Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Holding the Fort

Steve as The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz

After 33 years of running our theater company, my Steve is taking a little break. It’s been 33 years of no vacations, and darned few days off. For the first several years, I was right in the thick of it with him, writing shows, acting, fielding phone calls, sending out contracts in the office.

Then along came the kids, and I gradually phased out of Family Stages to raise our own family. I still kept my hand in with some office work and the occasional performance (I was talked into playing Peter Pan at a preschool last December, when one of our actors was suddenly unavailable. Apparently the "boy who wouldn't grow up" now looks like a 57 year old woman.) Even when I began my current job at church in 2002, I remained at least somewhat conversant with the theater biz.

 In recent years, while I continued to pitch in during the summer at our Rehoboth Summer Children's Theatre, my focus was gone. I stopped answering the office phone; I lost track of even the names of the performers who worked for us. Family Stages became part of my past, even as it remained a huge part of my husband's present. Steve’s been a one-man show, at it from dawn to late at night, building props, sending out mailings, directing productions, teaching after-school programs and the list goes on.

Then a wonderful opportunity presented itself, thousands of miles away. Steve was invited to join a group from our Lutheran synod who will be traveling to Germany next month. He will be doing research for a new play he will write for the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's bold stance that gave rise to the Lutheran church. It is a fascinating and dramatic story, and I know Steve will do a great job with this project.

At first, Steve was all excitement, applying for his first passport, etc. But now that the adventure is a matter of weeks away, excitement is rapidly giving way to panic. Who will mind the store while he's gone? Who but Steve himself really knows how to run Family Stages?

Steve is giving Julie a crash course. To her he will give the computer passwords, the phone log, updates on the actors. Jules is quite competent and is looking forward to helping her dad. But I know he will still fret and stew when he's away. Family Stages is his baby, and I'm sure he will experience acute separation anxiety.

Here's my wish for my beloved husband: in the immortal words of the Frozen song,"Let it Go." The world will not end because you have left the country for ten days. Take that vacation (even if it is a working one to some extent) and enjoy yourself.  Explore the land of your ancestors, drinking in all the sights and sounds (and a few good German beers). We will survive, and so will the business.

It will all still be here when you get home. Promise.


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