Yesterday I was talking with a dear friend who is starring in a wonderful stage play and is playing every night to rave reviews. In live theater, every night it is a different experience for the actors and the audience. In short it’s like real life.
My usual questions were about how last night’s performance had gone and how the critics reviews were going when I learned something interesting. Two nights ago the entire production was thrown into jeopardy because one of the main actors had overslept and the show could not go on without him to play his role. Being naive I asked, why the understudy couldn’t take his place. I learned that in most regional and community theater there are rarely any understudy.
Apparently one monkey can stop a show in regional theater. On broadway, in movies, even in Vegas there is always a backup plan but in everyday theater if one cast member gets sick or has an emergency it can bring the whole production to a halt.
It seems that regional theater is run like most Americans run their family lives. Everything is ok as long as nothing major happens. If something does happen there is rarely a real well thought out plan.
The recession caught many of us without a plan. Deadly car accidents catch families unprepared everyday, when parents are suddenly taken away and no provisions are made. Deaths from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are killing more young people in their 30s and 40s than ever before.
How many funerals have you been to in the last few years for young people? Few had a really solid plan in place to take care of their families and continue the work they had been engaged in everyday of their lives. No plans to replace income or address the expenses that come from a parent not being there. No college plan left in place. No financial legacy left for the next generation.
There were however devastated and overwhelmed survivors; there are always survivors. Devastated by the lost and overwhelmed by having to carry on life without a partner or parent.
Life is a professional production and it should be run that way. There must be back up plans, understudy, and back up dancers waiting in the wings in case the stars of the show can’t perform. If community and regional theaters want to truly prepare actors then they need to prep for what can go wrong.
You may not be wealthy but you need to have a well thought out back up plan like the wealthy. The pain caused from not having a plan is greater on a small family. Plan for every eventuality and you can more easily concentrate on the rest of your life. Get advisors to educate and train your family.
Good luck in the professional production called Life.
“Break a leg”