The rehearsal process for Summer Mummers has kicked off. Where does the time go?
For people new to the process, it's a whirlwind of information, ideas, and sensory overload. For veterans, it's a feeling of "here we go again," but in a good way. So many memories have been made during the four months that we spend together in the creation of this show. But those four months are the culmination of a yearlong process.
Many outsiders may not know this, but there is a Summer Mummers board. It is comprised of six people; president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and two members-at-large. Everything that you see when you come to Summer Mummers is a product of the board's year-round work. Things that you probably don't even think about. Mug size and design. Budgets. Script guidelines. Disciplinary procedures. Being on the Summer Mummers board is the least fun and most thankless job in the whole organization.
As soon as Summer Mummers has its final performance for the year, the board is already having meetings about the next year. They talk about what needs to be added, taken away, changed, etc.. It's a responsibility that isn't taken lightly, as the income for the show is closer to seven figures than six. Every decision is made with the performers, tech crew, front of house, vendors, and audience in mind. That's a very impressive balancing act.
When the show opens, the board continues to work tirelessly throughout the summer. Putting out metaphorical fires backstage, in the house, or in the lobby. Making split-second decisions that may dictate how the rest of the night runs. Staying well after the audience has gone home to type up reports to send to the rest of the board. While you're lying in bed after watching a night of onstage frivolity, the board is still working.
I left the board after my first term, simply because it was making Mummers more of a burden than I wanted. Sure, I was having fun onstage, but I never wanted to leave the stage because that meant I probably had to deal with some issue happening that night. My wife has now served on the board for a couple of years, and quite frankly, is a MUCH better board member than I ever was. She actually has viable solutions to problems. All I had was a shrug and the hope that it would work itself out.
Whether you're involved with Summer Mummers or not, if you see a board member, thank them. Not every decision is popular, but I can guarantee that they make every decision with the best intentions. They make the Mummers world go around, all for nothing but a few cheap drinks and the hope that Summer Mummers will be around for another 67 years.