You would think backstage work in theatre would be energetic and fun, and it usually is from my experience. But for the past week my backstage work has consisted of doing laundry.
It’s been load after load, monotonously putting in the performers clothes. I’m working on the opera, La Boheme, and since hardly anyone changes costume during the acts, the only thing I have to do is get everyone’s laundry from the past act in intermission and put it in the washer.
And then we wait for it to finish, and wait for it to finish in the dryer. In between I get to work on homework though! Or today I’m writing this in one of the breaks.
It sound’s like it would be quite a boring way to spend 5 hours each night for the last 8 days. But it’s actually been quite the opposite. It’s been a really good experience. I’ve gotten to know the other 5 members of wardrobe crew pretty well, through listening to Beyoncé, ordering pizza’s backstage at the end of the night, learning about the magic of coconut water, having conversations about how our academics are different and more.
Most of them are in the vocal performance department, so it has been really cool getting to meet so many people in that program that I wouldn’t have ever interacted without doing this.
I’m really glad I decided to try things again. Last time I was on a wardrobe crew I hardly enjoyed it and I thought I wouldn’t want to do it anymore. This time around however, it has been a really good experience that I honestly greatly enjoyed. Even though it’s only laundry it has turned out to be the typical fun backstage experience. Maybe I just had to look at it with a new mindset. Whatever it was, now I’m looking forward to doing this more times in the future. Though maybe on a show that has more fast paced changes and activities. For now, it’s back to doing the laundry!