How many times in your life have you seen a one hundred dollar bill? Or, for that matter, a two dollar bill? Maybe I am the only one who thinks this way, but I don’t exactly go around toting big or rare dollar bills in my wallet, especially not to pay for a theatre show that is going to cost me an Abraham Lincoln if I time it right. When Maegan Azar, the director of These Shining Lives, assigned me the position of box office manager for the run of the show, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. I am theatre major, and I wanted to throw myself into the production in a “meaningful” way. I still get a laugh from friends who offer to see the show to support me when I reply, “Well if you do, I’ll sell you your ticket,” but this job is not what I expected, and in all seriousness, I believe it has taught me to be a better member of my theatre community.

Some days it’s quiet. Sometimes I have two and a half hour shifts where I answer the occasional phone call and mostly get caught up on homework for my neuroscience related classes. But even that has its charms, being in the theatre when no one else is, enjoying the hush of my favorite building on campus, and answering the phone on the second ring with a cheerful: “Furman Theatre, this is Lauren, how may I help you?” like I practically own the place. But sometimes it is a mad house, and your adrenaline is pumping and people are paying for an eight dollar ticket with a one hundred dollar bill and people who didn’t have seats next to one another suddenly want seats next to one another and people are simultaneously trying to order tickets for future shows and you can barely breathe from the stress of it, but you still have to smile and remember to say: “Enjoy the show!” It’s work. I’ll be honest, sometimes I still dread it….but never once I am in the thick of it. I realize that I am an asset to the cast and crew by doing what I do, and moreover I earn the trust of the director and therefore the faculty by doing it. I cannot just expect a place at the heart of the theatre I love so much. I have to earn it. Each night when I set up behind the box office booth, I do that, and I sincerely hope that I am making my theatre community proud. It’s true what they say: there are no small roles (on or off stage), only small actors. I want to be larger than life.

I am trying to be innovative with my job. I feel like that is important when you take on any position. You see what you can do to make it new, to make it shine. So I contacted the art department and secured an original work by a Furman student for the lobby. I set up a display of newspaper clippings from the actual events that inspired the play. I designed a “good luck telegram” for the cast members. I did what I could to make my job my own, and I have earned the respect and the trust of the head of box office affairs as well as the director and the stage manager. And besides, how can a job be boring when you get to know before everyone else whether or not a show sells out?! I really can’t ask for more than that!

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