Just go away and stop talking to me…

I fell asleep last night watching The Daily Show. I didn’t wake up till almost 12:30 a.m. I got up and went to bed. I didn’t post, I didn’t read, I’m not even sure I brushed my teeth. I slept like a log till 9:30 a.m. this morning. I got up and felt like a new man.

I had to work tonight. It started out slow but picked up pace a little as the night went on. For us, slow is only being on a 30 minute wait instead of a 90 minute wait.

For the most part the evening was uneventful. Except for one little hiccup.

I was working my favorite section tonight. Section 12. And I was busting my butt to keep my chairs filled, the customers happy, make some money and have a good time. And everything was going great until…

We have a host named Jeff who has worked at the restaurant since 1902. He worked there 10 years ago when I worked there and he’s still going strong. He knows his job like no one’s business and for the most part he’s great. Although tonight he pissed me off.

I had a party of two pay their check and leave. They were seated at the first two chairs along my counter. As they left I picked up their credit card slip, tucked it into my book and started clearing the counter. As I was doing this, there were two people perched on bar stools on the other side of the column that caps the counter. I stuck my head over and asked if they’d like me to get them drinks. The woman looked at me like I was crazy and said no. Her husband would get the drinks at the bar. That was okay with me. She was sitting in what I refer to as no man’s land. Not really my station, not really the bar. By this time the bussers have cleaned the counter and have it reset.

So I do what I do and I went off to the lobby to get people to fill my seats. I find two people and I head back in. I round the corner to discover that the two people I offered to get drinks for have gotten their drinks and are now seated at my counter. So I walk up to them and explain that I have brought two people to sit there. Now, if they’d let me wait on them in the first place none of this would have happened. And as it turned out, Jeff the host had told them to go ahead and move to the counter. Whoops. I’m trying not to be annoyed but sometimes I wish he’d just let me run my own station. So I arrived with my two people in tow and I asked the other couple to move.

And this pissed them off to no end. They didn’t yell, but at one point the man told me to stop talking to him. I apologized to them that they had to move but explained that I would be happy to get them a table anywhere they liked in the restaurant. I explained that I was willing to do whatever it took to make them happy. But it didn’t take much effort on my part to realize that these people probably were never happy. In fact they’ve probably not been happy since they were five. Once the man told me that if I really wanted to make him happy, I would go away and stop talking to him, I did.

I also made sure that both managers knew what had happened and I told Jeff the host to chill out and let me take care of my own station. Will anything come of it. Probably not, but there’s always the off chance that they’ll call in and complain. This is the reason I made sure everyone knew about the incident so that they could have stepped in to try and fix it at any point.

I try to give people the same courtesy I hope they give me. I have no idea why they were in a bad mood. So I try and forgive their crankiness. But at some point it becomes impossible to ignore and so I just say fuck it. I can only try so hard before the effort out weighs the benefit.

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O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma. Yeow!!! Day 54

Today is day 54.

7.5 weeks.

1.8 months.

1, 296 hours.

77.760 minutes.

4,665,600 seconds.

3 shows.

One tired Maddog.

I’m ready to go.  I have to admit there have been many nights of fun.  There are things about the summer I will remember for always.  Friends that I hope I stay in touch with.  Shows that I am proud of.

There have also been too many moments of frustration and stress.  Too many nights of wanting to kill people.  Too many nights of wanting to sneak away without telling anyone and going back to my less stressful job of waiting tables.  (Remind me I’ve said this in a month.)  There have been way too many things I hated about this summer.  Although I do have to admit that when I’ve gone back to re-read posts from last years visit to Oklahoma it was just as stressful, just as frustrating.

Does this mean I’ve decided to come back.  No.  Does it mean that I won’t come back.  No.  It means that I have a lot to consider before I make my decision for next year.  It also means asking for specific things in my contract that I haven’t asked for before.  More money for one.  On time designs for another.  Living arrangements that are comparable to the talent’s.  A car.  That they pay for — up front.

There are a couple of conditions that MUST be met before I come back.  First and foremost.  Kelly has to agree to come back.  I don’t think I could have gotten through either summer without her.  And second.  There must be at least one show on the schedule that’s interesting.  I have no interest in designing shows that don’t require at least something creative about them lighting wise.  I don’t want to spend the summer lighting bad dance routines or large chorus numbers where everyone stands down stage and sings.  It just doesn’t interest me.  Last year we did The Music Man here and I hated everything about it.  I don’t get nearly as excited about the Wells Fargo wagon as I should have.

