I looked forward to my first tech at BU with a mixture of fear and anticipation. I was nervous about how I would react to a new system after so much time in the same place, but excited to find out the potential of my new home. Theaters never come with instruction manuals, so there is no way to predict their quirks, and , more importantly, no way to predict the quirks of the people working in them. I knew my learning curve on this would be very broad and so allowed myself to spend more time observing and asking questions than I normally would when operating under the title “manager.”
Thus the biggest lesson I’ve walked away with (as of today, the day of the final dress) is a lesson in when to “push” and when not to “push.”
“To push,” in this case, meant something like applying pressure to someone (or a group of someones) to cause something to get done. You would think that a production manager would push all the time. After all, so much of our job is scheduling and keeping things on track. But I learned that it is immensely important to observe the delicate balance between gentle pressure and suffocation. Too much pressure applied to an already stressful soul can cause breaking – or worse, kickback in the form of resistance to further work. There is something about picking the exact moment with which to stop pushing and let everything breath that seems to be the key for getting things done organically and peacefully.
Which is not to say that I found that moment on this show.
And also not to say that I won’t find it next time.