All the World's a Stage...and it's Organized.

Photo Credit - Tracy Davis For the last month and a half, I've been rehearsing and then performing as a lady's maid to the Marquise de Berkenfeld in THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT in the Fort Worth Opera's 2013 Opera Festival.

If  there's anything that HAS to be organized, it's an entertainment production and especially one of this scale. As an audience member, you may think you have an inkling. After all, there's a huge cast, costumes, tons of props so that has to happen somehow.

You only get a sliver of it.

Take a peek behind the curtain and you'd be amazed. You've got the stage manager and their staff. Prop management and staff. Costumes and their staff. Wigs and make-up and their staff. Lights and sound and their staff. Maestro and the orchestra. Etc. etc. Not to mention all the stuff that comes with each of those people and departments. There are about a kajillion moving parts to make this happen to give you a couple of hours of entertainment.

If one thing goes wrong, it can set off a domino-like tail spin that can be not only problematic, it can even cause physical harm.

Talk about organizing for your life.

Everyone HAS to be on the same page. Backstage can be quite hectic, but it's a very specific and controlled chaos.

How so?

Impeccable organization.


Seriously. It's organizing porn back there.

Buddha Buddy hanging out a prop table in rehearsals. Don't think he appeared in the show. Don't recall seeing him after rehearsals. Love him anyway.  Photo Credit - Tracy Davis

Everyone has a specific role and they do it. For instance: at one point in the top of Act II, there's a person off-stage to make a quick switch of taking a boot out of my hands and handing me a dressing gown. If that person missed, I would miss my next cue, the next gag and then throw off the whole rhythm of the scene.

NOT entertaining.

Everything has a specific place where it lives and that home is labeled.

Prop table

It's glorious. You can see what's there and what's missing.

So how do you turn your chaotic home into controlled chaos? Take a few tips from our backstage:

  1. Get everyone on the same page. If there are multiple people in your home, everyone - EVERYONE that lives/works in your home - MUST be on the same page with what the goals are for the home. Otherwise, you'll start to feel like a resentful hag that has to pick up after everyone else. Nobody wants that. She doesn't feel good.
  2. Give everyone specific jobs. When you know it's your job to do "X" at a specific time, then it becomes easier. It eliminates all excuses and doubt.
  3. Obsessively label everything - like our prop tables. I mean, check out the dice up there. There's a tiny, specific box where they live. If that's how specific you need to get for your family, DO IT. Whatever it takes to make it work, right?

Now, this could be a major change and culture shock for your family. As with making any major change in the way you do things, it'll take time for everyone to adjust. Be patient and offer daily, GENTLE reminders until it sticks. Over time, you won't need to be as hard core with the labeling and other tips but but it's good and necessary until these things become habit.

Where in your home can you simplify? Where can you create a smoother running machine?