Career choices


When she asked if we could meet at 4, I pushed for earlier.

I didn’t want to work late on my first day back after vacation.

So we settled for 3 and I headed out for the school on the quiet country road running between cornfields and farmhouses and wooded hills and one small town.

I think I should have gone with 4.

She’s the director of a musical and I came during rehearsal, so we sat in the front row of the auditorium and she called out instructions between questions, teenagers milling about on the stage, setting up scenes and noting the position of every prop.

“How long have you been doing this?” I ask and “three years — You need to pull that middle curtain closed and move the bar forward — but I graduated from here,” she answers and I see how this is going to go.

It’s a disjointed interview, girls stopping to ask to be excused to catch the bus and boys wondering what needs to be removed, what needs to be added. I try to be fast.

And there’s so many of them, all coming and going, and I wonder how she keeps track of them and the play and the stage props.

They have their own pit orchestra, have ever since that first year, decades ago. And there are other directors, she said, but to oversee it all?

She calls a student out to chat with me and moves away, calling out directions as the next scene is set up. She doesn’t look tired but I am, just watching.

I think I’m glad I’m not a high school musical director.

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