Day 39

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Another Opening, Another Show — Day 38

Show #3 opened tonight.

The cow was white as milk.

The cape was red as blood.

The hair was yellow as corn.

The slippers were pure as gold.

And the show was good.  Not great.  But in the end it came together and I think it’s an above average production.  The audience tonight really seemed to like it.  They laughed in all the right places and were blown away by a couple of moments in the show.

The lighting is okay.  I watched from the house tonight.  Which means that I sat in the audience just like everyone else and experienced the show.  And nothing makes you realize what needs to be fixed in the show than having an audience with you.  Suddenly all the flaws are there for the world to see and for the first time you see them.  That’s how I felt tonight.  The lighting is pretty.  But some of the timings are off.  And there are a couple of scenes that the actors faces are in shadow so much that you can’t see them.  And there are several songs that need to have cues added to them because musically/emotionally the songs change and need changes.

I don’t feel bad about the lighting.  I doubt very seriously if the best NYC Broadway designer could have done a better job.  I was given three seconds to do my job.  In those three seconds I wrote 300 light cues for a three hour musical.  And sure I got some things wrong.  But I did a lot right.  And at the end of the day I think the only people who would realize that there’s a problem is another lighting designer.  Everyone I’ve spoken to, thinks the lighting is what saved the show.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know it’s okay.

We had our opening night party tonight.  You know, the one where the crew gets shunned to the back table, if there’s even a table provided for them.  Well tonight, I left the theatre as soon as the show was over and I got to the restaurant and I commandeered the one table everyone else likes.  I reserved ten chairs and ordered a beer and waited.  And as people came in and tried to sit at my table I told them sorry, these chairs are reserved.  No I’m not kidding.  These chairs are reserved.  Yes, I’m being serious.  A couple of people got snippy about it, but I was all prepared with my speech if someone really gave me a hard time.  I think the person who was the most annoyed was “The Director”, because it just  so happens that it’s the table that he usually sits at.  But he got over it.  One of the actors that I love, made some snarky comment, jokingly about it, and I told her that if anyone really had a problem with the crew sitting up front and center then I would recommend to the crew that they stay home tomorrow for the matinee and see just how important the actors are with out sets, costumes or lights.  I think I made my point.

All of the crew tonight before the show opened, got cards from “The Director” thanking them and promising to buy their first beer tonight at the bar.  It was a small gesture but it went a long way with the crew.  And so we had a good time and laughed and teased each other and eventually the evening ended.  And the crew got their checks to pay for their food.  And none of their drinks were paid for.  And there were no excuses made.  And the crew paid, and tipped and we all came home.  And I think they’ve all decided to give their cards back to him tomorrow, to make a point.

I hope they do.  He didn’t have to promise to buy their drinks.  But once he did he should have been bound to do so.  At least in my opinion.  But what do I know?  I’m just the lighting designer.

Day, Florida — Day 36

My day at a glance:

7:45  Alarm goes off  (Yes, I know it’s early for me).

8:10  Out of bed

8:35  Out the door and into car with Kelly

9:05  Arrive at the theatre  (Had to stop for Kelly’s breakfast and my Diet Coke (I actually got two.  You can never have enough)).

9:10:   Started cuing through the show.  I was working fast and furious to redo that cues in the show that sucked last night, or needed fixing.  I’m famous for just writing cue 95 — Ugly.  Which doesn’t tell me why it’s ugly, just that it needs work.

11:35  Stopped cuing so the electrics crew could eat lunch.

12:05  “The Director” started working problem parts of the show with actors.  “The Director” needed the house lights on (who the fuck knows why) so I couldn’t cue over them.

12:25  Am told that “The Director” does not need lights for the rest of the things he’s working.  Send the crew on break

12:26  Am asked by “The Director” to brink up the lights for the scene up right.  I tell him no.  The light board op is on break.  So he says, “Well then what do the lights look like for this scene?”  I haven’t been paying attention so I don’t even know what part of the play they are working on.  So I tell him I don’t know what they look like.  He grunts and moves on.

1:00  Crew starts prepping for the orchestra dress.  I wander around aimlessly being bombarded with questions and concerns about the costumes.  It’s been decided that I can fix all the issues with light.  I’m good but not that good.

1:35  “The Director” sends the assistant director out to get a red cape something.  He’s been told by the cast that if he doesn’t fix the issues with the costumes they are going to change the words to the opening song to:

The cape as pink as rose

The shoes as black as night

The hair as yellow as dishwater

The cow as brown as plywood.

I think he realizes he’s about to have a revolt on his hands and decides to do what he can.

1:55  Places are called for the top of the show

2:05  The house lights dim, the conductor light comes on.  The show begins.

2:05 – 4:40  The show goes and goes and goes.  And lots of things go wrong.  I have a blackout recorded into the show so I send the stage to darkness while a duet is being performed.  The sound board op and Kelly get out of sync so the sound cues are all mixed up.  One of the girls playing a lead can’t be heard over the orchestra which seems to come as a surprise even though yesterday I couldn’t hear her over the piano.  The cow in the play falls apart and won’t stay upright.  The same girl mentioned a sentence ago doesn’t know when to come in on her song and the conductor ends up singing along with her.

Through all of this “The Director” sits behind me saying “Is this play over yet?”  The last time he said it I told Kelly on headset that if he said it again I was going to yell stop and tell everyone we were done for the day.  It annoys the fuck out of me.  Speaking of annoying the fuck out of me.  He decided during the first big song coming out of the opening to take the time to tell me why he hated the lights for the first 11 minutes of the play.  This was a three minute conversation.  By the time I turned back around to see what was going on, the song was over and the guy was running off the stage.  Now I have to recue the first 11 minutes and I have NO idea if the cuing I did for the song works or not.  Couldn’t he just write the note down like every other director and give it to me later.  And DON’T, I repeat DON’T sit behind me and ask if this is what it’s going to look like.  And then tap me on the shoulder and want to know why the cue looks like it does.  Because I might just bitch slap you.  Or I might do what I did today which is to say, “If you want to stop and actually tech this scene I’ll be happy to make it look anyway you want.  But since we didn’t tech it, you get what you get.”  He gave no more notes after that.