So there I’ve said it.  I MIGHT come back next year.

On to more interesting things.

I went to bed early last night.

12:30.

That’s early for me.

I slept until 3:00 p.m.  I actually woke up at 6:00 and was wide awake so I read for a couple of hours.  Sometime around 8:00 I fell back to sleep and the next thing I knew Kelly was knocking on my door telling me I should probably get up.  I still feel tired but at least I finally got some real sleep.  It’s going to take weeks to get back on a regular schedule.  If it happens at all.

So I got up and I packed.  That took some doing.  I have more stuff now than I did when I left and the stuff barely fit in two bags before.  I stuffed and stuffed and I think I managed to get it all in the bags.  Of course I’m tempted to wear the same thing everyday at my mom’s so I don’t have to unpack again.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

I also returned my rental car.  it was very expensive.  And they ran the card, and gave me a receipt and sent me on my way.  I have no idea what’s going to happen when the realize that the card is no good.  I don’t have that much credit available on my credit card and I don’t have even close to that much on my debit card.  I suppose at some point they’ll realize it and let me know there’s a problem.  I’ll let you know what happens then.

And then I returned home to figure out what was happening for dinner.  “The Director”  was trying to get us tickets for a local production of Oklahoma.  It’s performed outdoors with real horses and is supposed to be not so good.  So we were going to go out and have some fun and see the show.  But he couldn’t get free tickets and although I love to see bad theatre spending 20 bucks when I have no money isn’t the best idea.  So we all opted out of it.

That left Kelly and me having dinner with “The Director.”  He’d already called a couple of times to see what the plan was.  I told him that neither Kelly nor I cared where we went as long as it was cheap.  We suggested The Olive Garden because it’s close, the food isn’t bad and it’s VERY cheap.  You would have thought that I’d suggested we go to Pet Mart and dine on cat food.  So I told him to choose and just let us know where.  And then he got pissy and told me that he was tired of having to make all the decisions and he just wanted to go and have a nice peaceful dinner and why did it have to be so hard.  Ugh.

I suggested he just come pick us up and we could decide then.  I was checking email when he appeared in my room.  He was in a bit of a snit and told me he didn’t care where we went to dinner.  Just to decide.  Then he told me he would be back in a few.  So I continued checking email.  About 15 minutes later he appeared in my room again.  He walks over and asks if I mind if Kyle and Jennifer come along to dinner.  And I said, “I don’t mind if Kyle and Jennifer come at all.  But I won’t be going if they do.”  And then he wanted to know why, and I explained that as far as I was concerned I was through with Kyle.  I have no use for him and I have no intention of spending my last night in Oklahoma with him.  This put “The Director” into even more of a snit and then he got pissy with me.  “Well how am I supposed to remember who likes each other and who doesn ‘t.  Wouldn’t it hurt to just put that aside for the evening and deal with it.  Would it really bother you that much if he comes along.”  To which I replied, I don’t care, yes, and yes.  Then I reminded him that it was always supposed to be just Kelly and me and that if I’d known we were inviting other people along I would have asked the crew to join us.  Especially since I would rather spend time with them than with him.  I didn’t tell him that last part.

So finally he said okay and left.  He came back about 10 minutes later saying, “I hope you know what kind of difficult situation this has put me in.  Now Kyle isn’t speaking to me and won’t open his door.”  To which I replied, “Good.  That means he no longer wants to join us I presume.”

And so we gathered up Kelly and we were off to get dinner.  As we left he reminded us that he didn’t want The Olive Garden, but other than he didn’t care.  To which we reminded him that we didn’t care as long as it was cheap.  And so we were off.  He started driving and began rattling off places we could go.  Neither Kelly nor myself had heard of the places so after each one we said we didn’t care.  I did say that it would be nice to eat outside since the weather was perfect today.  And so we drove.  And drove.  And drove.  And finally he decided we should go to some restaurant.  And what would you know when we got there it was closed, being Monday and all.  So he chose some place and being Monday and all it was closed to.  Which got a string of expletives about how fucking stupid it was to live in Oklahoma.  I didn’t even bother telling him this happened in a lot of places.

