Day 3 — Cando, North Dakota

When I woke up today I was in Cando, North Dakota, population 1, 235.  So named by Capt. Prosper Parker who on February 14, 1884 said,

“…and in virtue of our authority we select this location and name the town ‘Cando’ to show you that we can do it.”

It’s a lovely little town although it’s a little hotter than it was in NYC.  The temperature here is getting up to the 90’s each day.  So I’ve sort of gone from winter to summer with out the chance to see spring.

So it’s been an interesting day overall.  I didn’t get to bed until almost 5:00 a.m. this morning.  We were up late trying to decide what to do with the firing of the scenery designer, how to proceed once it was done, and what we were going to do if she did decided not to do costumes which she is also designing.  So around 5:00 I finally got to sleep.  At around 9:30 there was a knock on my door.  I ignored it.  At around 11:00 there was a knock on my door again.  So I asked who it was.  It was Mike, my assistant master electrician.  So I got up and opened the door and asked him what he wanted.  He told me they had found the TV that I was looking for and had brought it to my room.  I said great and asked them to bring it in.  As they walked in they started giving me shit about still being in bed, and then I explained that I was up late and that unfortunately this time it wasn’t drinking beer.

And then I went back to bed and slept until the alarm went off at 12:30.  The little meeting we were having to deal with our problem was supposed to start at 2:00.  At 2:00 when no one had come by to pick me up, I called to find out what was going on.  I was informed that the meeting was pushed back to 3:45.  Damn, I could still be sleeping.

So at 3:45, Kelly the stage manager, and I arrived to take part in the execution.  We were both a little nervous because we weren’t sure how the set designer was going to react.  And so we all took our seat around the table and the artistic director started.  And if I hadn’t known better, I would have sworn he was about to give her a raise.  He was praising her efforts and telling her how much we appreciated her work, and blah, blah, blah.  Then he said that he felt she should concentrate more on the costume designs, since she seemed overwhelmed by it all.  She admitted that she was, but felt it was all coming together.  He then told her that I, along with the two TD’s and Kelly would be willing to take over some of the duties and that she would now be more of a consultant.  And so it continued, and finally he stopped and said, “Does anyone else have anything they’d like to add?”   And well, I did what had to be done.  I set the record straight.  I made it clear that she was no longer going to be dealing with the scenery designs, that we as a group would make any future decisions.  I told her that we would do our best to honor her concepts but things had to change to make the shows work.  I told her that the reasons we were doing this was because there were major design flaws and we didn’t have two weeks for her to figure out the problem and fix it.  I told her that we appreciated the work the she had done, but that we no longer needed her help.

To which she said, “This is the color the of fabric I think we should use in Act 2.”  And we all just looked at her.

And I said, “Okay.  We’ll take that in to consideration.”  To which she said, “When do you want paint elevations (small drawings of what the painting of the show looks like so the scenic artist can paint it to look like what it’s supposed to look like) by.  And we all just looked at her.

To which I said.  “We don’t need paint elevations.  I don’t think we’ll be needing anymore information from you at all.”  And then I added, “Well is there anything else we need to discuss, because if not then I have a lot of work I need to do.”  Thanks.”

And thus I fired my first person from a job.  It was kind of fun, in a Mean Girls sort of way.

Kelly, and the two TD’s and I gathered at a local pizza place to figure out what the set was going to look like.  We made some executive decisions and came up with a game plan.  We figured out what each show needed, how we could accomplish it, and whether we could afford it.

And then we went to the artistic director’s house (at 11:30 p.m.) to discuss our ideas with him.  He’s not the easiest person to deal with.  He gets bogged down in the little things and forgets that if we don’t figure out the big picture the rest doesn’t matter.  It took almost 2 hours to get through the first show.  And we still had two more to go.  Each time it was a matter of keeping him focused and explaining our ideas.  There were also a couple of times he said, “But that’s not what we talked about.  The scenery designer said it would look  like this.”  And I would politely say, “Well then perhaps you should be meeting with her, and we can all go home and go to bed.”  And then he would sigh.   There were also a number to times he told us what the original ideas were and none of us had even heard of them.  It would have made the afternoon a little more productive if we had known all of this stuff.  We left his house around 2:30 a.m.  We were all wiped out and one of the TD’s was very cranky.  He’s convinced himself that it’s going to be too much work and it can’t be done.  We are hoping that he’s just tired and that some sleep will help him change his mind.  We’ll see.

And that my friend is Day Three in Cando, North Dakota. I chose to go to Cando today, because if there was ever a day that I needed to remember that I can do, it’s today.

Where I should go tomorrow?

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8 thoughts on “Day 3 — Cando, North Dakota

  1. Lemuel May 23, 2008 / 05:09

    Well, I like Gaysport and I like to Study Butte. And I know I Cando! If only someone would accommodate me, I’d be there with you, Maddog! 😉 [Keep it up. This is fun!]

    BTW, the first name of the fired designer doesn’t happen to be Hillary, does it?

  2. Rick May 23, 2008 / 06:18

    I’ve been had. Okay, I’m onto the game. Clever.

  3. Sarah May 23, 2008 / 07:13

    That was one bad firing.

    Would you be able to meet me in Indianapolis this weekend? I’ll be there to witness the spectacle of Americana known as the Indy 500.

  4. Mike G May 23, 2008 / 07:31

    How about Paris – Paris, Texas. I hear they have a deep and abiding appreciation for theatrical scene design work.

  5. Bill May 23, 2008 / 10:26

    I’d recommend Goose Pimple Junction, Virginia, but you can’t find it on a map any longer since it was incorporated as part of Bristol. My parents lived there while their house in the mountains was being built. It’s where Tennessee Ernie Ford was from.

  6. "Joe" May 23, 2008 / 16:58

    Actually, near Goose Pimple Junction (and I have been there!), somewhere in the backwoods, there is Smack Ass Branch. And don’t forget Backboone Rock, on the way to Shady Valley!

    Goodness, you do get around!

  7. Daniel May 23, 2008 / 20:14

    Gotta love show biz, where survival is almost exactly the same as being a star.

  8. urspo May 25, 2008 / 23:46

    I sometimes wonder if you make these places up; but I happend to know North Dakota tends to move things around to confuse anway.

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