Our Instant Society Has Lost Patience

Over the past few weeks it has become apparent to me that our society has gotten use to instant access.  Internet speeds are faster, bringing us instant entertainment and information. Cell phones allow us to communicate almost all the time.  And all of this instant access, I believe, has made us less patient as a society.

I noticed this during the last few days of tech for the production I’m working on.  Throughout the day, I was getting text and emails with various questions.  And a few times I would check my phone or email after stepping away (you know, to shower or eat) and discover an influx of messages that wanted immediate replies.  Many of which were things that should have been asked at rehearsal the night before.  A few were urgent enough that I felt the person should have called me.  Since often it is easy to not hear a text or email alert but a ringing phone is more difficult to miss.

I found myself becoming impatient with other people’s impatience.  I felt like I was being expected to be constantly at other people’s beck and call no matter what other project I was in the middle of.  Surely, they were not expecting me to drop everything and respond to a text, but that’s how I felt.

Then in rehearsal I found myself time and time again having conversations (about props/lights/actor needs) interrupted by another request.  As a stage manager, there are a lot of people vying for my time and attention, and I try to do my best to be available.  Usually juggling everyone has been easy enough.  But when I was not able to finish one note before someone started telling me another, I became frustrated.  Did they not care about the needs of the person who they interrupted?  Was a prop preset note so important they had to interrupt notes from the director? Was a scheduling question so important it couldn’t wait another minute?

At the same time, I caught myself once or twice doing the same thing.  And I had to remind myself to always start with “when you have a second” or “sorry to interrupt” if I was interrupting a personal conversation to bring up a rehearsal note.  To remind myself that everyone may not have the answer to a question right away.

This happens everywhere I look.  At work, people start conversations before they even walk into my office.  Regardless if I am available, on the phone, or in the middle of a project.  When calling customer service, I become impatient when placed on hold and don’t have instant access to help.  Standing in line at the coffee shop, people become agitated when the person in front of them slows down their order because they are on the phone at the same time.

A little patience goes a long way.  Even in our instant society, we can only juggle so many tasks at a time.  I wish that I could split myself into two, and deal with multiple issues and conversations at a time.  Until then, I have to remind myself to be patient and hope that others will be as well.

A Very Special Level of Hell

…you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

-Firefly

At a recent performance I was reminded of this quote.

As Ryan and I sat in our seats, the conversation behind me began to raise my shackles.  The two women were loudly discussing their views of the ACA.  Now I am a passionate supporter of the ACA, but I still realize that there are faults in the execution of the law.  What bothered me about their conversation was they were bashing the law, but clearly were misinformed and spouting false “facts”.  I tried to ignore the conversation, instead focusing on examining the set design.

Continue reading “A Very Special Level of Hell”

How Theatre Has Made Me a Better Professional and a Better Person

I recently saw this post about a 1945 Code of Ethics for Theatre Workers that was discovered a few years ago.  When I began in theatre I never saw this list written down.  However I have seen it enacted by everyone of my theatrical role models, my teachers, and many fellow thespians.

Almost twenty years ago I saw my first live theatre performance, Alice Through the Looking Glass.  Within months I stood onstage, in costumes, under the lights and recited my first line, “She laughed”.  I was only eight.

Theatre has shaped me.  It’s taught me how to behave, both in my personal and professional life.  Even working outside of theatre, I still find myself applying the lessons I learned on and off stage to my everyday life.

Continue reading “How Theatre Has Made Me a Better Professional and a Better Person”