running a performing arts complex. How the Hell did THAT happen?

Add to this work troubles and challenges that I'm too pissed off about to even write about now, and it's been a lot of sleepless nights and days where I feel like Indiana Jones with that huge rock rolling after him. I had a Saturday morning with no plans yesterday and spent about 6 hours updating and adding to the theater's website. I could have let it wait, but when I do (like right now choosing to write this instead of adding a show and auditions to all the local media's calendars) I feel guilty and stressed over NOT doing things. It has sucked the joy out of stopping to smell the roses and I don't like it. I live less than a quarter mile walk to the beach. I moved here because of the ocean and the beach. And I haven't had sand in my toes in over a month.

I hate to even say this stuff, on the one hand. I mean, I wouldn't give up any of this willingly, it's rewarding and exciting and fun. Who can say they had the chance to start up a theater complex? I really feel like I'm making a real difference and doing something very worthwhile. But at the same time it's taking a toll. I need to find way to handle this and still enjoy the Pooh Sticks bridge. I'm just not sure how.

Do you know?