All the Code's a Stage

I am an actor first, then a coder.

This doesn't mean I'm deceiving you, or making stuff up as I go (although sometimes I am), it means I come at things with an artists mindset first, before I put on my coder hat.

Therefore, I think about what the end result should be. What is the original intent? How do these characters, these intertwined variables, play into each other? What is their effect on each other variable? Why? Why approach the project at all? What does this project mean in today's world? What problems does this project attempt to solve? How can my contribution make this better? The same questions I would ask to approach a script are the same questions I would use to approach any other project.

Acting is grueling work. It is hours upon hours in and out of rehearsal dedicated to this role. It invades the mindspace. Every thought and feeling is filtered through the lens of the character's. This changes, too. Through the process I interact with my cast mates who are processing their characters as well, and their interpretation affects my own. In time, a fluidity begins and slowly the entirety of the show takes shape. Small chunks become whole scenes become whole acts become an entire show, beginning middle and end, and then...

We go to tech.

A rehearsal space is a fine place to experiment, to conjure from nothing a seed of something. But the show does not take place in the rehearsal space, the show takes place with lights, and sets, costumes and sound. The show is repeated again and again in front of a theater filled with people so dense they sit shoulder to shoulder, watching.

Tech is the debug process. Running the variables over and over in concert until it works well enough to repeat. An actor has been working hard perfecting their role but so has everyone else. Everyone has their well thought out and articulated plan. Tech just happens to be the one fateful week they all collide in hopes that after much wrestling they begin to waltz.

And then it goes live.

I suspect there is at least one person who will watch a show with the sadistic wish that the entire thing collapses. That an actor forgets their lines and the curtains catch as they shut in embarrassment.

But often, it doesn't. It just works. The actors, they bow, and for a moment they point at the crew that make it possible, the team that wears black and has until now gone unnoticed.

And then it's over.

The audience goes home. The floors are swept. The lights turn off. The doors are locked. Tomorrow they will do it again.

This isn't all that different than an app.

Backend and frontend must meet and coalesce like a spotlight to an actor. The images and text must align perfectly on every screen, on every device, much as every audience member must be able to witness the same show from every seat in a grand theater the size of a stadium.

The group of files that was once sitting on my desktop, the same files I poured over, cried over, sweated bullets for, and thought about gratuitously, is now being meticulously inspected by another ill meaning user, hoping to find a flaw. I suspect they are wishing to see the whole thing crash as they breathe swiftly outward through their nose in a silent laugh and creased smile. Statistically there is at least one of them.

Theater is the art working with lots of great artists to make one greater piece of art. Some of them are in the room, some of them no one in the building will ever meet. Some of these artists are flexible and great to work with, while others are obstinate and borderline psychos. Everyone is replaceable, and everyone adds something unique and amazing.

Great shows can change lives.

Coding is the art of working with lots of coders to make one piece of great code. Some of them are in the room, some of them no one in the building will ever meet. Some of these coders are flexible and great to work with, while others are obstinate and borderline psychos. Everyone is replaceable, and everyone adds something unique and amazing.

Great code can change lives.