Tiu’s Day

November 20, 2012 — 3 Comments

The Two-Headed Mr. Fauth, created by Emily, a former student.

A few years ago I started really feeling the pressure and stress and consequences of trying to teach 5th grade all day, and run a big theatre company on the nights and weekends, directing shows and overseeing others and preparing for our yearly massive summer season. It got so bad that I actually took a couple of weeks off from school to rest and recharge, lest it all lead towards me turning into some sort of lunatic. (Well, any more than I already am.)

I referred to the two careers I had, and the war between them, as The Two-Headed Mr. Fauth. The teacher, Mr. Fauth, and Brian, the director. I loved doing both, but they were taking its toll. In the summer of 2011 I stepped down from running Limelight, but couldn’t stay away from the stage, electing to direct a pair of shows at a local junior high. I went with a pair of shows I had directed in the past, to save creative energy, but I felt like I was cheating a bit by recycling sets and ideas from the past.

And that brings me to Dublin, where I’ve taken a break from being Mr. Fauth to concentrate on developing skills as a theatre director, to add tools to the toolkit, as they say. And it’s been a great experience, but it still doesn’t solve the lingering equation: which one am I going to be?

Tonight I wrapped up my fall director’s project: a staged read of Chekhov’s The Proposal. Not his most famous (or even his best work), it’s a 20-minute farce about two people who let petty arguing and their shallow principles stand in the way of their potential happiness as a married couple. Tonight went very well, and I’m happy with the results, for what they were. (It was an exercise, not a proper “show”, so no real sets or lights or anything like that.) And I found I had to “teach” a lot more about theatre than I would have imagined, and it was gratifying to see that my skills were needed.

My goal is to leave this place with that great war settled, or at least at a cease-fire. Being away from the classroom has quickly made me realize how at home I am in it, and I’m anxious to get back to doing what I do best. And theatre? Well, I have deeper thoughts on my relationship with trodding the boards, but we’ll save that for another post. I suppose the easiest solution is to figure out how I can teach theatre full-time, and merge the two heads, but that has its own hurdles as well.

To be continued…

The sky as I left for my director’s project.

 

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3 responses to Tiu’s Day

  1. 

    Oh, you are suffering all the woes of an artist. If the artist director Brian, paid the bills and then some, would you still have a dilema? Just asking.
    Does Mr Fauth like the comfort of a regular job, with regular friends and regular routines. I’m not saying that teaching is easy, but it is safe.
    Here is an exercise for you to do. Pretend you are lying on your death bed as:
    (A) Brian
    (B) Mr Faith
    What would the dialog sound like from each as they look back over their lives.

  2. 

    Oh, you are suffering all the woes of an artist. If the artist director Brian, paid the bills and then some, would you still have a dilema? Just asking.
    Does Mr Fauth like the comfort of a regular job, with regular friends and regular routines. I’m not saying that teaching is easy, but it is safe.
    Here is an exercise for you to do. Pretend you are lying on your death bed as:
    (A) Brian
    (B) Mr Fauth
    (C) Brian Fauth
    What would the dialog sound like from each as they look back over their lives.

    • 

      Hmm, that’s an interesting exercise, Jane. I shall think about that one, but for now, I would say this: the last thing I see teaching as is “safe.” It’s full of challenges and excitement and stress and frustration. The only safe thing about it is that it’s full-time and it pays the bills. I’ll never be able to afford to live as a journeyman director at this point in my life, nor do I want to, so it’s more about merging the two together if possible.

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