Day 16 In The Land of Corn, Tech is over, and Day 2 of The Cast

Day two in the cast.

It’s not fun.  That much I know.  Sleep was rather difficult last night.  I can’t sleep on my back so actually trying to sleep with my leg elevated is not possible.  Finally I gave up on the leg elevation thing rolled on to my side and went to sleep.  Unfortunately, I move a lot in my sleep.  And this is a bit of a problem when your ankle is broken.  Every time I turned over I would catch the cast and pull it and this would cause shooting pains in my ankle.  So I was waking myself up every two hours or so.  And then this morning I rolled out of bed and didn’t even realize I had a cast on till I was standing up right and almost fell down from the pain.  Whoops.  Luckily everyone is still taking care of me.  I didn’t wake up till 3:00 p.m. today and when I got downstairs they made me coffee, got me a chair to prop up my leg and then fetched me refills on my coffee when I needed them.  (I hope you are taking notes on what I expect when I get home CZ.)

I didn’t get up till 3:00 p.m. because I only slept about 2 hours the night before and the stress of the break, the show, the pain pills, the freaking out, etc.  finally caught up to me and except for waking myself up I was out to the world.  Even when I did wake myself up I was back to sleep within minutes.  I still feel tired and everyone  at work still comments on how tired I look.  It’s not doing a thing for my complexion either.

Downstairs we all chatted for a bit.  And then  the conversation turned to the gathering we are having tonight.  I kind of roped us all in to hosting a gathering for all the grown ups working on the project along with all the grown ups from the department.  Unfortunately with my foot, it kind of made it hard to walk to the store to get things.  So I asked Kim, who was a party to this decision if she could go without me.  And the response I got from her was similar to the response I would expect to get from her if I said I was going to microwave her puppy.  She was appalled.  She was taken aback.  There was no way possible she could do this.  It was too much work.  It was too much money.  It was to much _____________________.  It was too much this ______________.  I didn’t even know how to respond.  I told her that if money was the issue I’d just give her my ATM card and she could get money out of the bank or even use it to pay for the groceries.  It’s not like we were talking millions of dollars here.  It’s Iowa.  People will stay for one beer, eat a cracker and be home by 10:30.  (That’s how it was too.)  She was even more appalled at the suggestion of using my credit card than she was at asking her to go to the store in the first place.  Finally the wife of the choreographer stepped up to the plate and said she would go.  I was still trying to take in Kim’s whole response.  My final realization today is that she’s just Bat-Shit looney.  And that’s with a capital B.  And a capital S.  And a capital L.

At 4:00 I headed to school to rehearse with the irresponsible ass who didn’t show up for tech last night.  I got there around 4:15 to make a point only to discover that I wasn’t actually supposed to be there till  4:30 p.m.  And wouldn’t  you know it…at 4:30 the little bastard was nowhere to be found.  He didn’t show up till around 4:40.  And he swept in and the first thing he said was, “Are we doing a photo shoot for this today?”  And before anyone else could speak I said, “No perhaps you didn’t realize that was last night…no today.”  He sort of scowled and ran to get on stage.  And so we spent the ten minutes it took to run the piece and he left.  There was no thank you for coming in to help me.  There was no sorry to hear about your foot.  There was no I’m so, so, so sorry that I missed tech last night.  It was all about him when he arrived and it was all about him when he left.  And I told my friend who is the artistic director of the show that I was done with him.  Done.  Any respect I had for him is gone and that it would be best to keep him away from me, lest I tell him what I really think.  He’s not been within ten feet of me since.

And after the thankless rehearsal I came home to take a bath.  I can’t shower because I’m scared I’ll fall trying to shower on one foot while trying to clean myself.  Just imagine what it would be like if I broke the other ankle.  Once I got up I couldn’t muster the energy to bathe.  It’s a timely process now.  I have to get my pants off to start with, which is a chore.  I have the big bulky cast, and I can’t put any weight on my left leg, and I can’t bend it up to pull the pant leg off.  So it’s a bit of an ordeal.  And then I have to put the water tight thing on my leg which is another chunk of time.  And then I have to climb into the bathtub without slipping, without falling, and once again without putting any weight on my left leg.  And then I don’t remember the last time I took a bath to cleanse myself.  I have take lots of baths to relax.  You know, get a couple of candles, a glass of wine, a good book, some bubble bath, some very hot water.  You settle in for a 30-45 minute world of relaxation.  But you aren’t trying to soap yourself up with one hand while the other one steadies you, once again so that you don’t put any undue pressure on the left leg.  The whole point of this is, that once I got home I decided it was just too much work to take a bath.  So I had a couple of beers instead and was given instruction on how to make Spicy Chicken Soup.

And then I headed to school.  I get there much later than a normal stage manager.  I tried for the first couple of days to  be a normal stage manager.  But I decided that I wasn’t being paid enough,  and the students weren’t respectful enough to bother.  So no I show up at aroun 6:45-7:00 for an 8:00 curtain.  I check in with everyone and then sit myself in the back of the house with a chair under my foot.  And I sat there until it was time to open the house.  I loved that process to.  At 7:31 the house manager (a student) came up to me and said, “We normally open the house at 7:30 so I’m on my way to do that.”  To which I replied, “Normally the stage manager gives the okay to open the house…not the house manager.  And as you can see by the ladder on stage, we are really not ready to do that.  I’ll come to the lobby when we are.”  He sort of sulked away.  And so about three or four minutes later I went out and told him to open the house.  And he did and 12 people walked in.  He was all worried about the house opening for 12 people.  Are you fucking kidding me?