So finally we ended up in the restaurant he had wanted to go in the first place.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, that along the way he said if money was the problem he’d just treat us to dinner.  And I said that would be great.  What I didn’t say was “Well good, you promised us dinner at this restaurant three weeks ago, to make up for the (count them) three meals that I’ve bought for you since I’ve been here.”  No I didn’t say it but I thought it.  And so we are seated and we enjoy a nice meal and we all have wine, and we share dessert and all is well.

Until the check arrives.

To which he announce, “This is expensive!” and sighs.

I had glanced at the check at this point and it was 120.00 bucks.  Not cheap by any means but if he’d wanted cheaper we’d have been at The Olive Garden.  And then he sighs again.

And so I pulled out my card and said, “Don’t worry I’ll pay my share.”  And Kelly followed suit.  And we decided that we should split the check down the middle even though Kelly had the cheapest part of it.  And when it was all said and done the meal cost me about 50 dollars.  This leaves me about 75 bucks in my checking account till August 5th when I go back to the restaurant job.  How much can a middle age, fat guy get for a blow job on the corner?

And with the check paid we left.  And I was annoyed, but I was trying not to show it since it was my last night in Oklahoma.

And we return to the house and you’d never guess who was here.

Ashley the Cunt!

I asked a couple of people before I found someone who knew why she was here.  She’d come to get photos of the set she’d had someone take because as I think I mentioned she suing the company for non payment of her intellectual property, which wouldn’t be so funny if she actually had any intellect.  But there she was, eating Chinese in the living room watching a movie.  And I keep asking myself over and over, “If I was fired from a job because everyone thinks I’m stupid, not talented and a slut, would I continue to show my face around them?”  The answer I always come up with is….NO!!!!  What about you guys?

And then she left and the movie was over and we all grabbed drinks and settled into the living room to watch Death at a Funeral, which was fucking funny.  I guess I should say everyone but Kelly.  Since we’ve been here, Kelly has kind of found a man friend.  And she talks to him.  A lot.  For hours.  And just as we were getting ready to watch the movie he called.  So I convinced everyone to wait.  And I set my alarm.  And after 30 minutes I went to her room and told her time was up.  It was my last night in town and she couldn’t hide in her room talking to her “boyfriend.”  He’s also named Jeff for the record.  So about 10 minutes later she appeared and we all watched the movie.

And since the movie we’ve all had a little bit to drink.  And we’ve chatted.  And said our goodbyes.  And laughed.  And shared our memories.  And made fun of each other.  And made empty promises to get together some time.  And to stay in touch.  And hugged.

And now it’s 3:11.  I have to be up in two hours.  But I wanted to write one last post here in Oklahoma before I left.  I’m a little sad to leave.  Even with the stress I’ve worked with some pretty talented people.  Hands down Kelly is the best stage manager I’ve ever worked with.  Jesse the scenic artist is amazing and is more even keel than anyone I’ve ever met.  Jack is cute.  And gay.  And I have no doubt that in a few years will be an amazing designer.  Did I mention that he’s cute.  Chris is a great Master Electrician.  Okay, he talks too much, and when he shouldn’t, and doesn’t have a lot of social skills but at the end of the day he knows what he’s doing and he’s damn good at it.  Mike, the assistant ME is just a nice guy.  He hardly ever says a bad word about anything.  Well except for Chris’ driving.  And he’s smart.  And quick witted.  He doesn’t make jokes often, but when he does they’re zingers.  And he too is damn good at his job.  This is just the crew.

There are many other people who do amazing jobs and are great to work with.  And it’s all of these people that make working here worthwhile.

So this ends the 2008 Summer Theatre season.

Two months.

Four weeks.

54 days.

Three shows.

A bunch of new friends.

Lots of memories.

And a new experience that has taught me much about myself, others, design and how I do my job.

And when it was all said and done, once again I realized that I’m quite good at my job.

See you in Kentucky.

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.

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?

Slaughter, Louisiana — Day 28

I’m not nearly as annoyed tonight as I was last night.  Nor angry for the matter.

