Hi Theater Cats!!! Hope you’re all enjoying the summertime! I certainly am because guess where I am writing to you from… HOME! Yes, that’s right, home for two whole weeks, at my parent’s house in Sacramento, CA!
'How?,' you may ask, am I sitting in my backyard with my cat on my lap, wearing a University of Michigan sweatshirt, Limited Too boxers, an old ballet scrunchie, and not a stitch of show makeup? Well that’s what I want to tell you about today!
On national tours, we sometimes have ‘layoffs.’ These are periods of time, usually lasting 1-3 weeks in our profession, when we have unpaid time off. This typically occurs because many city’s subscription series run seasonally, and don’t continue through the summertime. This can be because local theater producers don’t want to compete with the summer stock theater in town, or because many audience members go out of town during the summertime, etc. Therefore, it is hard to find a venue for national touring shows so we just close up shop for a bit! The word ‘layoff’ can have a very negative connotation because, yes, it is hard to have unpaid time off, but, on such a long running show, it can be a nice way to take a break without having to miss work by your own choosing. We do receive vacation time via our Actor’s Equity contracts, and if we choose not to use that that off, we end up getting paid for it at the end of our run, so it’s almost like taking an unpaid vacation now, and get paid for it later! So after having performed The Sound of Music for 10 months straight, we now have had a total of 5 weeks off during the summertime! We had a 2 week break, performed the show for 3 weeks, and are now on a 3 week break, then back full time.
To make the most of this time, I try to find a balance in the way I spend my time. During this limited time off, it’s difficult to get invested in other projects, or actually accomplish anything fully, so, what I’ve tried to do, is invest in activities and experiences that make me feel like I am both taking a break, and feeding my knowledge, training, and creativity. I’ve been traveling to new places, seeing shows, taking class, writing my blog, teaching class, going through my belongings, reading and watching new things, and also returning to some of my favorite places and activities to see what kind of new place I’m at in my life after being on the road for 10 months. It’s a good way tocome back to the show rejuvenated after performing a straight 300+ shows! Another nice thing about having this time off is knowing you have a job to return to! When you’re in New York auditioning, it’s inevitable that the moment you plan a vacation, or go out of town, you get an audition and have to rush back. Or, you’re too afraid to plan trips because you’re nervous that you’ll miss out on an opportunity. So it’s great to have time that you can feel safe and relaxed about utilizing. When you are handed down time like this, it can feel indulgent, but if you go in with a plan, and the intention not to waste it, it can be supremely enjoyable AND productive!
So that is the theatrical ‘layoff’ in a nutshell, thanks for reading! As always, contact me with questions, etc. - I would love to hear from you :) That’s all for now, Theater Cats!