Day 5 In The Land of Corn

It’s 10:30 and I’m beat.  I’m just too old to be up till 5:30 on a school night.  I got about 4.5 hours of sleep last night.  The alarm went off at 11:30 and it felt like I had just gone to bed.  It also didn’t help that I dreamed about cockroaches.  It was very disturbing.  But I suppose this is what happens when you are having a good time with fellow artists.  The lack of sleep.  Not the cockroaches.

So for the updates.  This may be a long post.

First today:

I got up around 11:30, quickly showered and headed downstairs for coffee.  Everyone else was already up, showered and dressed by the time I got down there.  I had time for exactly 2.5 cups of coffee before I had to grab my stuff and head to the theatre.  Of course as with everyday, there was a stop at the Kum & Go.  How can I function with out a huge Diet Coke after my coffee.  And then to the theatre.

The piece I was watching today is by this incredible choreographer from Africa.  His dance is fused with traditional African dance and traditional modern.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on these things.  I do know this:  The piece if beautiful.  There are times I get goosebumps watching it and we haven’t added the real music nor lights to the piece.  It’s about 20 minutes long and I feel like I could watch for another 60 minutes without getting bored.  This also means that I’m excited and inspired for my design.  I have a lot of ideas that I’m going to be implementing over the next two or three days.  I’ll let you know how this goes.

These are some things that I saw in rehearsal over the past two days:

A female dance ran off the stage while the choreographer was teaching them a specific movement to text someone.  She was off the stage about six or seven minutes with no apologies.

Another female dance was suddenly struck with a coughing fit so had to leave the stage to get water.  And by water I mean text a friend.

The assistant stage manager showed up to rehearsal an 1:40 minutes late.  The Production Stage Manager was no where to be seen.

I should probably mention that there were four dancers missing.  And they were being taught entire sections of the piece and reworking existing sections.  This occurred yesterday.  Today one dancer was missing.  Her second day in a row.  The other three dancers were completely lost and the choreographer had to stop rehearsal to teach them the sections he taught yesterday.  The one who has missed two days in a row is going to be up shit creek when she returns.

During one part of the piece the dancers are in two groups.  Unfortunately (and I’m sure this was done before he realized it) the groups are paired in such a way that one group is really good and the other is completely awful.  Whoops.

The other thing that cracks me up is that although the dancers are young they act like they’ve run a marathon at times.  There is one section that all you can hear, even above the music is the dancers panting.

Of course there’s Christian, the only guy on stage.  He is beautiful.  I don’t know where he is from, but he’s a beautiful brown skinned boy who has a great body and is a terrific dancer.  I find myself watching him more than I should.

So that was rehearsal over the last two days.  As I said, I can’t wait to actually start turning lights on and off (cueing) and actually figure out if my ideas are going to work.

Another thing I’ve noticed in the past few days in Iowa.  There are no rolling stops at the stop signs.  In fact you must stop, wait 30 seconds, then motion for the other ten drivers who have come along since you’ve stopped to go in front of you, and THEN go.  All of this while I’m sitting behind you, late for rehearsal.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I got several phone calls, several emailed cards and a number of text messages and emails.  Here’s a question for you…Is it okay to text someone happy birthday when they are a good friend.  Perhaps it’s just me, but is it really too much trouble to pick up the phone and call.  Even if you have to make it quick.  It just seems like the right thing to do.  Getting a text from an acquaintance is fine.  But not someone you talk to all the time.

It was funny that my house mates found out it was my birthday.  When I returned from rehearsal yesterday and started in the house, I was stopped by Kim and asked if I was a card carrying member.  I had to be a card carrying member to enter.  I asked her what kind of a card and she said, “Well a business card, a Christmas card, or a birthday card.”  I said, “Well I don’t have a birthday card, but it is my birthday today.  She thought I was joking until I offered to show her my license.  They all sang happy birthday to me.  Then Celia sang it to me in Hebrew and then Christian (a differnent Christian) sang something to me in his African language.  It was very sweet.

Almost as soon as I got home we had to leave to go to a gathering at the department’s lighting designer’s house.  This is the person who got the job that I applied for last year.  I’d love to say that it’s not uncomfortable, but he’s just weird.  We got to his house, and my first course of action…determine if he’s gay or not.  I just can’t tell.  There are things that scream gay.  There are things that scream straight.  His apartment was no help at all.  There were very nice things that I would have owned and other things that said, straight male.  It was hard to tell.

