Well, the play is over. We finished our fourth and final weekend of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris yesterday, and it's good to be over. It's always the same for any play...although you generally have a good time performing, after a while it can get really old and routine. "Jacques Brel" never got that far, mainly because it was so short (1-1/2 hours), and ever after all this time we still enjoyed doing the songs.
I don't know what I'm going to do next. I'm planning to speak to the Artistic Director about possibly directing a show or two at the Black Box Theatre in the next year, and I may come back and music direct their next musical, whatever it will be. I'd love to explore joining their company or board of directors, as well. Who knows, I may hook back up with the Oak Ridge Playhouse, where I haven't been for a couple years now, since I finished Company.
However, one thing is true - it seems to become more and more difficult to look on the faces of my kids when I leave home in the evening for rehearsal or performance. The expressions I see when they realize I'm leaving at 6:30 for the theatre and won't see them again till tomorrow morning is nothing to be desired - nor is the fact I'm voluntarily giving up one evening I could spend with them to selfishly pursue my own hobbies. Were they older I likely wouldn't feel the same way, as they would probably be wrapped up in their own evening activities, but at 9 and 5 (almost 6), every moment with them is precious and not to be taken for granted.
Last year I even traveled to Florida to music direct a show, and was completely separated from my family for two whole weeks. What are the long-term effects from that? What could they have been? Fathers all around the country travel out of town for work and leave their families behind for a brief period, and I'm sure most of them love their kids as much as I do. My own dad used to spend every Monday night in Kentucky as part of his job, and it never bothered me that much - I knew he was coming back, and we still had plenty of time to spend with each other the rest of the week.
One justification is the fact that I occasionally actually get paid for my efforts - in this case, surprisingly well as a nice bonus was added to my check to make up for the fact we only had two band members instead of the planned four. And the extra money will always help. But is it worth it? Is there a point where indulging this hobby of mine - if you can call it a hobby, after all it was my college major and directing and performing are what I love to do more than anything - interferes too much with my family life. And as much as I love theatre, I love them infinitely more.
I get nothing but encouragement from my wife and friends, although it is an added burden on Laura to take care of the kids by herself while I'm out enjoying myself. Most everyone knows how much it means to me, as well as knowing the value I place on my kids. The difficult part is knowing, inside, when the balance has been tipped too far one way or another.
Ah well. For now, with nothing concrete on the horizon the point is moot - kids win (as they should). But when the next opportunity arises...will I snap it up, or walk away? Time will tell.