I was so nervous. People would be coming any minute, and I hoped I wouldn’t mess up.
Was I running my mom’s cash table at her annual colossal yard sale? Was it my first day as a waitress at five minutes before the restaurant opened the door for business? Was I a first year teacher on the first morning of a new school year?
None of the above. Instead, it was my first time working as a volunteer at an all for One productions Home Stage Production. Prior to getting my assignment for the evening, I’d imagined myself selling or taking tickets, or handing out programs while serving as an usher. As it turned out, my job that night was to greet folks as they came up to the main level of the library from the parking garage and direct them down the Great Hall to the elevator which would take them to the basement level auditorium for All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
I needn’t have worried. People coming to a play are out for an evening of relaxation, entertainment, and social connections. They just want to make sure they’re headed in the right direction in a place where the auditorium door is not the first place they enter. So, they are glad for a little help along the way. And, they are more than willing to exchange pleasantries in the process. Thus, the volunteer “job” turns into the beginning of my evening of relaxation, entertainment, and social connections.
I’ll be honest and say that getting to see the play for free wasn’t an insignificant aspect of volunteering to help at an afO production that first time. (However, I’m not sure we were certain of the perk until after my husband and I had signed up to help.) But I also feel that volunteering is a chance to do something to keep afO going and growing in a community that welcomes the arts and embraces those artistic endeavors that are done with integrity, professionalism, and skillful excellence. That is what afO has stood for from the beginning and that is something I want to invest in.
The rub comes just there, though–we personally don’t find ourselves in a financial position to be “platinum donors” to the cause. But, time on a Friday or Saturday night (or a Sunday afternoon) is something we do have and is a donation we can match with afO’s need for any production. So, we are glad to fill the bill.
Do we enjoy getting a free ticket to afO productions? Certainly. Would we be willing to volunteer minus the perk? Likely so, because we believe there is a place in our community for theatre done with the heart and spirit and talent that afO brings to the stage every time the curtain goes up.