When You Need a Break From Theatre...

Jennifer Butler

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

In the latest cast bio that I wrote, I said this is my 8th show at this particular theater but my 10th show in a row.  And I thought to myself “Am I insane to have done that many shows back to back?”  I have built up a resume that reflects how much experience I have, and perhaps it is one of the reasons I am feeling overwhelmed. I had been so focused on gaining experience in theater that I have neglected other important goals that I have had.  Maybe I am at the point that I need to walk away and figure out a few things, like finding a new job. I needed a break, and admitting it was the first step. I am normally one to work show after show and sometimes even double up shows by working two different ones at the same time! So wanting a break was an unexpected feeling and the fact that I am actually taking one, is surprising.  

It took a few weeks of not having things work out to make me realize that the break that I needed was to happen now. I had auditioned for a show that was to open in June and didn’t get cast.  On top of that, I was coming off of working on a show while dealing with a family situation, which led to things being more frustrating than fun at times. When you are having trouble finding the fun in something that you love so much, it is time to clear the mind, relax, begin to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. So I needed to do this so that I could put forth my best effort and work on my next project. 

I keep reminding myself that this break will not last forever, I am not walking away. I am simply taking time to breathe and refocus my energy.  I know that I am already signed up to do one, possibly two, shows this fall and things will be ramping up for those at the start of the summer when auditions are to be held.  Auditions for those fall productions are already scheduled for June, and now that it is mid-April it is really not too far off until I will get going again. To keep myself busy in the meantime, I will find things that can be done in advance for the fall.  On top of that I will have more time to write. I might even be able to see some of my friends that I have not seen in a while and maybe I will catch some shows that I have been meaning to see. 

I realized after working on my first show that theater will always be a part of my life. But sometimes it is good for both the mind and body to take a break, and that it is okay. 

Photo: Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama