I always feel like I’ve abandoned my friends when I haven’t posted in a while.
It’s not like I haven’t wanted to…it’s just life has been busy for the past couple of weeks.
I designed a show in Maine.
Three years ago I flew to Maine for a little drag show in a garage in the backyard of my friend Sheila’s house. It was put together by my friend Michelle and three of her friends. They were four lesbians, dressing as men, lip syncing to music. They spent about five minutes on the show. They performed on a Saturday night and they were expecting about ten people to show up. At least fifty people crowded around the open garage to watch them perform.
On July 14th and 15th of this year they performed two sold out shows in a theater that held almost three hundred people. It was fully produced and for the first time I actually designed the show for real. I was flown up to Maine and we spent Monday through Friday teching the show and then opened on Friday night. It was amazing. Although their first show will always be my favorite, this show was great. They are a talented group of performers and each of them adds to the mix in a different way. More than anything the acts they perform are smart. They mix camp and humor with serious commentary on politics of today. They make you look at gender in our society in a different way.
They flew Adam up for the weekend to help with front of house duties. He managed the box office people, t-shirt people, and ushers. I was excited for him to see the show and more than anything wanted his opinion on the show. When you know everyone involved with the show then sometimes you are no longer able to tell whether the show is good or not. He was blown away. He did not get what he was expecting. He thought the humor would be more sophomoric, I think, and he definitely thought you’d have to be in the “know” to get the jokes, which is not the case at all. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known them your whole life, or if it’s your first show, you’ll appreciate their performances.
I was there almost ten days from start to finish. I took my laptop with me but couldn’t connect to the internet for the first few days. By the time we figured out the problem I was in the midst of the show and after 15 hours at the theatre, all I wanted to do was email my boyfriend and go to bed.
My role with the show is multifaceted. I am definitely the lighting designer. But I also act as director, stage manager, agent, choreographer, friend, asshole and butt kicker. The first thing I do when I’m there is to take a look at the acts and figure out what works. I don’t actually make decisions about the content but I do help them figure out how to make it better, how it should be staged and what works and doesn’t work. I have to do all of this without hurting any feelings or having them hate me. Then I start fixing the choreography. For example this year one of the last numbers of the show was Thriller. It was a tribute to Michael Jackson but it was also a chance to have some fun. I bet you didn’t know this but there are tutorials on line to teach you the thriller dance. If you search YouTube it’s the lady with the 40 clips that break it down beat by beat. So starting on Monday afternoon I helped them learn the Thriller dance. When the curtain came down on Friday and Saturday night at the end of the number the crowd went wild. It was well worth the rehearsal time. I also have to kick them in the ass occasionally. Everyone of them is a morning person. Theater is an all day event. We started in the theater at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 11:00 p.m. The first day they wanted to go home around 8:30. I told them to suck it up and deal. And when they heard people talk about how great the show was they were glad I stuck it to them.
I’m rambling. Needless to say it was a lot of fun. A lot of work. And I loved every minute of it. And for the first time they paid me which was doubly nice. It was like a working vacation.
So 10 days went by and I didn’t post.
Of course I’ve been home since Monday the 17th. So what have I been doing since then? You’ll have to come back tomorrow for that.
Here are a few photos of Thriller:
And here’s a couple of photos of my favorite boys in the world.