At that point I headed down to the restroom.  The light booth where I call the show, like in any theatre is at the back of the house in the highest position.  This one is up a VERY long flight of stairs.  So when I go up at the top of the show, I stay there till it’s over.  This means that I have to pee before the show starts if I’m going to make it.  So I take the elevator down to the restroom in the basement.  It takes longer to get there than the one down the hall, but it’s a hell of a lot fewer steps.  When I return I stop outside the theatre to chat with Kim (the crazy lady) and am standing there when Ellen walks up.

Some background on Ellen.  She’s been teaching in the theatre department for 30 years.  She’s a Ph.d. but has never published so has never made full professor.  She says that there have been no playwrights of value since Brecht died.  The only people who should teach in theatre departments are Ph.d.’s.  Last year when they were looking for a lighting/scenic design teacher she wanted to only accept Ph.d. designers. (By the way they are few and far between.  She has made it clear that she thinks designer’s are useless and are not needed to create theatre.  Two years ago when she directed whatever play she was doing she created 250 pages of dramaturgy materials to hand out to each and every audience member.  She hates everyone in the department.  And everyone hates her.  She goes out of her way to make life miserable for each and every person she encounters.  She is so bad that the new design teacher didn’t have to design for her this year because they were afraid she would cause him to quit.  I hope you are getting a vivid picture here.

So Ellen, was on sabbatical last year when I was here so I never had the pleasure of knowing her.  And I have been here for more than two weeks and I haven’t met her.  So tonight I was standing in the lobby talking to Kim when this gray haired woman started walking toward me.  I knew who she was the minute I saw her.  And so she approaches, reaches out her hand and said, “You must be Maddog.  I’m Ellen.”  I smile (with horrible thought going through my head) and say, “Yes, I’m Maddog.  It’s nice to meet you.”  What I wanted to say  was, “Ah, YOU’RE Ellen.  I’ve heard SOOOO much about you.”  I was told this wouldn’t be a good idea.  The very next thing she says to me is, “Who’s calling the show.  I thought you were the stage manager.”  I replied, I am.  And she replied, “Well don’t you think you should be in the booth.  It is almost time to start the show.”  And within two sentences it was confirmed that she was as much of a bitch as I had been  told she was.

And so then the show started and it went perfectly.  I was early on one cue but no one noticed, not even the choreographer.  And it was over in a flash.  After the show, I went downstairs to say hello to everyone and go to the reception.  The reception consists of cake bought from the local grocery store.  And so I stood around while the student ate cake and the faculty stood around waiting for an acceptable time to leave.  And I chatted and I chatted.  And I realized as the time passed that not one student had come up to me to thank me.  And don’t get me wrong.  I don’t do this to get thanks from the cast.  But I also know that in just about every situation I have designed in everyone goes around on opening night saying thank you for making the show look as great as it did.  And we thank them for doing a good job.  And it’s a love fest.  And everyone leaves happy.  Not the case here.  The student’s all congratulated each other.  But that was where it ended.  And I realized that they really are a bunch of self centered, egotistical, spoiled children.  They take everything for granted and expect even more than they are given.  They are entitled to it and get angry when it’s not delivered.  Kim actually hit the nail on the head to day when she said,

“Well at least I’ve learned on thing working on this project.  I now know where the center of the fucking universe is.”

And that’s a wrap.

Tune in tomorrow for pictures of the gay pride parade.  (I’m not kidding)

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6 thoughts on “Day 16 In The Land of Corn, Tech is over, and Day 2 of The Cast

  1. Rick April 26, 2008 / 07:35

    Okay, so now you’ve moved your header to nasty cheddar toes. Are you trying to make me hurl my morning coffee?

    Glad to hear the show went well. That Ellen Ph.D. certainly does sound like a bitch. Sounds as if she’s trying to make herself feel a little more important than she really is.

  2. Mike G April 26, 2008 / 11:07

    You should get a job where you can sit down while you work, otherwise you’re going to go batshit crazy with this cast on, dude. Doing the NYC subway bus commute with that thing? Please. Maybe a customer service call center job where you can still talk (as you are wont to do) at least for a couple of months til you heal.

  3. Lemuel April 26, 2008 / 13:42

    Loved reading this although I’m sure you did not love living it. Congrats on the shows success. I’m just sitting here shaking my head over these students. You’ve not named the school. You don’t have to. We all know now its Ego U.

  4. Peter April 26, 2008 / 14:50

    Do I read it right? …for pictures of the gay pride parade… Your toes now have all the colours of the rainbow?!

  5. Sarah April 26, 2008 / 19:50

    Fo rthe love of Zeus, take down those scary toes! Eeeewwwww!

    Glad to hear you got some sleep.

    You all should write letters of reference for the students and recount exactly what it was like to work with them.

    Did you tell Kim that you have a broken ankle and are wearing a cast? Just wondering because her behavior makes me wonder if she was aware of it. I’m sure if she had known she would have had no problem going to the fucking store by herself.

  6. Bill April 27, 2008 / 08:27

    I’ll bet that your toes aren’t your best physical features. Just hazarding a guess based on the pictures.

    I got 9+ hours of sleep last night. For me, this is close to a near-death experience. I usually get between 2-4 hours with Mr. Sandman. I was all ‘tard-out’ from walking around the Washington Zoo all day. The confined animals were much more civilized than the ones outside the pens looking in. They didn’t look or act as crazy, either.

    I’m going to miss your Iowa stories.

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