by Cynthia Hellman

Southern Arizona is blissful this time of year, amiright? Sunshine beckons us to soak up  lazy days, wildlife comes topside to warm up, pollen makes all of us sneeze (which starts a whole social chain reaction in the era of covid. “It’s just allergies, I promise!”). This is the time of year you can find me drowsily reading a book as I sway in a hammock. Perhaps it’s because I’m an Arizona native, born and bred, but this is always my favorite time of year. Even though I know those dreaded scorching temps are just around the corner (along with less desirable critters that sting and rattle), I still soak up these days.

Despite the threat of triple digits on the horizon, today I find myself enjoying the earthy breeze as we drive to rehearsals, windows down, music blaring. It’s the sweet spot in the year for me.

Just like the seasons, it’s the sweet spot in the semester; We still have enough time before shows to polish our scenes, but not enough time to get lazy. The threat of tech week is on the horizon, but eh, we got time.

In other words, the pressure is on, but we don’t tend to notice it yet. It’s that whole (*cough* overused *cough*) frog-in-the-boiling-water analogy. We tend to view the deadline as miles away, amen? We’re tempted to take our foot off the gas pedal and coast for a while. We’ve gained momentum, and now we want to tra-la-la our way through rehearsals until riiiight before tech week. If we aren’t careful we’ll discover we’re a real, live example of the tortoise and the hare!

I want to challenge the students to button up that line that keeps tripping you up, spend another 20 minutes running choreography, go over your blocking one more time before class. Resist the urge to coast. It’s time to push the pedal to the metal. I know it doesn’t feel like it yet, but it’s truly crunch time. Just ask your director!

Directors, I want to encourage you to hang in there! Don’t bite your fingernails down to stubs. You know God’s got this; He always does, doesn’t He? All the hard work will pay off, and your new grey hairs will be worth the birthing of this work of art.

Theatre isn’t really a coasting-leisurely-down-a-bucolic-highway kind of endeavor. It’s more of a rollercoaster-with-a-faulty-harness adventure. Do you know when we coast? Cast parties — when it’s all said and done and time to reminisce. That’s when we coast. For the moment. Before it all begins again.

It won’t be long before we feel that summer sun shining down on us…and even less time until the spotlights shine. May it be said of every volunteer, student, director, intern, and staff member that we strove to do everything (on and offstage) to the glory of God — that we didn’t let up, coast, snooze, or give in until the job was done.