You're Allowed to Call "Hold"

For those of you who are not aware, in the theatre we have this thing where you’re allowed to call “hold.”

What does that mean…?”

Excellent question!

During the tech process of a show, it is common practice that anyone in the room is allowed to call “hold!” and stop the rehearsal process. This could be due to a safety concern, a missing element (prop, costume, light, etc), something that went wrong onstage or backstage, a person missing an entrance, needing to fix a technical moment, a mis-fired cue…or for so many more reasons.

Basically, you can call “hold” for anything major that goes wrong because everything is a priority.

I want to repeat this.

Anyone in the room is allowed to call “hold” because everything is a priority. And not a single person in that room will (rightly) judge you for it.

Okay. So what?

Life is a Constant Tech Process

This idea of being able to put a hold on the main action should not only apply to the tech process of putting up a theatrical show, but this should apply to our lives as well.

  • A show is a routine - a well-oiled machine that is done the same way and (hopefully) correctly every time.

  • Life is a routine - things may change daily, but we basically have an idea of what we want or need to do, and hope that we are going to do it correctly every time.

In each case we are expected to perform the tasks set before us as close to perfection as we possibly can. But I think we need to start thinking of daily life less like a performance, and more like a tech process.

Every day we have things we need to do and/or want to do, just like a tech rehearsal, but sometimes we need to pause what we are doing because something else briefly takes priority. And that’s okay.

It can be something positive, neutral, negative, or any combination thereof, but if something comes up that requires your attention then you should feel free to attend to that thing and not feel guilty about it. No one can rightly judge you for pausing your routine and taking care of a priority, and nor should they.

Your life is not a performance, and it is certainly not something to be performed for other people.

You are allowed to call “hold” any time you need to.

And so for me, dear reader, I am calling “hold” on my normal lengthy, in-depth blog post - due to some priority work that has fallen into my lap over the past week - and I will be leaving it here for this time.

But remember, this life is yours. Take control when you need it. I, at the very least, support your decision.