The hardest job I've ever had was hauling hay. I think it was because I felt like I was going to seriously die after one day of work. The pain that I felt in my forearms and wrists and all through my body that day was excruciating. It was like I was going to die. I remember sitting on the couch after that day thinking that I would never recover. Never get through this.
I have been crouched on my knees until 2am in the morning painting a set floor with little squares. I have worked in the back yard until the sun went down on a two story set. I have created countless shows with countless theatrical designs either by myself or with a family. It required me to be extremely tough and resilient to complete this rigorous work. But it was extremely rewarding and had nothing to do with monetary gain. It was ultimately so the show could go up. Working hard and being set tough has it's advantages and disadvantages. But it ultimately taught me a very valuable lesson. And that lesson is:
"Hard work is it's own reward."
Many individuals look at an opportunity to work as an opportunity to get money. If you're not paying me, then why should I do it? What is the ultimate end goal of what you're doing. Are you able to lift 50-150 lb platforms on a regular basis? Are you able to load weights at the height of 50 feet? Are you able to not get vertigo when you climb ladders? Are you able to truly feel uncomfortable for weeks without sleeping well or having a moment of rest? Then you might be a stagehand.
Those who think that theatre is not hard work are those who are usually leaving when the work starts to get hard. It's those who have something else to do when there is a work call. Because those who really love what they are doing run to the theatre. Like me. They run to it and say, "Look at what I get to do today?" I get to build another world. Yay!!
And it's a hard work with little or no reward. It's craftsmanship. It's looking back at what you've created and saying, "I built that." It's looking back on all of the pictures and having all of the stories. It's having built a lifetime of homes and lived in them for a brief moment.
Why on earth would someone do that? Well, because they love it. That's why.