An Actor is told by a director to move a chair.
The Actor asks, ‘But what’s my motivation? Why would I move that chair?’
The Director responds, ‘You are rearranging the room as a metaphor for your inner turmoil.’
The Actor nods and moves the chair.
The Director turns to the Stage Manager and whispers, ‘I just need that chair there for the next scene.’
The Stage Manager nods because she already knows.
That story has very little to do with the rest of my blog, I just enjoyed writing it, sorry.
It does, however, sum up pretty succinctly what it’s like as a Stage Manager in a rehearsal room, maybe when I’m writing about my life in the theatre you can give that another read.
I’m in my early thirties and I’m about to put my life on hold, and eat into my savings, by going travelling. Why? What’s my motivation? I feel self-indulgent writing a blog post purely about what’s going on in my head, but, maybe if you’re in a similar place it’ll help. If not, skip to the travel planning.
My motivation is threefold; career, home and love.
Right now I’m on a train, the engine runs on offers of amazing jobs, one after another are consumed, powering me through years of my life. Every now and again I pass a station.
‘Alight here for academia’ a cheery voice announces.
I can’t. The engine can’t be stopped.
‘Next station Writer.’
I’d like to stop here, I’d like to live here actually, but I only have the time for the odd weekend trip.
‘Alight here for a job where you don’t work every evening and weekend and you can go to life events like your friends weddings…’
Not a chance. I’ve just fed a 6 month tour to my engine.
‘You have reached your final destination.’
I know, “whinge whinge whinge” I’m lucky to have a job I love, but I have made sacrifices for it. It has consumed almost every other aspect of my life. See, there they go, social events, love-life and occasionally my mental health all sacrificed to the hungry god of theatre.
So, Career is motivation number one. Maybe I need to do something else with my life, or maybe giving my life to theatre is the right decision, the main thing here is I am claiming that decision and I want to take my time to make it.
Me two years ago: ‘I have a new life plan! I’m going to move to Hastings!’
Me a year ago: ‘I have a new life plan! I’m going to move to Cardiff!’
Me four months ago: ‘Bristol’s nice isn’t it? Hi Bristol Old Vic, here’s my CV.’
Me two months ago: ‘I have a new life plan! I’m going to move to Edinburgh!’
I probably don’t need to explain much more about motivation number two. I live in London, I don’t really want to but that’s where I can get the best jobs.
It’s the London paradox- I live in London because I can earn enough money to buy property anywhere but in London.
I’d like to own my home and have saved up enough for a deposit (I know, I know, let’s see how long THAT lasts) but I have no idea where I want to live, mostly because I don’t know what I want to do…
A little part of me thinks that I might not come back to Britain for a while. It’s my country and I do love it, but fuck the Tories, fuck austerity and fuck fucking Brexit, I’m off on an adventure.
Love is all you need eh?
Not me! I’ve been busy!
It’s hard to date when you work in theatre, you mostly rely on meeting people at work. That’s happened a few times for me, it did not end well…
It’s hard to date in London. People are busy, people say things like ‘Oh I can’t go out on a school night and I’ve got plans for weekends for the next three months.’ Or they say ‘Want to go out tonight?’ and you respond ‘Are you mental? It’s a school night.’
But not holiday Helen! No! Holiday Helen is open to love, although it’s not her priority because she’s having a wonderful time making friends and exploring new places. Holiday Helen never looks for love and apparently that makes her way more attractive than Regular Helen. I really enjoy being Holiday Helen. We’re going to have a great time in 2018.
So, motivation three, I am single, I don’t have a child, but if I do want one that’ll have to happen within the next few years. THE TIME IS NOW! This is my window. I’m not expecting to meet Mr Right as I wander round South East Asia, but stranger things have happened.
Also, in a Frozen-esque twist, one of the my great loves, is my friend Kate who returned to Australia at the start of the year. I don't like not seeing her, so I'm going to fix that and visit her and her family during her holidays.
And number four…
In conclusion, because you always have to have a conclusion, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and if I continue without change I’ll end up a sixty year old bitter spinster, living in a house share in North London, who ran out of patience with actors way before her menopause.
And to conclude my conclusion with my most compelling argument-
Why put your life on hold to travel? I'm not. Travel may not solve all my problems, it may not answer all my questions, but it's going to be on hell of an adventure.