4:40 The show comes down.  Actors are gathered on stage to work orchestra notes.

4:41  Kelly is asked “Why the sound cues were fucked up?”  I’m sure she was diplomatic.  I would have said, “If you want them to work, then next time hire a sound designer and then allow four to six hours to actually tech each act.  If not you get what you get.”  If only she’d let me talk for her.

5:00 Rehearsals over.  I’m done for the day.  I loiter while everyone else scurries around getting ready for the evening performance of Show #1.  I have nothing to do and don’t plan on attending the show.

5:25  Leave the building

5: 35  Stop for Diet Coke

5:36  Call my mother.  I haven’t talked to her in at least two days and I usually talk to her every day.

5:55  Arrive at the liquor store.  Kelly needs wine.  I need Kelly to be relaxed.  I buy Kelly wine.  Pinot Grigio.  Three bottles.  Perhaps she’ll be very relaxed.

6:15 Arrive at room.  Drop wine off.  Read blogs.  Check email

6:55  Go to the movies

There’s not much else to report.  Movies were a bust.  Mostly sat and watched the movie.  Stayed longer than I should have.

2:24  Finished post.  Going to bed

Day, Florida — population 2,181

Mudlick, Kentucky — Day 35

I’ve just returned to my room from a three hour meeting that was held in Kelly’s room.  Tonight’s dress rehearsal was a fiasco of sorts.

There are major props that aren’t finished and have yet to be seen.  There are major prop pieces that haven’t been painted yet.   And the most annoying thing to “The Director” is that one of the major prop elements of the show was not designed according to plan and doesn’t function in the way he wanted it to.  I was in all of the meetings with the prop person on this and this prop doesn’t even come close to the concept that he was going for.  Not even close.

The scenery was a mess.  The show we rehearsed tonight takes place in a forest.  There are no literal trees on stage.  They are made up of step ladders that the actors manipulate and use in a variety of different ways.  And there are vertical ladders that are hung above the stage that are painted different shades of green that are flown in and out during the show creating a forest.  I have yet to determine if the idea works or not.  I do know that when all the ladders (16 in total) are flown in at different levels it creates a very interesting look on stage.  Here’s the problem.  There is no set designer.  So Kelly and I have picked up the slack.  So it’s up to us to figure out when these ladders move, and where they move to.  Which is great.  Except that we can only do this in her room.  So we have to guess at all of this.  So we take the script and wind our way through it looking for appropriate times for the ladders to move.  And then we guess at what ladders should move (did I mention there are 16 of them).  To what height.  And when.  And then to complicate matters even more there are 10 vertical panels upstage (think vertical blinds) that can rotate 360 degrees to any angle we want.  So while the ladders are flying up and down, the panels are moving and behind the panels I’m lighting the sky.  And we have to guess at all of this.

And so today we saw our guesses for the first time.  The first part of the show was okay.  But then we got into act 2 and I was tempted to turn around and punch “The Director”.  He kept tapping me on the shoulder asking things like, “Is this where we talked about this moving?”  “Is this called in the right spot?”  “Is this supposed to move that fast?”  Why are the panels moving now?  This is not right!”  When he asked the last question I had the fly guy stop the panels mid move and then very obviously move them back to where they started.  I know, I know, it’s passive aggressive.  But I have to take my shots where I can get them.  The worst thing he did tonight was tap me on the shoulder while I was watching a fly cue happen so that I could tell the fly guy when the ladders were in far enough.  Turn your head for a second and you hit someone in the head.  So I held my finger up to tell him one moment.  And then he tapped me again.  And I said, “Just a moment.”  And then he tapped me again and said, “Can I ask you a question?”  And finally I yelled stop at the fly guy, told Kelly to hold that thought and turned around.  And his exact words were, “If you are busy we can discuss it later.”  Ugh.  What I wanted to point out to him during all of act two was that if he’d been willing to discuss this last night, instead of getting drinks with the cast he might be a little happier.  But I didn’t.

And then the lighting sucked.  We cued almost an entire two act musical today in about four hours.  It usually takes days.  I didn’t even look at the stage.  If someone was standing there I turned on a light to light them, recorded the cue into the computer and moved on the next part.  I worked as fast as I could.  (Remember that sprinting post from last week?  Today I was in a Nascar race).  At one point Kelly told the actors to hold because she couldn’t keep up with me.  And that’s very unusual for Kelly.  And we moved and moved.  And we got about 20 pages further than Kelly had expected to.  Which was great.  But it also sucked because that meant we still had about 50 pages to go.  But rehearsal was over.

So tonight I watched the first part of the show to take notes on the cues I had already written.  Then when we got to the end of act two.  I started my engines again.  And I cued.  Fast.  And I was almost able to stay up with them.  I got a place holder in the computer for every look in the show.  It doesn’t mean that it’s good or that it works just that the actors will have some light.  Tomorrow we’ll go in and fix cues without the actors in the morning and then tomorrow afternoon we have an orchestra and final dress rehearsal.

And while I’m talking about dress rehearsals, we saw the costumes for the first time tonight.  Usually I’m pretty ambiguous about the shows that I’m doing in my posts.  It’s a small effort on my part to be able to post what I want, without being fired.  But the only way to discuss the insanity of the choices of this play is by actually talking about the specific characters in the play.  So  don’t tell anyone I’m being specific.

