Does anyone know the way to Happyland, Oklahoma? — Day 19

I’m fading fast here. These late nights are starting to get to me. Especially now that I can no longer sleep late.

Today. Today. Today.

I got up rather early for me. 10:30 a.m. (I add the a.m. because those you you who know me, know that it could just as easily have been 10:30 p.m.) Stopped at QT for my morning Diet Coke and then headed to the theatre.

Just as I walked in the assistant master electrician turned to me and said, “What are you doing here?” I wasn’t sure what to say. I mean, it is my show. Right? And so I said just that. He wasn’t trying to be offensive he just wanted to know if I needed anything. I assured him that I was only stopping by to see how things were going and if they had any questions for me. I hung out there for about two hours and then took off.

I probably should have known better, but I went to the movies this afternoon. What I didn’t do was take my cell phone with me. I had 9 missed calls when I checked my phone. Two from the technical director, two from the master carpenter, two from the ME, one from Kelly, one from “The Director” and one from my mother. Whoops. I guess I’ll take my phone with me next time.

So I sat in my car and returned phone calls. First the tech director. By the time I called he had made an executive decisions. Which was fine. The decision was fine. What’s annoying is that he didn’t seek the answer before he needed it. The set started loading in today, and he never stopped by my room to discuss the details of where things go, or to see what my schedule was for my load in. One more reason to slap someone.

Second call, the ME. He had called to tell me that I was out of circuits and that he was going to have to start cutting things. I needed to call him back as soon as possible to tell him what to do.

First it was not an emergency. An emergency is, let’s say, the computer light board is smoking, and seems to have lost it’s memory. That’s an emergency. Being short a couple of circuits is not an emergency. Just so you know what I’m talking about, a circuit is the outlet that we plug a stage light into. Just like the outlet you have your toaster plugged into. Each theatre has a different number of circuits. In big opera houses it might be upwards to 7 or 8 hundred if not more. Most Broadway size houses have around five hundred. A theatre the size we are working in has about 350 to 400. Each circuit can usually take 3 or 4 lights before the system freaks out and shuts itself down. As a lighting designer it’s better to have things on their own circuit as much as possible because it gives me the flexibility to turn the lights on separately. For example, imagine if every time you used your toaster, the blender also had to be running. So there are about 350 or so circuits in the space we are using. I have 297 lights in the air. (Right now, I’m adding about 10 more tomorrow). So I explained to the ME that if I only have 297 lights in the air, and they are NOT ALL single circuited, it’s not possible to have used all 350 circuits. To which he started to explain (he has a story for everything he does. If I have to hear one more time about his student lighting project, I’m going to take his wrench out of his hand and shove it down his throat). But I digress. (Actually, he’s great at his job, he’s just a little young.) So he started to explain, and I listened and as he explained it became more and more clear that it wasn’t that I was out of circuits, it was just going to be a pain to get them where I needed them. (Pretend you have to have a 100 foot extension cord to plug in your toaster from an outlet in the basement. Which you should always have when you live in Tornado, West Virginia). So it was going to be difficult but there were circuits available. I actually had to go the theatre to sort this out, which meant I didn’t get to see a rehearsal of show #2.

As I walked into the theatre, I was met by the scenery crew who was leaving. The tech director told me he was done for the day. Not that the work was finished, but that he was beat and needed to go home. I said okay. Of course I as they were leaving I thought to myself that these guys are a bunch of pussies.

Day 5 from last year:

I’ve had a great day. I worked from 9 till 11 and actually did physical labor for the first time in a long time. And it was great. Of course right now I’m tired as hell, but it’s a good tired. They way you feel after a long, hard day of work.

Day 6 from last year:

It’s not mentioned in the post but we worked from 8:00 a.m till 11:00 p.m.

Day 7 from last year:

It’s 1:15. My day just ended. As soon as I make my Day 7 post I’m going to bed. Today was only a 17 hour day. I just got out of a meeting to figure out how to rescue the scenery design.

Day 8 from last year:

It’s now 2:51. I’ve been up since 7:00 a.m. Actually the alarm went off at 6:00 but I didn’t get out of bed until 7:00. At which point I managed to take the fastest shower ever and be in a car at 7:15 ready to go to the theatre. Not bad if you ask me.

Day 9 from last year:

Only 2:45 tonight and I’m still up. I’ve been working since I got back to the dorm at 11:30. I had to talk to the ME about the load in of the show tomorrow. I had to meet with the stage manager to discuss notes from today’s rehearsal. I now have to meet with the assistant ME to talk to her about load in tomorrow, and notes she has to do. I didn’t realize I would have to work this hard when I signed up for the job.

