July 2016

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July 2016

News From Mark Shanda, USITT President

Summertime... and the Living is...

Mark Shanda USITT President

I have been thinking a great deal about time lately. For many, summer is a time for vacations, to address facility maintenance, thorough cleaning, and planning for an approaching season or school year. For others, summer is a time for job changes, new apartments, or returning to summer stock; 7 shows in 8 weeks! Outdoor productions with nighttime lighting rehearsals and curtain- time conditions that can range from full sun to total darkness.

Time is after all, a human construct, based on astronomical cycles and organizational principles that assist us all in addressing basic biological needs like sleeping and eating, as well as determining work life details like compensation, pay periods, and project work cycles. Two aspects of time that I seem to be dwelling on a lot lately are as follows:

  1. Why do 10 more minutes on the elliptical machine seem to go so much more slowly than the brief 10 extra minutes of sleep between the alarm and the snooze alarm? Why do the weeks before vacation seem to progress at a snail’s pace, while the 10 days away from work go by in the blink of an eye? Why, when I see pictures of the newborn children of former students, do I think that it was only yesterday that my now 27 and 21 year old daughters were that small?
  2. A second aspect of time is that each of us is granted the exact same amount of time each and every day...just 24 hours. No one gets more, and only those that die in a given day-long cycle are given less.

All involved in entertainment gain a hypersensitivity to time. We build projects around a fixed point called Opening. We know the significant difference between a 10-count fade and a 1-count bump in a lighting or sound transition. We know that the longest time in a darkened theatre is the scene change that exceeds 15 to 30 seconds. But do we make the most of every 24 hours that we are given?

This summer I challenge all members of the Institute to gain a new appreciation of time and commit to do three things.

  1. When given a choice, place family first when determining how you will spend your day. You won’t regret it. Children do grow up fast and you too will look back someday wondering where the time has gone.
  2. Take at least one 24-hour period and just do nothing but that which you most enjoy, be it reading, hiking, sleeping, surfing the internet, or maybe even disconnecting from the electronic world of communication. All of us need an occasional recharge and should not feel guilty for taking some focused time for ourselves.
  3. Celebrate each day you have been given to work toward a goal that you have set for yourself. You are certainly worth the investment.

Time is an ally in our happiness. Make every second count!

Mark Shanda

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail Mark at Shanda.1@osu.edu.