So lets just say that in the course of the dialogue and lyrics the following items are mentioned.  A cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, slippers as pure as gold, a cow as white as milk.  Let’s just pretend that three of these items are costume items.  We’ll start with the shoes as pure as gold.  What color would you guess them to be?  White?  Red?  Gold?  Black?  You’re right.  Gold.  NOT BLACK!!!!!  Now let’s talk about the hair as yellow as corn.  What color would you guess that to be.  Red?  Blond?  Brown?  Blue?  You’re right.  Blond.  Very blond.  NOT STRAWBERRY BLOND, LEADING MORE TO THE STRAWBERRY THAN THE BLOND!!!!  And then the final and most recognizable costume piece in the whole show.  The cape as red as blood.  What color would you guess that to be?  Blue?  Pink?  Red?  Mauve?  You guessed it! Red.  Blood red.  NOT PINK!!!!  NOT fucking pink!!!!!

And these aren’t even the worst choices.  These are just the things that a third grade costume designer should have been able to figure out.  In fact they could have gone out to the local junior high school who probably did this play last spring and borrowed the items they needed.

The things that are really bad.  Everyone woman in the show has to climb a ladder.  It’s part of the concept. We’ve known this before I ever got here.  It’s based on the original design ideas that were kept after Ashley was fired.  (Have I mentioned today that she’s the costume designer)?  So everyone has to climb a ladder in a floor length gown.  The character with the hair as pure as gold almost fell off her 12′ ladder twice today trying to climb with her hair and dress.  There’s one character dressed in some shroud thing.  Who knows.  One of the major characters is dressed in a Donna Reed dress.  The character with the cape is dressed in a catholic school girl uniform.  And then character that climbs into the air to fetch his fortune is dressed in some sort of punk rock outfit with green hair.  There’s a grandmother in the show that’s played by a man and his costume looks like something Edna Turnblad would wear.  The character brings the show to a halt even though the musically and dramatically the show continues to move.

There are at least seven people dressed in all white.  She might have wanted to mention this to me, since I was told by her and “The Director” that the show was all bright colors.  Try lighting someone dressed head to toe in black, with their counterpart dressed head to toe in white.  It’s almost futile.  I have to constantly keep adjusting levels which would be fine if I had two weeks to tech the show.  In four hours they are lucky I even turned the lights on.

And I haven’t even discussed sound yet.  Which would only be worth a mention, perhaps, if we had a sound designer.  But that’s another role Kelly has taken on.  So she’s been responsible for finding the sound effects, getting them into a format we can use, editing them, discussing them with the sound board op, and then hoping they work.  They are a mess as well, but what do you expect from someone who’s doing everyone else’s job at the same time.

And so we had our little meeting.  First we discussed props.  The props mistress is 12 and is annoying to everyone who has to deal with her.  I’m surprised Kelly hasn’t bitch slapped her into yesterday yet.  Then we discussed the actual construction of the scenery.  Seems the tech director decided that he didn’t need to be at our first dress rehearsal so he went home.  So he wasn’t at the theatre to see all the problems that we were having.  Then he got defensive in the meeting.  I wanted to bitch slap HIM into yesterday.  Then we discussed sound.  Which lasted about two minutes because Kelly said she’d just deal with it and we could talk about it tomorrow.  Then there were ladders and panels.  This is a bit of a chore because by this time “The Director” is getting tired and is on his second glass of wine so we are having a hard time getting him to focus.  It’s takes a while, but we walk through the show and do the same things Kelly and I did.  We GUESS!   Let’s hope these guesses work better than our first guesses.  Then we discussed lighting which took about 15 seconds because “The Director” knows that he can trust me to make it look good.

And then we got to costumes.  He wanted us to assure him that they were going to be okay.  And this time I couldn’t do it.  I went straight for the obvious choices.  The cape HAS to be red.  The slippers HAVE to be gold.  The hair HAS to be yellow as corn.  And why is one character dressed as a punk and another character dressed as Donna Reed?  I went down my list and he tried to explain it to me.  But the answer we kept coming back to is that Ashley had provided him with ideas and renderings, but nothing she discussed or showed him originally, was on stage.  And then the conversation turned to what could be done.  And he didn’t like our answer.  You fight the fights that you have to fight.  And you accept the rest.  And only you can decided what you can live with and what you’re willing to live without.  And you move on and strike this one up to experience and NEVER, EVER hire this woman again.

And so now it’s time to bed, because we get to do this all over tomorrow.

Intercourse, Pennsylvania — Day 34

We opened show #2 on Saturday night.  And from all the feedback we’ve gotten and the mention we got in the paper, it seems that everyone liked it.

After each opening last year, we all gathered at an Irish pub, hung out in their back room, and had a good time.  The crew including Kelly and me ended up in the back corner talking amongst ourselves.  We didn’t really like the arrangement but since the crew is the last to leave the theatre, they tend to get what’s left in the way of chairs, when they get to the bar.  At least last year, the company bought the first round of drinks so it was okay if we were a little late.  We got the full benefit of coming and to be honest who wants to hang out with actors anyway

For the opening of the first show this year, we once again gathered at the Irish pub.  And once again we all arrived late to find there were no seats.  Of course it was worse than usual because a lot of people who weren’t actually working on the show had been invited, so when we arrived at the bar there were NO seats for us.  After some scrambling and looks of frustration on the crews part, a table of six parents, moved to the front of the bar and gave us their table.  So we got settled and were told that the company wasn’t buying the first round of drinks this year, but was instead providing champaign.  Not as great as last year, but free alcohol is free alcohol.  So the waiter arrives and we ask for our free champaign.  And we were informed that all the champaign the company bought was gone.  And I said, “OH!”  So I called over to “The Director” and asked if more champaign was being ordered for the crew.  He looked over and laughed and went back to his conversation.  So I saw Laura the board member and called her over to ask who was buying more champaign for the crew.  She went over to talk to “The Director” and came back a few minutes later to say that we’d used all the champaign the bar had.  And once again I asked, “Who’s taking care of the crew?”  She said she’d do what she could and returned a few minutes later to say that “The Director” was not willing to buy drinks for the crew since he didn’t buy drinks for anyone else.

Hmmm.

And so I looked around the room.  All the actors had champaign.  All the parents had champaign.  “The Director” had champaign.  The boyfriend and gay friends of one of the actors had champaign.  But the people who work the hardest got no champaign.  I bit my tongue and we ordered our beers and our food and when “The Director” got up to leave at the end of the night I made a point to tell him that I thought it was unfair that the crew wasn’t taken care of.  He laughed the whole thing off, and once again I bit my tongue.

And now move to the opening of Show #2.

Instead of the Irish pub, it’s announced that we are meeting at an Italian restaurant, across the street from the pub.  And I’m told a head of time by Kelly,  that “The Director” has called ahead and made reservations for the party.  He’s made a reservation for 24 people.  And there are 25 actors in the company.  Anyone want to guess where this is going?  Before we even start, just with the actors and “The Director” we are a two seats  short.  Add the assistant director and the conductor and we are now four seats short.  I’m told about all of this before we leave the theatre, and as always the crew, Kelly, and I are the last to leave.  And so we arrive at the Italian restaurant.  And as we walk to the front door I turn to the assistant ME and say, “I’m about to be very pissed off.”  And in we walk, and what would you know, the actors are all seated around a table that was clearly prepared for them.  And the next closest table to the party has no chairs.  It’s clear that they were not expecting more people.

We all walk in and pull a couple of tables together and after about 20 minutes are finally brought over menus.  By this time I’m fuming.  Not only doesn’t it appear that we weren’t wanted at this little gathering, now we can’t even get served.  And then we look at the menu.  The cheapest entrees on the menu is around 16.00.  That’s not expensive, if you have a job, that pays you a living wage.  These kids are barely scraping by this summer.  And I’m sure some of them wouldn’t eat at all if Kelly and I didn’t buy them a burger every now and then.  So they are stunned by the prices, by the fact they aren’t wanted, and now we are all annoyed.  And I’m getting more and more pissed.  So I finally turn to all of them and say, “Why don’t we go across the street to the Irish pub and have some fun.”  There is much discussion and many of them are worried about pissing people off.  I assure them that if anyone deserves to be pissed off it’s them, and that I’ll take any heat that comes down.  I also tell them that not everyone they work for ignores their hard work and that I’ll buy the first round of beers.  Of course during all of this Kelly is giving me looks.  She’s a stage manager and has to be diplomatic.  The lighting designer not so much.

And so I get up and I lead the way and out we go.  I go get in my car and drive the few blocks down the Irish pub.  And we go in.  All ten of us.  Actually at that point there are only 7 of us because Kelly and her assistant have stuck around to make a more graceful exit.  And we are greeted by the host at the Irish pub and told that it will be around 30 minutes before they can seat us.  Having already let my crew get crap all night, I say, “Are you sure.  Because if it’s really going to be 30 minutes then we’ll have to go somewhere else.”  The little host guy scurries away to ask the manager what to do.  Before you get worried, I was very polite, I just didn’t want to have to wait 30 minutes to get a table and having been there a million times already this summer I was sure they could accommodate us.

And what do you know within a couple of minutes we were seated.  And within ten minutes we had drinks and had ordered food and were on our way to having a good time.  Just as we are getting our beers, the lead tenor sits down at the head of the table.  He’s been told what happened, paid his bill and came down to join in our festivities.  And fun was had by all.  As promised I bought the first round.  Kelly bought the second round.  And we all laughed and joked and I think the crew was able to have some fun.  Of course this was Saturday night…the night I was too drunk to post, because the party moved back to Kelly’s room and continued till 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

“The Director” called me around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday night to see what had happened to me.  He had turned around and I was gone and he’d wanted to come over and say hello.  There was no mention of the crew not being welcomed at the party.  There was no mention that 12 people got up and left all at the same time.  There was no mention of any of this.  Just a friendly check in to say good night and that he was sorry he’d missed me.

And now I was really pissed.

On Sunday I was hung over.  REALLY hung over.  So I slept late.  Went to 20 minutes of the show and then came home and went back to sleep.  I didn’t hear from “The Director” all day.  He finally called around 11:30 p.m. just to say hello.  I didn’t take the call.  I ignored him.  And then on Monday morning afternoon I woke up to this.

Maddog:

I think the shows are looking really lovely.  I am so happy I could just die.  Show #2 especially.  I’m looking forward to Show #3.

I think I need to ask about this business with you being out of sorts at the Irish pub during show #1 and now with Show #2.  I’ve gotten several reports from folks that you are really pissed off.  I didn’t realize until it was too late during Show #1 that we’d run out of champagne.  A simple mention and I would have bought beer for the whole crew.

The Italian restaurant was a place to hang out, because folks said they were tired of the Irish pub.  I heard you stormed out (this is probably an exaggeration) and that you were mad at me. ??  I guess it is easy to blame me for the beer that the Italian restaurant didn’t have, but that sounds silly.

I realize I’m the boss, and I need to have broad shoulders.  But, ever since the “letting go” of Ashley’s set responsibilities, you and Kelly have (understandably) taken on a much more active role.  This has been at a great cost to the overall artistic process, but we got through it, and you two have understandably formed a bond that has felt very impenetrable and inaccessible.  This isn’t me being paranoid and it isn’t about the social aspects of this year.  I don’t care about that.  We’ve talked about that already.

But I do feel that you are both at odds with me.  I’ve dealt a bit with Kelly, because I honestly feel badly.  I think all is well there, and we did realize that Kyle loves to stir the pot.  In fact, he is one of the ones who told me you were mad at me after Saturday’s show.

You must understand that I want to get something out of these relationships and the working experience to.  I don’t enjoy feeling at odds with anyone.  Phone calls aren’t returned, I feel like the only one that will pick up the phone is Erin, I’m not sure that I deserve that.

