Straddling Two Worlds

Hello again! Since I had no time to write while I was “home” in Boston, well sort of home, I am considering this blog post a reflection of the whirlwind time we spent there during the Billy Elliot run from July 24-August 19.

Some of the veteran touring parents warned me that when a show plays in your home city, this is the most exhausting time on the entire tour. Still a newbie to all of this, I didn’t believe them. Let’s call me a believer now. You see, being home while “on tour” means you have to straddle two worlds: life at home and life on the road. This is not just tiring but surreal on many levels.

Let me back up by saying that the run in Boston was nothing short of incredible for our entire family. Based on what we are aware of, at least 750 people we know came to one of Noah’s performances (I didn’t realize we had that many connections!) And we keep hearing of yet more friends who were there. At one show alone, about 400 people from Noah’s Boston dance family were in attendance. The audience went nuts the second the stage manager announced “The role of Billy tonight will be played by Noah Parets.” And that was before he even hit the stage.

Because of the throngs of people coming to each one of Noah’s shows, I went to most of them as well. I sat with different people at each show and had the opportunity to catch up with friends and family by grabbing dinner or a drink before or afterwards. If it were not for this, I would not have had time to see so many people who I wanted to catch up with.

That aside, while in Boston, we tried to divide our time between staying in the city (much easier to get to the rehearsal halls, theater, and hotel) and our house out in the ‘burbs. I thought it would be a relaxing month as I would be able to spend time at home with my husband, older son Ethan, and dog. Reality check: not relaxing at all.

Straddling two worlds is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Huh? I know, sounds like the Twilight Zone and yes, it sort of felt like I was living in an episode of the Sci-Fi series. On one hand, I had my “normal” life at home with my family, my kitchen, my yoga studio, my own bed, my stuff, my car, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I even managed to teach a couple of yoga classes. On the other hand, I was still on tour albeit in Boston. I still had to rush around all day long and get Noah to where he needed to go, make sure he ate balanced meals, got enough sleep. And of course, we were at the theater for each show to meet all of those people. This went on for a month – six days a week. Each weekend, I would try to plot out the plan for the week. This only worked out about half the time. The rehearsal schedule perhaps changed or my older son needed a ride to his summer job or I needed to get home for the dog. Noah’s dad helped out a lot too and if timing worked out right, he could take over on the Noah end of things so I could return to my normal life for a day or two – uninterrupted.

Being home was like being literally dropped from outer space back into my day-to-day life. Nothing had changed but yet I had. Things looked and felt different to me. The pace was much slower than I had become used to. Everyone went to sleep by 11 pm – imagine that! Even my own bed felt foreign to me at first. On the last Sunday of the show run in Boston, we went back to the hotel with everyone else. There was a good-bye pool party which ran late into the night for a much-loved child who was leaving the show. There were tears and laughter. This felt strangely normal. I felt at home amid the chaos.

On the following day, we returned to our “real” home for two weeks. It was quiet and there were no late nights with tons of people around. It felt strangely strange.

Which brings me to now. Here we are in Detroit. No more crowds of people to meet at every one of Noah’s shows. Instead, I am settling into a routine once again. Now I have just this one life, this life on the road with our Billy Elliot family. It may look a bit different depending on which city we’re in. But it’s still one life. No more straddling two worlds. It is positively peaceful.

Categories: Accidental Stage Mom, Etcetera, On the Road, That's Life!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Straddling Two Worlds

  1. Thanks for the insights into what it was like living in two worlds at once. I can’t even imagine what you have to deal with and how crazy and non-Omy (oh my?) home can be in times like that, but you have made it a bit clearer anyway! I got to see Noah in Boston and loved his performance. He was so great and you must be incredibly proud watching him on stage! Saw him with a large group back by stage door and you may have (probably) been there, but I didn’t want to invade your space by saying hi. Hope to find a moment next time. =) Namaste.

  2. Joe Maguire

    I enjoyed your reflection on Boston. I was at three shows – 2 stared Noah. This was the first time I had seen him perform. I have seen Billy Elliot many times over the years and experienced 12 different Billys. I must say I enjoy Noah very much. I knew in advance about his dancing skills but I was still amazed at his fluid – graceful – utterly breathtaking “Electricity”. His acting was “spot on” -he seemed so comfortable on stage and his voice (wow). It appeared he was really enjoying performing and was very happy to have this opportunity. I am happy for him and for you. I am a member of the Billy Elliot Forum (I assume you are aware of it and I hope you check out the comments and reviews) Anyway I hope you all enjoy the ride!!

  3. Colin W. Stetson

    Hi, Robyn,
    A semi-stranger to you and Noah, albeit, met you both following one of Noah’s iniltial performances, if I remember correctly, in Columbus. What a power house Billy he has turned out to be, as I do speak from experience having seen too many Billies to count from London, to NYC, Chicago, Toronto, and assorted cities on tour. And, I can say, I’m not through watching him perform his magic, as I expect to catch you both, in Toledo this coming month, and Indianapolis come November. It will be terrific being able to see him and the tour in my home state of Indiana. Nice to see the musical close to home after traveling hundreds of miles to make it happen.
    I happen to be a high school teacher and coach and a professional singer, and know well the sacrifice parents make to see and provide opportunities for the kids to pursue their passion both in the arts and on the athletic field. Deepest appreciation to you for all your sacrifices on Noah’s behalf, because what you have given up, to some extent, has provided so many of us supporters of BETM nothing but a sense of joy and thrills presented to us through his performances.
    Sincerely hope to say hello to you again in Toledo as well as Indianapolis when I can express appreciation to you by word of mouth.

    Sincere regards, Colin W. Stetson, Culver Academies, Culver, IN 46511

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