I had to leave the pH training program

I left the pH theater’s pHarm House program today, in the last week of level 1 out of 4. There was no crazy blowup or walkout. I just made the decision on my end and let them know today.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been quite busy, but things lately have felt different. I have other projects I want to work on and need to work on. The nights and days off I have been home, I’ve taken notice of how hungry I’ve been for that recovery time. I haven’t had the time to do the things I passionately want to do (e.g. notice how little I’ve been writing!).

I’ve taken stock of what I’m getting from each of my respective projects versus the time, money and effort I’m investing in those endeavors. Over the last month I have gotten much more savage and blunt in evaluating whether or not I really need to be doing something, how much of my time and effort it’s taking, and whether that time and effort could and should be used elsewhere.

While I liked the pHarm House classes and shows, it did take a chunk out of 1-2 of my nights a week, and of course the tuition is not free.

I am working more on the side to save money and repay debts. I also quickly realized I am already practicing quite a bit of improv, and getting a lot from that.

I already have a weekly commitment with a regular team, am training on the weekend with another program, and barnstorming occasionally with another indie team. On top of that, my iO 5B shows are in process through April, and of course I have a full time weekday job that requires an hour long commute each way.

My diet is much easier to maintain when I can be home and comfortably prepare meals. I get more rest when I have more flexible time. After a year of intense training, and with a current regular practice, there is no need to push myself further unless it’s seriously warranted.

And right now I am frankly worn out. I feel like I’m running from thing to thing to thing without really experiencing it, and that’s not good. That’s exactly the kind of lifestyle I dreaded adopting.

When I get a couple days off, I feel better, but my schedule’s not allowing that right now. If I left the program, that freedom would become more consistent.

I like the pH theater, and I liked my instructor and classmates. I did learn some unique things about character work and scene dynamics. The lessons were useful but I wasn’t hungry for the knowledge, and part of that was just everything else I need to work on and want to work on. I didn’t want to invest in something that I knew would only be a low to medium priority to me.

There was also the issue that I’m training with CIC, and that program’s Thursday grad shows (which I would get to do in the Fall) would have directly conflicted with pH’s weekly program shows. I would have had to burn someone anyway. I’m already missing half the pH shows due to my weekly team commitments. Because it’s a cumulative and singular program, I could not have taken two months off during the CIC grad shows.

I also didn’t totally mesh with the theater’s programming and culture. That’s not a huge factor, but it was a factor.

Given all that, the choice became sadly easy. I wish everyone I worked with there the best, but this was a much needed decision. It’s a sad relief, in a sense. It was definitely much more about me than it was about them. It’s actually a really good program and I encourage people wanting a year long performance commitment and the opportunity to get better at fast improv to give it a shot.

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