For the past couple of days I’ve been in a mood.  For the most part I’m not sure anyone could really tell.  I learned a long time ago how to pretend to be happier than I really am.  If I hadn’t, I would have had to curl up in the fetal position and cry nonstop.  So I smile a lot and say the right things and all is well, at least on the outside.

So that was first issue.

The second issue is Kyle.  You might remember me telling you that one of the actors that we hang out with had gone to “The Director” and told him what we were up to and everything we said.  This was at dinner when we were avoiding “The Director” and they seemed to be siding with us.  Little did we know that it was Kyle playing both sides of the fence.  We’d probably never have known this if “The Director” hadn’t confronted Kelly about what was going on, making it perfectly clear who spilled the beans.

I’m a fairly forgiving person.  I may pout for a few hours and when no one’s around throw a tantrum, but for the most part I can deal with the situation.  However, and this is the part that’s important, once I’m done with someone, I’m done with them forever.  And with Kyle, I’m done with him forever.  And it’s not just because he has a couple of faces.  It’s because he’s not as funny as he thinks he is and because half the things that come out of his mouth are bigoted and racist.

For example the scenic artist for out season is black.  A beautiful painting that he created was finally used today and everyone was congratulating him on his work.  Kyle in his usual inappropriate manner says, “Yo better thank my people for lettin’ yo people use yo hands to create art.”  I’m sure if confronted he’d say he was joking.  But how many people do you know that make these kinds of jokes?  Everyday.  I don’t know if I’ve ever used the word “negro” in a sentence.  But Kyle can use it, define it, and even tell you how to spell it.  And he does it every time he gets the chance.  And the worst part is that his use of the word “negro” is very close in pronunciation of the word “nigga”.  And I find that offensive.  No matter how it’s used.

And the last reason, and for me the most exhausting reason that I’m done with him, is that it takes way tooooo much energy to be around him.  If any of you have ever been in the arts, especially theatre then you probably know the actor that’s always on.  He/She has to be in the spotlight in every situation.  My old roommate Jay was like this and I can’t tell you how glad I was to move out when it finally happened.  He was on when it was just the two of us, and his “onness” grew exponentially with each person that entered the room.  To the point that at parties I just wanted to punch him.  And this is the case with Kyle.  He’s always on.  Everything has to be a punch line, or a joke, or a gimmick, or something to draw your attention to him.  On Friday night everyone was singing around the piano in the living room.  It’s what musical theatre actors do.  Unfortunately Kyle walked in and the entire event became about Kyle singing louder than everyone else, singing words that were different to make people laugh, and pouncing all over the living room.  And with in a song or two, the books were put away and people left to do other things.

At rehearsal it’s even worse.  The minute Kyle walks on stage everything is about him.  I know “The Director” should reign his in, but they are friends and I don’t think he knows how.  Seriously, I’ve seen Kyle upstage the love ballad happening downstage because of his antics.  He brought rehearsal to a stop tonight because of the way he carried a piece of fabric off stage.  There is a scene in the beginning of the show, that has become so out of hand that it makes everyone in the theatre uncomfortable for the woman that is sharing the stage with him.  When he makes his first entrance for the show we just opened, I don’t know if he could be any gayer, and the play isn’t about gay people.  It’s about pirates.  Seriously, get a fucking clue.  The electrics crew has joked about finding a spotlight just for Kyle since the whole play seems to be about him anyway.

So I’m done with him.  I just don’t have the energy to pretend anymore.  And it’s impossible to be around him and not have to spend energy.  He’s that draining.  And life is too stressful and too demanding to spend time with people you don’t like.  So I’ve decided to stop spending time with him.  I just have no interest in it.  I don’t want to have drinks with him.  I don’t want to go out to eat with him.  I don’t want him to stop by my room.  I don’t want to be around him.  I want him to steer clear of me and leave me a lone.


And the reason this is important is because my fuse is getting shorter and shorter and I’m about to the point where I’m going to tell him exactly what I think.  I’m going to explain that racism in any form is inappropriate.  The treating anyone less than you is not a good idea.  That making disparaging remarks about people who are from poorer backgrounds than you isn’t funny nor nice.  Especially since you graduated from an exclusive private high school and drive a car that your parents bought for you.  And to my knowledge have never worked a day in your life except to be a bad actor in summer stock.  Don’t assume that everyone finds you funny.  Because we don’t.