I was feeling this way during Show #2 tech week, and then I thought it got better when you commented on how nice good it was and that “this show was art and that’s why we come back here.”  Well, if that is so, and it was my idea to push for Show #2, and it was originally an idea to do a “white” show, and I chose the version we produced and I directed it…..why do I feel excluded from the success at this point?

I have a sensitive layer too, and if I’m off base, fine.  But I would just like to know that I’m not completely an outsider in my own organization.  A returned phone call would speak volumes.

And let’s just keep this conversation between us.  Not Kelly, nor Kyle.  I would prefer to have a conversation with just the person I’m addressing.  Thanks, “The Director.”

I wanted to email him the following response but Kelly wouldn’t let me.

This email only annoys me further.  Of course I mentioned the issue with the champaign.  TWICE while it was happening and once at the end.  And you chose to take no action on the issue.  It wasn’t about beer at the Italian restaurant it was about the lack of preparation in making the reservation.  It was about making it abundantly clear that the people who make it possible for me to do my job are treated like crap.  It was about choosing a restaurant that’s too expensive for them.

I know it’s not what you meant, but I had to read the sentence four time before I realized that it was Ashley’s firing that was a great cost to the shows and not the joint efforts of Kelly and me.

As for our impenetrable, inaccessabloe bond, that really had nothing to do with this years set design fiasco.  It happened a year ago when we were drinking vodka and began to talk about our dead parents.  (Never get drunk and talk about serious issues).  We’ve been talking ever since and the situation this year has only made us realize how well we work together.

As for not being accessible, if you weren’t so fucking needy we wouldn’t keep you at arms length.  You call me at least ten times a day, and Kelly you call about 50 times a day.  Just yesterday, on our day off, you called me while I was talking to my mom.  And instead of leaving a message you immediately called Kelly, and asked her to come down to my room and see if I was here.  Believe it or not we all have more to do than wait around for your phone calls.  And sometimes on Monday, our day off, we want to do fun things.  Like go to the movies.  Or the Parade of Homes.  Or to get pedicures.  Or our hair cut.  Or to do laundry.  Or you know, all the things we have to do on our day off.

And just so you know.  KYLE is an ASS.  That’s with a capital A.  S.  S.  His only purpose in life is to create as much drama as is humanly possible.  I did not fucking storm out of the restaurant.  If you think that was storming, you should have seen me before I started taking medication.  I got up, with the crew, and walked quietly out of the restaurant.  So tell Kyle, that if he’s going to exaggerate to make sure that I’m not going to find out about it.  As for his stirring the pot.  The only reason he’s able to stir the pot is because you allow it to happen.  You have the power to stop it and you choose not to.  Until you say that to him it’s going to continue to be a problem.

I didn’t respond to the email the way I wanted to in the above statements.  Kelly assured me that it was a bad idea.  So I ignored him till early evening last night.  And then I called him.  And we talked.  And I smoothed everything over.  And made nice.  I told him I was upset but that it was no big deal.  And I let him think all is well.  And I suppose it is.  You can’t stay mad forever.  Can you?  And getting mad at him only makes the situation worse.  So we drink beer, and bitch.  And drink more beer and try to get through the season.  And try not to punch any holes in the wall.

Of course we still have one more opening to go.  How do you think he’ll fuck the crew this week?

The Rich Life — Day 33

Where has my day gone? It’s 3:11 a.m. and I’m still awake. I wanted to be in bed an hour ago.

I slept late today. I turned my phone off and didn’t wake up till my alarm went off at 1:30 p.m. It was much needed sleep after the late night I’d had the night before. The hang over is almost gone.

The reason I even set my alarm was because Kelly and I had a date to go new home shopping. This week is the Parade of Homes. I haven’t done this in a long time but while I was dating Sam it was a yearly event. We’d get up and pretend to be on the market for a new home. Of course I’m no closer to buying a new home now than I was then, but it’s nice to pretend.

Kelly and I decided that since we couldn’t afford any of the homes on the list, we should concentrate on the expensive ones. So we only looked at house above the one million dollar mark. There were many to choose from so we stuck with the ones closest to us. In all there were six. After about 3 hours (It takes a lot of time to get through a 6,500 square foot home) we decided that if we were going to spend 1.6 million dollars we’d either design and build it ourselves or move someplace else cause the homes here sucked.

First, who decided that a mixture of modern and “old world” charm was a good idea. Or is it that we are just out of touch with modern design choices? Either way it wasn’t working for either of us. If you want old world charm then buy an older home. If you are buying modern then sure add some wood work to it, but trust me when I say that the 6′ tall chandelier made with the antlers of dead animals is not a good idea. Nor is the dead animal lying on the floor below it. Or the 14′ wrought iron gates in your living room that are in front of the wine closet. (And if this is your choice, then pay someone to finish it. The holes in the jam where the original door was attached might want to be patched. And remove the thingy that turns on and off the light when the doors opened.)

And you might want to have someone who’s actually lived in a house help figure out the ground plan.

It’s great to hide away the laundry room at the end of the house, so no one sees it. But when your house is almost 7,000 square feet that’s a long way to walk to do laundry. And if it’s the only laundry room, then the 12 people sleeping in the 12 bedrooms upstairs will have to fend for themselves.

And what’s the point of an in ground pool that’s only big enough for two people but not at the same time. And no it was not a hot tub. And why would you have a 6′ x 6′ strip of grass. If that’s all that’s left, pave it over, make it part of the patio and be done with it. Do you really want to pay a lawn boy to push a lawnboy to mow a 36 square foot piece of grass?

