I babysit projects for a living. I watch them closely as they grow up. I pat them lovingly, diagnose their ailments and I wave goodbye tearfully when they’ve grown-up into the product they were meant to be. I do this every day and come the end of every August, I wish them well and get ready to welcome a new set. When you do this daily, you start to think of everything as potentially a project. It’s a bit of an illness, really. “People are coming over? Well, first we need to think about whether people need to come over, is it a feasible thing to have them here? What are the activities that need to happen in order to get people here? I know, we’ll make a party plan and start executing it by sending out emails, organizing any food/drinks and checking in occasionally to see if we’re on track for those people to be here. Once it’s over, we’ll do mental “lessons learned” and identify what worked and then what we could do better.”
This is how I think. I’m one of those overly planned sorts – the kind you’ll never get to spontaneously run away on some great adventure in the middle of the night unless you’ve given me a few days notice (a few weeks would be even better!). I know. I think among my friends, I’d be called a “fun suck” – the vacuum where fun goes to die.
I mention all of this as a way to lead up to an update on our upcoming sketch show. Hey, you’ve been with me since my first sketch class, through the highs and the lows and then more lows, through the casting of the show so I owe you an update. (FINE! I’ll give you an update on Sam later. Just pretend for now that “sketch” is just code for a floppy eared beagle, if you must.)
Our show is in trouble. I say this as a babysitter of projects – as the person who ushers in 20+ projects a year and waves goodbye to 10-20 more by year’s end. The only way we’ll have a show on August 5th is if we reduce the scope and that means cutting sketches and giving up on the filming. You see, right now there is no discernible plan beyond “we rehearse once a week”. There’s no driver pushing this baby to its end and for me, the project babysitter, it’s frustrating. Last Tuesday, we received the rehearsal schedule a few hours before the rehearsals. It lets all of us know what is being rehearsed and when the actors should arrive. One actor asked if the rehearsal had been canceled and I’m the one who had to say, “no, the schedule is late… please forgive…,” which wasn’t my place. We ended up with four actors out. Two notified in advance, but when it came time to schedule the sketches that night, that bit of information was forgotten, which meant that two of the sketches were missing half or more of their cast. The third sketch was sent back for re-writes after the first read. This is something that should have been determined before the rehearsal started, before the actors came in for 15 minutes and were sent back home. Our instructor should have read through the sketch and if he had doubts, he should have aired them before people were lined up to read it in the middle of the night. We’re still paying for this class. We’re paying to learn about this aspect of sketch – casting, rehearsals and putting on a show.
Where we stand right now is we’ve rehearsed 5 of 20 sketches, 2 of those without the full cast that are supposed to perform them, 1 that was determined mid-read wasn’t ready, which means only 3 shows have been fully rehearsed and blocked with the cast that will perform them. We are supposed to film at least 2 of the sketches, if not more and there’s been no plan for that other than a classmate stepping up and saying, “I’ll do it” just so we can get it done. We were told “we may need more sketches and an opening number”. If we want that in there, it has to be written NOW, it has to be rehearsed in the next couple of weeks, otherwise that is NOT happening.
All emails to our fearless leader are met with silence – like whispering a wish into the air.
I feel like I’m screaming alone underwater.
If this were one of my project babies, I’d be shooting up so many flares and waving so many red flags, because it’s in trouble. At best, it’s “yellow”. And quite honestly, to bore you with a project term, only fast-tracking will get baby back on schedule at this point.
Honestly, guys. I don’t want you at the show right now.