“You are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment” The only way you will see the truth of this statement is in hindsight. My resume is interesting, I’ve worked many small jobs and there were some character-shaping experiences that didn’t make their way in there too. The longest job on my current resume was my first-est gig with a theatre company. First-est because it was informal- no contract, rules nor job security- I was there to sell tickets when there was a play. Basically, I worked for 2-3 weeks every three months depending on how long the play was running. At the time I was in campus (university), my needs were basic and my dreams boundless.
It was the perfect environment for self-policing, everyone was an outsider, creatives and artists working late into the night, had broken all the rules of society, in our own haven of work and freedom rolled into one.
It was the perfect environment for self-policing, everyone was an outsider, creatives and artists working late into the night, had broken all the rules of society, in our own haven of work and freedom rolled into one. The two directors, who were also the owners of the company, always made sure everyone was fed, every day, even before the ticket sales started. They would make sure that everyone went home in groups and reported their safe arrival. Everybody contributed to the show, you couldn’t come in and sit at the desk and leave when the doors were closed, nope, everyone went into the auditorium for the warm-up before the show started. If you didn’t go, you would regret it a few minutes in- even the ushers had extra hype. Props, costumes, bags were all kept in one place so you had to look after everyone else’s things to be sure yours was safe too. There was a collective unity in doing this work that everyone else admired but didn’t have the chutzpah to do themselves.
My dad almost lost it when I said I wanted to be an actress, eventually, chalking it up to “last borns are always the crazy ones”. To his relief, my dreams of an acting career died a rather boring and unnecessary death: The company I worked with did not do scripts, there was an idea and we all built characters and the lines around the idea. The best punchlines were written down and your script flowed around this general gist. The end product was a winner because the show was almost different every day. I was awed at the creativity and courage the rest of the cast had. So awed, in fact, that I got stage fright even before I got to the stage. Remember, this was not a space where fear had a ticket, it was a profession that faced other people’s fears. So, I was reassigned to the front desk. My confidence broke a little more because I really thought I had figured it all out.
He comes in because he made it that I had my own stage at that front desk. We would banter with the clients and hype them up for the show over the hotline or dealing with idlers looking for entertainment. We made up stories of passersby and made new friends in turn.
Did I get a Rocky moment and fight my way back on stage? Of course not. This story would be boring if I did. So, on the other side of the stage at the front desk, the other hands on deck were from the stage manager/treasurer/bodyguard and a general big ball of awesomeness called Mashe. There are so many stories I could tell of Mashe but we don’t have space right now. He comes in because he made it that I had my own stage at that front desk. We would banter with the clients and hype them up for the show over the hotline or dealing with idlers looking for entertainment. We made up stories of passersby and made new friends in turn. At the end of that first run, one of the directors told me the best thing I did was fail at the rehearsals. Confused and a little insulted, I saw my hopes of ever being on stage just disappear. But before I was completely deflated, he explained that he got feedback from the audience that they begun enjoying the show even before they got to the door. They had never gotten that kind of feedback about the front desk. So I sold tickets for every show for the next three years for that season in life.
Now, I’m a kick-ass hostess at work functions. If I had gotten my spot on stage, I would not have understood how to humour people, stay calm when the rude ones called, been professional with corporates, playful with idlers and most of all, I would not have learnt to respect anyone who works in any facet of customer service. In my work, I’m still a creative even in corporate marketing. I see things differently and paint beautiful, customised pictures with my words for the clients I work with. I still perform in the little theatre that is in my head.
Like a seed, that dream died so that it could give life to a new path in my life. Of course, that is not how I saw it then but what would I be writing about today?