And speaking of patios. If you are going to have outdoor space. And you are going to spend this much money, then damn it, have a patio space. My mother’s back porch is larger than a couple of these patios. With the pool. And I’m sure someone thought it would be great to hide the grill so it’s out of sight, but it also means that the person cooking is out of sight. And this is only a great idea if you’ve hired in help to do the grilling. And don’t plan the outdoor space so that to get to the grilling area you have to walk out onto the drive way and around. It kind of kills the effect. And spend some fucking money on some outdoor lighting. Don’t just throw up some flood lights in the corner of the yard and call it done. For 1.2 dollars I’ll come in and hook you up with a nice design.

Kitchens. We saw a kitchen today that didn’t have a microwave in it. The microwave was hidden in the pantry around the corner. I’m sure there was some reasoning behind this but I can’t for the life of me think of why. We did like the built in coffee/espresso maker. That was hot. And we liked the fridges that matched the cabinets. And the drawers that sucked themselves closed. But do you really want to have to walk 12 feet to the fridge and then 12 feet to the stove and then 12 feet to the sink. Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of triangle configuration? The bar idea on the island is a great. It’s kind of nice that I can sit and watch you cook. But the barrel stools that were being used look like they came from some 1970’s home.

Master bedrooms. It’s not enough that it just be big. Especially for 1.6 million dollars. The fucking thing better have some charm. And some design. We saw one today and it was just a large rectangle. It had all the interest of a rectangle. Give us something. Anything. The ones we liked best had seating areas and fun ceilings and some charm and interest. My mom’s ranch style house has a big master bedroom and it did NOT cost 1.6 million dollars.

Bathrooms. Don’t spend 1.4 million dollars on expensive marble and detailed wall treatments and then put a Home Depot toilet/sink/bathtub in it. It’s my guess that it’s done so you can customize it yourself, but if everything else is decked out, why not the bath. It is nice when the toilet is doored off from the rest of the room. And when the his and her sinks are not right next to each other but on different sides of the room. And her’s should have a vanity. And the master bath better have the most kickass bathtub ever created. EVER. And big, does not mean better. I do have to admit I like the showers that are built for two and it’s a good thing because if I’m going to live in a house that costs this much it means that I finally found a RICH boyfriend, it sure won’t be because I bought it.

Walk in closets are great. And his and hers are also great. But finish them out. And under no circumstance. And I mean no circumstance should fluorescent lighting be used anywhere besides the garage. I almost ripped the fixture down myself today that was in the master closet. And they had a nice little gadget that allowed you to use all the space to the ceiling and then pull a little rod and it would pull toward you. Except that some bright person had hung a chandelier right next to it making it impossible to pull it down.

A urinal? Really a urinal? We saw a house today with a urinal in a first floor bathroom. And not an interesting one. Nope, it looked like they went down to the local Applebee’s and stole it off the wall. A urinal? Really?

Rooms designed for kids are great. But someone should be smart enough to know that unless it’s a house full of small people that eventually kids get bigger. And the room that was great for little Timmy at six doesn’t work when Timmy is 6’4″ and is too tall to get into his kid’s sized closet.

Wet bars? Why do you need a wet bar that’s exactly 10 feet from the sink in the kitchen. Do you really need it? Or is it just for show? You only need one if say the entertaining area is NOT near the kitchen.

Why would you put the kids dance studio in the basement, with the only access through your home office? (This is the one with the lovely antler chandelier and the animal skin rug on the floor).

Speaking of basements. Seems they aren’t common here in the land of tornadoes because of the bedrock the land sits on. So in tornadoes you have to fend for yourselves. Or you can have a safe room. As did one of the houses we saw today. This is a great idea in this house except for a couple of things. It’s located at one end of the house not central to anyplace in the house. Meaning it will take forever to get there in the event of a real emergency. It is also located just off a room that is a wall of windows. So your body will be pelted with tiny shards of glass as you run for cover. And the best part of all. It’s ony 4′ X 4′. It’s almost big enough for 3 people. If you don’t breathe. And I guess the family of five will just have to decide who gets to live and who gets to die because there sure isn’t room for little Timmy and his playmate. Too bad. We never liked them anyway.

And well, if you are going to spend 1.6 million dollars on a house the most important room in the house in my opinion is the media room. Yes, I want a room dedicated to watching movies. It better have recliners, and cup holders and a popcorn machine and a fridge, and a large screen something, and great sound, enough room for a good size crowd. And what would you know. That only existed in one house and the rest of the house sucked. There was one, that didn’t have room for my sofa let a lone a wall of recliners. There was one that had five recliners in it, but didn’t have room for anything else. One was okay, but it was 10 minutes from the nearest bathroom and if you want a new drink you’d have to pause the movie and wait till tomorrow to finish watching it because it was that far from the kitchen. Come on. It’s entertainment. How hard is it to figure out. Make the “pretty” entry way upstairs smaller, push out some walls, put the wet bar up here, not in the kitchen. Throw in a mini-fridge and we’re done. It’s not that difficult. And I might even be willing to pay 1.7 million for that.

And can I just ask. Why does anyone need a garage bigger than my entire NYC apartment. They are equipped with heating and cooling. And they are huge. Does anyone’s family need a four car garage? Or am I just deluding myself to what rich people need. Any rich people out here want to comment.

Here are some photos I stole off line from one of the houses we saw today.

Notice the white building to the left. That’s the next house. Because they all butt right up to each other. Wouldn’t you think that much money would buy you some privacy. Although I didn’t mention that the community was a gated community. Inside a gated community. Inside a gated community. That’s right. Three gates. God forbid you have visitors.

Check out the iron railing on the stair. And the beams on the ceiling. And the wrought iron chandelier with lights that look like candles Modern/Old World.

This was our favorite bathtub. It kind of looks like a coffin, but the water squirts out into a tub within a tub, so you get the sound of a fountain as you soak. And although it isn’t in the picture, there is a TV mounted above the photos so you can watch TV while you soak.

This is the room with the tornado safe room. Check out all those windows you have to run past to get there.

And here’s what 12 million dollars will buy you in Oklahoma.

I don’t think I could pee in this bathroom.

