Opening Night

Ahh, the work-life balance.

I find myself at home on the morning of opening night of Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare. Mom is at the ironing board, pressing her blouses, just the way her grandmother taught her to iron in the 1930s: collars and cuffs first, then shoulders and sleeves, then around the body of the shirt. Back then they didn’t have steam irons, so everything was sprinkled with water and starch. When I was a child in the 60s, I remember Mom still sprinkling Dad’s shirts with an old green glass Sprite bottle and a special perforated cork.

Bread making, Sept. 2013 016Now Mom sprays her shirts with Magic Size and irons them with a steam iron till they’re crisp and neat. β€œIt takes a while, but I love the way they look when I finish,” she says. Ironing is a way for her to transform chaos into order; she is literally smoothing out the wrinkles in a part of her life. I understand that impulse; I feel it every time I wipe down the kitchen counter or make up the bed. There’s something satisfying about a smooth, clear surface.

For the past month, the cast and crew of Hamlet have worked to smooth out the wrinkles in our production, applying metaphorical heat and steam and pressure to the various scenes until they emerged as seamless parts of one complete work. The incomparable Joe Knezevich, who plays Hamlet, has spent much of the last year preparing for this process, and it shows.

Everything has come together beautifully. The result is as crisp and striking as a neatly pressed shirt – a tailored one that fits perfectly. To paraphrase my mother, great productions take a while to prepare, but I love the way they look when we open

I’ll drop the metaphor now lest I get even more carried away. The point is simply that domestic metaphors seem to fit my work life, and vice versa. Home is about relationships and tasks; so is the theater. By putting out an effort and attending to the details, we create lives filled with meaning, purpose, and beauty.

Happy Opening.

4 thoughts on “Opening Night

  1. My mother had the foresight to send me to (at the time) DJC during my senior year of high school in order to complete as many of my freshman basic classes as possible. I took your mother’s Trig 1 class. She met me many times in the math lab and explained nauseatingly tedious (and at times frightening) concepts with kindness and patience. She was one of the most influential professors under which I studied. It is very sweet to see the photo of her. Please give her my best. Oh, and break a leg! – Ann Barrow Doyle (Billie)

  2. I’m glad it went well πŸ™‚ I just found your blog, I will enjoy reading along.
    PS now I have this weird compulsion to go iron something. I’m not even sure I know where I stashed the ironing board at this point.

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