Hi, my name’s Madison and I’ve just started working in my first long-running musical. (It’s called Georgy Girl and it’s playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. It’s a good time. Check it out). This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and something I spent three years at university learning. However, while the training for what I do onstage was awesome, I’ve found in the past few months there’s quite a few things no one told me about the glamour of eight shows a week. So, to all you aspiring song-and-dance men and women out there, here are a few things I wish I knew about how it’s gonna go down:
Your social life will go down the toilet.
Remember all those times when your friends were like “hey, wanna go out and do fun things?” and you were all like “I can’t. I have rehearsal”? That’s literally every Friday and Saturday night for the foreseeable future now.
But it’s not all bad. You can hit up whatever bar your like on a Sunday night and have it not be packed to the rafters, as well as (my personal favourite) sleeping in till midday on a Monday and scrolling through everyone’s “Monday-itis” instagram posts from the comfort of your bed.
Mondays will become one of your favourite days ever, but you’ll grow to hate public holidays, because all of the 9-5ers will invade your perfect empty cafes and movie theatres.
You will not give any thought to your hair.
If it’s not sweaty from a rehearsal or dance class, it’s pin-curled up into a wig cap, so what’s the point of styling/cutting/washing it?
Plus, if the stars have aligned for you that day, there’s the possibility that after work you’ll unpin it and will cascade down in perfect ringlets. Or you’ll just look like a troll doll. The odds are about the same. But you’re so tired from the two-show day you just had, you just throw it up and hope you don’t run into anyone at the tram stop. (Unless you’re Loren Hunter – pictured – and always look like you’ve stepped off the cover of a magazine. Sometimes life isn’t fair).
The same can be said for your general deportment outside of work. All of your good make-up is at the theatre and not your house, and your new checklist for non-work clothing and footwear is: Is it comfy? Yes. Is it fashionable? Who cares. Just let me wear the damn crocs.
Activewear and a full face of make-up. A look I now refer to as “Wednesday”
You need to find new things to do during the day.
Apart from binge watching “Making A Murderer” (which, lets be honest, will only take a week), you start to realise that there’s not that much to do during the day. All of your friends are either at work or sleeping. Start knitting, learn a language, lure the neighbour’s cat over to your house and convince him to make friends with you (I didn’t do this.) or play ping-pong like these guys in our Green room (where the competition is fierce. FIERCE)
Muggles* will start to tick you off.
*non-theatrical friend/family member who calls you out on turning up to lunch in your Lululemon with no make-up and having woken up half an hour ago. Screw you Julie, you don’t know my life.
Bonus points for when they throw around words like how “glamorous” your job must be and you have to refrain from telling them you can’t remember the last time you wore mascara outside of work.
Your body clock will have a mind of its own.
Not having to be at work until 6 or 7pm means your evenings will become later and later until you basically feel nocturnal. The upside of this means you never drive home in peak-hour traffic (or any sort of traffic, really), but it does mean you’ll find yourself questioning if it’s normal to be regularly eating peanut butter on toast at 2am.
Having super-late nights followed by super-late mornings means you’ll also become a pro at snapping up any time and any convenient place for naps that you can. I have personally witnessed my fellow colleagues grab some shut eye underneath their dressing room station, on a yoga mat in the rehearsal room, in the park down the road and upside down on the couches in the Green room. It’s becoming increasingly impressive.
Structured meals will become a thing of the past too, because you won’t want to be eating a three-course meal before a show (believe me, I’ve tried it).
You’ll develop a deep, personal connection to your favourite eateries and coffee places.
Okay, so this probably goes for shorter running shows as well, but you’ve been going there for so many months now that the barista has become your best friend/office crush/therapist. Seriously, he knows way too much about my life.
Same goes for snacks. At the start of the week, it’s all about the carrot sticks and hummus. At the end of the week, it’s all about the peanut M&M’s. They are your lifeblood now.
So that’s it – a few pearls of wisdom I thought I’d share next time you find yourself in your next eight-show-a-week Musical. As goes without saying, it’s an absolute dream come true to do what I love everyday and share it with such talented and inspiring colleagues. I’m just saying invest in a super comfy yoga mat and a whole lotta dry shampoo.