Anthony J. Piccione
Ahh, winter. Also known as the time of year when kids, parents, teachers and many others (depending on where they work) will wake up early on certain days to find out whether or not they will be lucky enough to not have to go into school or work that day, or if they will at least get to sleep in for an extra 90 minutes or so. Here in my home state of Connecticut, we haven’t really had very many of those days so far this year. However, since it is January, I suspect that more of those days will be on the way soon enough.
While many young kids will surely rejoice when more snow arrives, I personally can’t help but look back on past experiences in theatre – especially when I was younger - and feel like snow days weren’t always a good thing.
Perhaps the one past snow day that most stands out to me was in my senior year of high school, when I was involved in a community theatre production of Annie in January 2011 that was supposed to have a Wednesday matinee (in other words, I’d get an excuse to not go to school that day) where elementary and middle schools would go on field trips to come see our production during the day, followed by a regular nighttime performance that same day. Unfortunately, as excited as I was to miss school to do something far more exciting and enjoyable for me, my day that was already without school was also without theatre thanks to a snowstorm that week.
Then there was my first college theatre production in the Fall of that same year. That year, snow decided to arrive much earlier than usual in Connecticut. As a result, our weekend performances of my show – the same ones that my parents had been planning to come and see – were cancelled. It was made even more worse by the fact that the only days in which performances were cancelled were weekends, when there weren’t any classes to be cancelled as well.
Even just a year ago, I was involved in a small experimental theatre production as a Dramaturg, and while that was thankfully not cancelled due to the snow, the heavy loss of rehearsals to the snow almost led to its cancellation. While it was not cancelled, however, it still meant that the lead-up to the performance was highly stressful for many people involved, thanks to the lost rehearsal time.
I’m sure there aren’t that many people reading this column that have done a great deal of theatre in their lives without having some sort of similar experience, as a result of snow days. Given the amount of work and passion we often put into these shows, I can’t see how anyone can’t be upset in these situations…even if it means they get a day where they also don’t have to go to work…or get out of bed…or out of their pajamas…or…
Okay, so MAYBE the headline of this column is exaggerating things a tiny bit. Maybe not all of us necessarily HATE snow days, or at least not entirely. Having said that, let’s be honest: As great as a snow day may be, is it really worth it when we have to cut back on the art form that we all love so much? Is it really worth it when we know our cast needs more time to rehearse so that we’re ready by opening night? Or worse, is it worth having less people get to see our show than they otherwise would.
I think not, and I suspect that I’m not alone. Therefore, as we start to see more possibilities of snow days during this time of year, don’t expect me – or too many other theatre people – to be FULLY enthusiastic.
This column was written by Anthony J. Piccione: Student, playwright, actor, poet and blogger currently based in Connecticut. To learn more about Anthony and his work, please visit his personal blog at www.anthonyjpiccione.tumblr.com. Also, be sure to like him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AnthonyJPiccione.OfficialPage), follow him on Twitter (@A_J_Piccione) and view his work on the New Play Exchange (www.newplayexchange.org/users/903/anthony-j-piccione)