Dogfight Post-Mortem

Whew. Three weeks of shows for Dogfight the musical have come to an end, and I’ve got SO MANY thoughts and feelings, so I decided to do a little post-show brain dump.

As I’ve already said a couple of times, this rehearsal process was not that great. I was so, so excited for this show, and pretty much every rehearsal had me doubting that it was ever going to come together. Mercifully, it did, and the end product actually turned out to be pretty good in spite of all of the crap, which is great. As always, a show ending is bittersweet. I’ll miss the music. I’ll miss my friends. I’ll miss performing. But BOY am I ready for a break.

This experience really threw some things into focus for me. I have a good friend who talks a lot about process vs product. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how crappy the process is because the product is so good. And sometimes, the process is so crappy that it totally sours the product. Or the product isn’t super great but you have lots of fun working on it. In the case of Dogfight, we ended up with a good product, but the process sucked.

Going through this made me realize that I’m really, really over committing myself to projects that aren’t challenging and fulfilling. Yes, the music for this show was amazing, and I’m really glad I got to sing it, but I’m not sure that all the time I spent being stressed out, frustrated, and anxious was really worth it. Not to mention all of the time spent driving to and from Stowe, and the money I spent on gas, costume pieces, and makeup. Maybe it’s not for me to say, but I feel like I’m ready to be consistently performing at a higher level, and not just taking every opportunity that comes my way. At Stowe, I’m a big fish in a tiny pond, but I feel like I’m capable of being a medium-to-big fish in a bigger pond.

Unfortunately, this decision that my time and talent are worth more is coming a bit late, in the sense that I’m likely on the cusp of taking a fairly long break from performing in order to try and start a family. All I can hope is that there are better opportunities for me when I get back to it. I’m also already feeling the FOMO for all of the shows I may miss due to pregnancy and having a child. Expect a post expanding on this soon.

Until the next audition, I definitely plan to do all I can to keep improving. It’s really expensive, but I’m hoping to get back to voice lessons this fall, and maybe a dance class too. In order to do CrossFit, voice lessons, and dance classes, I will definitely need to do some pretty serious budget-trimming, but I’m ready to make the commitment, both in time and money, to things I’m passionate about.

On that note, as I teased in my July wrap up post, I have officially joined the PR and Development Committee for Lyric Theatre Company. I’ve been doing shows with them since 2002, and while I genuinely love and appreciate the organization for all it has given me and the community, there are of course things about how they operate that I think could be better. And rather than just bitching about it, I think it’s time I get more involved and actually work within the organization to help make it better. It will be nice to maintain an active role in the organization even if I’m not able to perform for a while.

7 thoughts on “Dogfight Post-Mortem

  1. SuzLyfe says:

    As much as I am sorry that this show stressed you out so much, it seems to have helped you nail the coffin on some of your decisions, get some closure. And you have so many exciting things to look forward to!!

  2. dgobs says:

    I’m sorry the show ended up being so stressful 😦 At least the product was good… better than bad after all the stress beforehand. And that’s awesome about joining the committee! I feel like it’s so easy to complain about things but taking that extra step to actually make things better is a great idea.

    • Rae says:

      Thanks, Dana! I’m looking forward to learning more about the organizations ins and outs and hopefully making positive contributions 🙂

  3. txa1265 says:

    As an engineer I am totally with you on the Product vs. Process thing (and more stuff that would make your eyes glaze over)! It is really important to understand both and be able to differentiate between them. But there are limits, which are different for each of us – some can handle a chaotic process, others cannot handle anything but a mature, streamlined process, while most are at some point in between.

    And I think that what you felt really reflects back on the impact of chaos – sure the product turned out well, but it cost more and took more time than was needed due to the impact of the chaos. And in a small production, that cost is imparted on you personally (well, in big companies it is as well, in terms of losing your personal life for extended time periods).

    I love that you are joining the organizing committee – we loved watching your PR bits for Dogfight, and I bet you will bring a ton of energy and ideas to the Lyric team!

    And what I think is important now? Is to begin to reconcile yourself with the reality that you cannot do or have it all. It is very difficult to handle needing to put stuff on a shelf, or decide what is hobby vs, life, and so on. And as you note – nothing needs to be ‘forever’, especially if you are up front and say ‘I plan to get back to this’ (rather than ‘maybe someday …’).

  4. Rae says:

    Oh, I definitely plan to go back to it, there is no “maybe.” Theatre will always be a part of my life, just to greater or lesser degrees depending on what else we’ve got going on. Especially now that I’m part of the Development committee. It will help me remain involved and do something meaningful.

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