And I like this picture because I was doing a screen shot when the picture faded to the next one. I thought it was cool.

Tune in next week when I go shopping for a new car to park in my new driveway.

They don’t make expensive car pictures with boys in them. At least not in the five minutes I spent looking for them.

What will 1.6 million dollars buy you in your neck of the woods?

Day 33

It’s late.  I’m still hung over.  I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  Did I mention that I’m still hung over.

We opened show #2 last night.  It went great I thought.  The audience really seemed to like it.  And then we had are opening night party.  And the way it was planned pissed me off.  So I gathered the troops and all the electricians, carpenters and stage management went to a different bar and had ample amounts of alcohol.  And then we returned to our humble abode and continued the party in Kelly’s room.  At most the room had about 10 or 11 people in it.  Sometimes there was just two of us, sometimes it was filled to capacity.  I don’t remember going to bed but Kelly thinks it was around 7:00.  I woke up around 1:30 and the room was spinning.  It still is a little bit.  And I’ve spent most of the day in bed.  I did go to the theatre for about 25 minutes of the show today.  Made sure it was started with no problems and then I came back home and went back to bed.  Around 8:30 Kelly called and we were off to get food.  Greasy, breakfast food.  And it hit the spot.  And then I dropped by the movies but there was nothing playing, so now I’m home and it’s time for bed…again.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the latest antics of “The Director”.

So tune into tomorrow.

Too Tired To Think, Arizona — Day 31

I’m tired.  And the buzz from the beer and the bourbon is wearing off.  And it’s about time for bed.

News of the day.

I overslept.  I was supposed to be at the theatre at 11:30 a.m.  I woke up at 11:39 a.m.  Seems I set my clock for  p.m. and not a.m.  I’m lucky I didn’t sleep till the p.m. setting.  I’m not sure why I woke up when I did.  I rolled over, looked at the clock and said “Oh shit!”  I skipped the shower, jumped into yesterdays clothes, brushed my teeth and was out the door in about 10 minutes.  I walked into the theatre at 12:02.  And that included stopping for a Diet Coke at Quick Trip.

Once I got to the theatre it was a fairly smooth day.  I was able to finish my notes with exactly seven minutes left to spare before actor’s were expected on stage.

And then we started rehearsal.  Last night was our orchestra dress.  It’s the one and only time the cast will sing on stage with the orchestra before they are in front of an audience.  I think it went well for the most part.  There were some volume issues with the orchestra being but it was taken care of.  Technically the show was a mess.  There were light cues in the wrong place.  There were spots on when they should have been off.  Kelly called cues late and early.  There were cues that were just downright ugly or weird as I’ve taken to calling them this year.  And the entire last scene of the show, which has one song everyone has heard and is the finale of the show wasn’t cued at all.  So Kelly and I talked last night and agreed that the actors should skip the staging of Show #3 and have a tech rehearsal of the show that previewed tonight.  “The Director” wasn’t exactly thrilled about this but I think it wasn’t a battle he thought he could win.  And so today at 2:00 we did a final tech rehearsal of the play.

We started at the beginning and worked forward.  The opening of the show is a bitch.  There are 20 light cues and about 10 fly cues.  And that’s just during the 4+ minutes of the overture.  It takes real concentration on Kelly’s part and she has to remain focused.  We started today and one of the crew flew a batten to the floor.  (These are the pipes that the scenery is attached to and then is flown out to raise the scenery above the stage.)  So the scenery came to the floor and then kept coming and the guy stopped with the batten about 10 feet off the deck.  And that’s about 20 feet closer to the floor than it needed to be.  And so we reset and started again.  And the same thing happened again.  This time “The Director” begins mouthing off to the side of me.  “This is fucked up.  Why the fuck can’t they get this right.  If this is going to continue, I’m just going to send the actor’s home.  You’d think they’d could pay attention to what they are doing.”  All of this pisses me off.  In reality if we’d have more than three minutes to tech this in the first place it wouldn’t be an issue.  We try it again and it’s a success and we move on.

And we continue on with rehearsal.  We stopped where we need to fix something, or something was unclear or something just needed to be re-rehearsed.  And I think it went well.  Kelly was able to figure out the where’s and what’s of off the cues and get them into her call script (the 12″ thick book the stage manager carries around with the script and all the information needed to run the show.  It also has all the cues and their placement for the entire show.  In theory, anyone could call the show from this script if it was needed…in theory.)  And we finished the rehearsal at 4:45 which was 15 minutes early.  During the last 45 minutes, “The Director” kept asking if this was really necessary and could we please skip ahead and could we please send the actors home before they got angry.  And what’s funny is that only one bothered by the rehearsal today was, yes, you guessed it “The Director.”

I do have to admit that I yelled at my crew today on headset.  We were about 20 minutes into the show and I asked the light board op to bring up a light. He replied by telling me the light was already on.  I said, “I know.  Just bring it up”.  Just as I said this, follow spot #1 chimed in and said in a snippy way that the light was already on.  And I said I KNOW!  And then I had Kelly stop rehearsal so I could explain what was going on.  Except that I was sort of being a bit of an ass about it.  In my very stern manner I explained that I only had a certain amount of time to get through the show and that if they were going to argue with me for the entire time we might as well quit now and make everyone’s life easier.

And just to be fair.  The light was already on.  I knew this.  If I capture that light on the board at a certain level, even if it’s already on in the current cue, I can record just that light in any other cue.  It only changes that light and doesn’t effect the cue you are currently in.  So what I was trying to do was record the follow spot on in a cue two seconds earlier.  So I had to turn the light on, even though it was already on.  The reason I got snippy is because there is a light cue about every 45 seconds, so sometimes there isn’t enough time to fix the cue that I’m in so I’m behind a cue or two with the action of the play.  So I’m having to watch for new mistakes while I correct a cue that happened 90 seconds ago.  I have to work FAST to make this happen.  Which means that the board op has to type as fast as I talk, and I have to know what I’m doing and NO ONE can question my decisions.  They just have to move.  And after I yelled, the rest of the afternoon went well.  They both apologized later for making me stop rehearsal to explain myself.