Day 10 from last year:

Tonight I’m exhausted. I only got about 3 hours sleep last night, by the time I made it to my room, posted my entry and got to bed. I had to be up and ready to go at 7:30 this morning. I finally dragged my ass out of bed at 7:27 and literally ran to the shower. I was showered,with teeth brushed and dressed by 7:35. It’s amazing how fast you can move when you need to.

Day 11 from last year:

It’s 3:00 a.m. and I just walked through the door.

I am trying to make a point. Last year we worked seven straight 14 – 17 hour days. We were at the theatre between 8:00 and 9:00 and we left the theatre at 11:00. This also included a 30 minute drive to and from the theatre. So we would leave the house at 7:15 and get home around midnight if we were lucky.

The crew today left four hours before the work day was finished. Yes they got up at 6:00 to load the truck and I’m sure they were tired. But here’s the deal. The truck should have been loaded last night. There was absolutely no reason they couldn’t have loaded the truck at the end of the day so that it was ready to go to the theatre this morning. If they had loaded the truck last night, they would have known that the largest piece of scenery wouldn’t fit on the truck. Of course we aren’t mentioning the fact that someone should have thought about this when it was built. And if they had loaded the truck last night, they wouldn’t have had to be at the theatre until 8:30. And then they could have been at the theatre at 9:00 to start loading in. And then they might not have been so tired at 7:00. I guess the thing that surprises me, is that they unloaded the scenery, but none of it is put together. It’s in pieces all over the floor. And ANYONE who has done theatre, even the worst community theatre, or high school play knows that the hours suck and the week before the show opens you start to work early and you get off work late. You DEFINITELY don’t go home before the job is done. I can’t count the number of all nighters I’ve pulled to get things done. You just do it. It’s you job and it’s what we do. It’s not like we do it everyday. It’s a two week period and then things become a little more normal.

And SO tomorrow, they’ll start at 9:00 putting the scenery up. Which is fine. We can be in the space till 11:00 p.m. tomorrow night. And I’m sure by the end of the day they’ll be finished. What is fucked is that I can’t start to focus my lights until they are finished. So if they don’t finish till 6:00 or 7:00 I’m fucked. Because with the best crew under the best circumstances it would take 6 to 8 hours. And I’m sure you know by now that that’s not the case here. So I have no idea when this will happen. I’m a little worried to say the least. Of course I wouldn’t be worried if say the tech director and taken my advice and requested Monday for us to be in the space. But since it’s the crews day off, he made the executive decision that we shouldn’t do that. So NOW I’m FUCKED. And as my friend Sean says, “IN THE SPIT AND RAM” sort of way. And trust me I didn’t get dinner first.

So I’m going to be a little grumpy tomorrow. So you might want to skip tomorrows post and hope that Monday is a better day.

I have to stop bitching and go to bed now.

And I apogize for any gofos I’m to tierd to pruff this post.

Happyland is about halfway between Ada and Allen on Highway No. 1 and was named for a “happy man named Land,” who lived there in the early days of the community. Census records for 1910 indicate that William J. LAND was 51 years old and born in Georgia, that his wife’s name was Lucy, and there was an 18-year-old son named Charles with them at that time. Mr. Land is said to have donated the property for the first school, and he was one of the first deacons of the Happyland Free Will Baptist Church.

I hope to get there someday!

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7 thoughts on “Does anyone know the way to Happyland, Oklahoma? — Day 19

  1. Lemuel June 8, 2008 / 06:43

    You really need to start holding out for those dinners! At least you would get something out of all of this! 😉

  2. Bill June 8, 2008 / 11:11

    Thanks for the explanation of circuits. You have a talent for using analogies so that anyone can understand the technical aspects of your job. You would make a great instructor.

  3. Rick June 8, 2008 / 18:50

    I remember last year’s show.

  4. Donnie June 8, 2008 / 23:21

    Take a deep breath, Maddog! Oh….what movie did you see today?

  5. javabear June 9, 2008 / 01:46

    Maddog- Java here. I’ve seen your comments on a few of my favorite blogs, so I thought I’d see what’s going on here. I’m slightly confused, but I don’t know where to begin asking questions. Guess I’ll just hang on for the ride and see if it all becomes more clear. Don’t suppose you have a list of posts where you do more to explain than confuse? Maybe I should read some archives. Any hints?

  6. Arianna July 13, 2010 / 17:44

    I actually just went through Happyland on a trip to Turner Falls,Ok. We took the scenic route, that route in paticular to pass through happyland! I thought it sounded so great, lol,but we had turn around a few miles down highway 1 atfer passing it. When we were certain we had found it, all that was there was the Free will baptist church. It had a new sign and a really old, rusted one, so we took pictures with both, being thats all there was. Did you ever make it there? lol

  7. Lisa Sharp July 4, 2012 / 23:36

    I found this searching on Google and it’s funny to hear people wanting to go to Happyland. I grew up there and my family still lives there. 🙂

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