There were about 15 people there.  Essentially all the people working on the show.  It was an okay gathering.  There wasn’t nearly enough food.  He ran out before everyone was fed.  And then some people were forced to  sit on the floor because there weren’t enough chairs, even though there is a department full of chairs a few blocks away.  And then the more interesting part.  There were five of us left at the end of the evening.  Chatting.  And the host of the party was completely disengaged.  He was not participating in the conversation and at times he appeared completely bored.  I really got the feeling that he wanted us to leave.  I even tried to engage him in lighting speak but he was having no part of that.  I could not quite figure him out.

Soon enough we headed home.  I had my ride drop me off at the grocery store to buy beer and wine.  The choreographer and I were going to have a beer or two and discuss his dances.  And that’s what we did.  This took maybe an hour.  Then his wife decided she was going to make popcorn.  So she went to the kitchen which is adjacent to the living room started the popcorn and then came back to continue the conversation.   We were in the middle of this conversation when we all looked up and there were HUGE clouds of black smoke pouring out of the kitchen filling the rest of the house.  Before we could even move the fire alarms were going off.  These were not normal household smoke detectors.  These are large scale, industrial fire alarms.  The kind with strobe lights that flash and are loud enough to do permanent damage to your ears.  We jumped up and started opening all the windows and doors.  By this time the smoke had permeated the entire house.  It was the smell of burnt popcorn.  By this time, we realized the popcorn wasn’t just burned it was decimated.  It was a charred mess when we opened the bag.  Once all the window were opened I ran up to my room closed the door to call security and tell them there wasn’t a fire, that we had burned popcorn and set off the alarm.  As I was coming back down the stairs security entered the house and shut off the alarm.  There was still a ringing in my ears.  We explained what happened and he assured us that he had seen worse before.  The smell of burnt popcorn is still in the air 24 hours later.

The rest of the night involved the four of us sitting in the kitchen drinking wine and beer talking about life, art, dance and theatre.  It was never an argument.  Just four artists engaged in conversation about our lives.  As we talked, the beer and wine flowed, and when we looked up it was 4:00 a.m.  The night had vanished in a flash.  Everyone went to bed and I took five minutes to write a post and then I followed.

The only other thing of note was dinner tonight.  When everyone else got here they laughed at the food choices, I picked up at Wal-Mart.  They were all essentially microwavable meals.  Things I could cook in five minutes between rehearsals or at midnight when I was home for the night.  I was given a lot of grief about this along with my ten 12-packs of Diet Coke in the corner.  (It HAS to last 17 days.)  After they stopped giving me grief (and might I just add that I find it funny that people who smoke berate me about drinking Diet Coke.  I’m sure that in 20 years we’ll discover that it causes cancer.  Maybe.  But we’ve known for forty years that smoking causes cancer.  So which is worse?) they invited me to join them for dinner and that they would cook enough for all of us.

Tonight was our first dinner together.  And OH, MY GOD WAS IT GOOD!!!  It was the first real home cooked meal I’ve had in forever.  It was a very spicy chicken soup/stew that took about 90 minutes to make.  It involved a whole chicken, carrots, green beans, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, tomato paste, and a few other things.  We were all starved by the time it was finished around 8:00.  It was great.  It was very spicy, but the flavor was perfect.  And it looked easy to make.  They’ve promised to give me the recipe, so perhaps I can have a dinner party that doesn’t involve spaghetti pie.  Wouldn’t that be great.

So it’s 11:00 and I have to head to bed.  I have to be at work at 8:30 tomorrow and I won’t leave until around 9:00 tomorrow night.  It’s going to be a long stressful, fun day.

Have a great week everyone.

One quick note:  It’s now 11:15 and security just came by…to make sure we were okay.  After the fire alarm.  Last night.  The rang the doorbell at 11:15.  At night.  In the PM.  When everyone else has been in bed for an hour.  To check on us.  After an alarm that occurred 24 hours ago.  I’m perplexed.  Surely they could have come by at say:  4:00.  Or even 8:00.  I’m just saying.


4 thoughts on “Day 5 In The Land of Corn

  1. urspo April 14, 2008 / 00:20

    i was out of town, in Palm Springs, Land of Old Queens.
    I am sorry I missed your birthday.
    I over you many happy returns for the new year.
    Don’t let the Corn People get to you…

  2. Lemuel April 14, 2008 / 08:40

    oh, the smell of burnt popcorn is nasty! I hope it is easing by now.

    I think you are correct, the host wanted you to leave.

    The soup sounds great. You *ARE* going to share the recipe if you get it, aren’t you! 🙂

  3. Sarah April 14, 2008 / 16:23

    Maybe the lingering smell of burnt popcorn caused the security people to think there was yet another popcorn bag burning in the microwave.

  4. Donnie April 16, 2008 / 12:23

    That might be one of my top 5 least favorite smells…burnt microwave popcorn. Sounds like you’re having a blast. 😉

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