And then we previewed the show tonight.  And I thought it was beautiful.  I think I’ve done an amazing job of capturing the essence of the play while embracing the director’s ideas.  Kelly called an awesome show.  I had about 10 notes for her after the show but they were more about making me happy then how the show looked.  Call this cue one count earlier in the music.  I’ve changed the count on this cue to 12 so it needs to happen a few seconds earlier.  The spot pick up was late.  Things like this.  I also had a number of notes that said things like “bravo”  “yippee” and “perfect”.  A stage manager can make or break your show and Kelly is awesome.  She’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with, and is by far the best musical stage manager I’ve ever worked with.  There are a couple of cues that have to time out so that the light fades on the actor in a slow count at the very last audible sound of the note the actor is singing.  When this happens the moment gives you shivers.  She’s nailed it every time.

The only note I got from “The Director” today was that the cue coming out of this musical cue mentioned above should be faster.  I disagreed, but he’s the director and I don’t work in a democracy.  So I changed it.  I got one note after the preview tonight.  The cue coming out of the musical cue mentioned above was too fast.  It should be slowed.  I just chuckled to myself.  And I made the change which made me happy because it was right the first time.

After the show we all went out for drinks.  It was a little celebratory session because we’ve all worked hard this week and we all needed a drink.  So we hung out at the bar and had a good time.  At the bar “The Director” asked me about the last cue of the show.  He wanted to know if the last cue was a slow cue or if the lights bumped out.  I said it was a slow cue.  To which he replied, “I think the lights should bump out at the end.”  To which I replied, “You can make me change any other cue in the show.  But I will NOT change the last cue of the show.”  It’s not a democracy but sometimes there are uprisings.  The last song of the show has the lovers having finally found each other after searching the world, singing about what their life is going to be like from that point on.  It’s a song about realizing what life is really about and that it’s not always sunshine and lollipops.  There is strife and sorrow.  But that as they say, that which does not kill you makes you stronger.  And so they sing.  And then they are joined by the rest of their traveling companions and then finally they are joined on stage by the entire company.  The last section of the show is sung acapella and is amazing.  Every time I hear it I get goose bumps.  And so at the end of the song the lovers move upstage (there is a circular platform that is raked  (at an incline) and at the top of the rake they stop and embrace and the lights fade.  There are two light cues.  The first as they move up the rake.  We go from a sunny blue sky to a beautiful orange sunset.  And as they get to the top and are silouhetted against the sunset the lights start to fade.  As they fade the orange part of the sky is the last to go and there is a moment where nothing is lit and the lovers are dark, silouhetted only by the sky and just as the last note of the orchestra is fading the lights fade and the play is over.  I think it’s beautiful and so I refused to even think about changing it.  When he saw how strongly I felt about this he relented.  Good.

I have a photo I pulled off line from a photographer that has taken photos of our show.  It has a big copywrited water mark on it, but I’m using it anyway.  The only reason I haven’t purchased the real photo is because I’m waiting till the end of the season to order an entire package from him for my portfolio.  So don’t think bad of me for stealing.  I promise to pay for it later.

And I’ll end by saying I have a little crush.  I’m completely smitten with someone in the company.  I just think they are cute as a button.  Of course I’m probably the same age as his parents, which is kind of weird.  And I’m more likely to win the lottery than have something happen.  And I’m about 99% sure that I wouldn’t go there anyway.  But it’s nice to look.  And it’s nice to think back to what it was like when I was ten.  And how much fun I’d be having if indeed I were 10 again.

Tired and Cranky, Minnesota — Day 30

It’s late.  I’m feeling anti-social.  I have been all day.  I’m not really in a bad mood, I just don’t want to be around people.  It doesn’t happen very often but when it does I usually just hide at home.  That’s not possible in Oklahoma.  If your light is on, people will knock expecting you to answer.  So I hid tonight.  At the movies.  And wasted time.  And that’s about it.  But it allowed me to be away from everyone here and take a break from all the excitement.  And trust me when I say it’s what I needed.

Today’s was another one of those days.  In the morning, Kelly and I met with the electrics crew, and we made changes to cues that were ugly.  Tonight we ran the show for the first time with orchestra.  The lighting looks pretty good if I don’t say so myself.  There are some moments that are beautiful.  Of course because of the lack of time there are some moments that look like ass.  But what can you do.  Tomorrow we are running through the show in the afternoon, just for lighting.  Then we have a preview tomorrow night.  And open on Saturday.  Soon it will be two down, one to go.

As of today, I’m staying in Oklahoma an extra two weeks.  If you remember last year I was paid extra money to stick around till the end of the season, and the same is happening this year.  I was supposed to go to Kentucky at the end of June but the shows there fell through.  Which was a pain, because it also meant the money fell through.  But with the extra money from here, a little left in savings, and some help from some very generous friends, I’m going to be able to squeak by till August 1 when I start back at the restaurant job.   I don’t know if I’m looking forward to that or dreading it.

Kyle was at it again today.  Kelly got a talking to by “The Director” today about the morale and attitude of the cast and crew.  Seems the lovely Kyle thought it would be a good idea to go to “The Director” and tell him everyone hated him, they weren’t coming back next year, and that they all thought the season sucked.  I’ll be the first to admit there have been problems this year.  And I also know that a lot of them could have been prevented or at least dealt with by “The Director”.  But there is no reason to be mean to him.  Especially during tech.  It only makes the process worse and Kyle doesn’t have to deal with the fallout, Kelly and I do.  We assured “The Director” that all was well and that it was just Kyle being Kyle.  I can only hope that he believes it.

And I think that’s a wrap.  No long story tonight.

Have a great weekend everyone.