Archive for March, 2016

Give Me Some ROOM! Space and Privacy on Tour

March 1, 2016 Comments Off on Give Me Some ROOM! Space and Privacy on Tour Uncategorized
Our matching touring mugs! It says, "Do not even speak to me until I have finished this. Go away."

Our matching touring mugs! It says, “Do not even speak to me until I have finished this. Go away.”

On the road, you’re likely to be crammed into a van, tour bus, car, or RV with your new “family” – the (mostly) fantastic folks you get to spend the next few weeks or months getting to hate… er, know. Sanity Saver #1? Give folks their space, and carve out some privacy for yourself, before sh*t gets a little too real.

How Can We Possibly Maintain Any Sort of Privacy While Living and Performing on Top of One Another?

Weeeeeeell, I never said it was easy! You can always spot the newbies on tour – like friendly puppies, all bright smiles and eager faces (if they had tails, they’d wag them). It’s exciting! So many awesome people in one spot, so many cool places to see, AND you’re being paid to do what you love! So much winning!!!! And then, there are the touring vets. They’ve been there and done this. A lot. From day 1, you may notice that they are pleasant, but they don’t want to immediately be seat buddies and share their trail mix stash. Before you take it personally in any way, consider this:

You are going to be in close proximity to all these people for the duration of your tour. First impressions matter, and this is a professional job, not summer camp.

By all means be friendly, and certainly be yourself. That said, remember that those first twenty minutes can set the stage for everything that follows. Be on time, make sure you greet everyone, and keep everything professional for now (it will have plenty of time to get personal later – trust me).

The Honeymoon Period

The honeymoon period lasts for a few weeks, and then that cute thing Warren does with his nose ring is no longer cute – it’s kind of gross. Also? That girl with the screechy voice with no volume button who drinks too much Red Bull and cannot seem to speak below 85 decibels has got to go. Your roommate perpetually forgets to flush, and if you have to eat one more dinner of catered chicken piccata or tray of lukewarm pasta you’re going to go mad. With all the stresses of touring life,┬ábeing considerate of others isn’t optional (unless Jerry Springer is what you’re going for). Some thoughts:

  • Manners matter. Always flush, leave some towels for the other person, never raid their food stash, etc.
  • Opposites? Negotiate! Everything is negotiable. For example, Angela and I are opposites when it comes to neatness (she would perhaps say anal-retentiveness) – I like things at right angles and travel with my clothes in coordinated ziplock bags; when she opens her suitcase, it explodes to the four corners of the room. Our solution? Halfsies! I was free to keep my half of the room as sterile as I wished, and she was free to explode on the other. Boom. Problem solved.
  • Never speak before coffee. A lot of arguments could be avoided that way.

 

The Long Haul – Shut Up.

Nuns have a policy of “custody of the eyes” (also very useful on tour). It’s when you keep your eyes to yourself (be conscious of what you allow yourself to see), and can be extended to ears, certainly hands, and voice. People need varying amounts of alone/quiet time, and not getting it can make them certifiably insane (or at least cranky). I’ve seen this work in lots of ways!

  • Shut up. No – really – shut up. If you’re a talker, this one can be a toughie! Allow for periods of silence or quiet time. Alone time is golden for introverts, so also consider going for a walk, stepping out for air or to talk on the phone, or taking a long shower.
  • Be a respecter of headphones or reading – it means they probably are not interested in chatting right now.
  • Not sure if your roomie/partner/cast mate needs space? Just ask!
  • Don’t take it personally. Everyone is so very, very different in their need for alone/quiet time/space. It has nothing (well, probably nothing) to do with you! But it does get really awkward when you assume it does, or if you try to punish the other person for not wanting to go out, chat, etc.
  • Allow for differences! On several tours we’ve been out on, the cast naturally found a great rhythm. It usually involved the folks who wanted to chat going to the green room, and the folks who wanted quiet staying in the dressing rooms.

 

The main take-away is to do your best to give others the space they need to do their jobs, keep their sanity, and maintain good relationships. Everything is negotiable, and manners matter! Now, go forth and bring circus to the masses! Dare to imagine, Laura

 
 

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