And while we are at it.

You ARE the WORST actor on the stage.  The first thing you need to learn as an actor is that every scene is not about you.  In fact most scenes won’t be about you, sometimes even if you are the lead.  You have to be able to fade into the background and let others have the spotlight.  And if you can’t, then be a stand up comedian, or a magician, or a mime, but don’t be an actor.  And just for the record, only people who have had crappy action teachers spend time trying to figure out their animal character for each scene.  And although everyone considers their back story when creating a role, if the back story isn’t even a part of the play then perhaps you might ask your acting teacher exactly what they meant.  Because it should support the play not fight against it.  There is no need for “gay party planner, who has organized the party, blown up the balloons, and is part of the internet porn acquisitions team for the company in a play about pirates.  I’m going to go out on a limb and promise you there is no place for this character.

And this is what I want to tell Kyle, as I punch him in the face and then repeatedly kick him in the stomach after he falls to the ground.  And then laugh and point at him as he rolls around in pain.  And then and only then I’ll push him into the pit where he’ll land on the pointy part of the drum driving it into his chest leaving him writhing in pain.

Does anyone else think I might need anger management classes?

And so what does this have to do with last night.  Kyle invited himself along for dinner.  And Kelly is incapable of lying so she couldn’t make an excuse as to why he couldn’t go.  And then while I’m at my computer reading messages IM’s me to say, “I hope you are not mad at me.”

And I knew what was happening before I even blinked.  To which I replied, “Tell me he’s not going.”

To which she replied, “Sorry.”

To which I replied, “Then I’m not.”

And I was annoyed.  Mostly at Kyle.  But a little at Kelly for not being able to lie and get us out of this.   Not that I really expect her to.  She was afraid I was mad at her, but I wasn’t mad at her, I was mad at the situation.  It was 12:15 and we’d put off dinner till after we were both finished with our work for the evening.  And so now it’s late, and I haven’t eaten and now I’m not going out with her and that left me the option of Wendy’s or Taco Bell.  Not exactly what I wanted.  And I just didn’t have the energy to pretend, and be around him for an hour or so.  So I didn’t go.  I went to Wendy’s instead.  And ate and went to bed early.

And was angry.

And annoyed.

And pissed.

And to tell the truth I’m still a little annoyed.  And I’d still like to punch him in the gut.  But I’m going to go call and see about those anger management classes.

Slaughter, Louisiana. Population 1,011 people.  This time only 94.5% white.

Quitman, Georgia — Day 15

I’m not having fun.  I’ve known this for a while.  But it’s really starting to sink in.  And it scares me that I still have four weeks of this shit left.  It’s been nothing but stress since before I got here and I now wish that I’d carried out my threat of not coming at all if I didn’t get the complete set of scenery drawings.  If I’d done that I’d be in NYC right now, sleeping in my own bed.  I might be bored but I wouldn’t be miserable.  And in the past couple of days the reality that I’m miserable has become more apparent.  It’s not like one single thing has happened.  Or there was one thing that broke the camels back so to speak.  I just know how I feel.

The reason I know this is true is because I don’t really give a crap about finishing my design.  The electrics crew is supposed to start hanging my show on Thursday at the earliest, Friday at the latest.  And I am nowhere close to finishing it.   It took me almost an hour tonight just to sit down at the computer and start.  It’s now 4:42 a.m. and I’m about four or five hours behind where I though I’d be.  And I really don’t give a fuck.  Well I do.  But not really.

I guess the thing that’s bothering me the most, is that no one else is doing there job (Kelly excluded) and so why the fuck should I have to.  More importantly why do I (and Kelly) have to pick up the slack for everyone else.  I don’t want to make anymore scenery decisions.  In fact I don’t care what the fuck the scenery looks like.  I don’t care when it moves.  I don’t care if it’s even there.  I just want to worry about the lighting.  And just when it seems like things are getting there “The Director” comes along and makes some stupid decision or remark and sets us back three or four days.  Today we were meeting about what the paint treatment should look like on a set of chairs that get used in two shows.  He was a fucking idiot.  We pointed out the one chair that was finished and ask if he liked.  His response was some comment about the other eleven chairs that were still in the process of being painted.  I just want to punch him  It used to be I wanted to smack him…but now I’d like to draw back and knock him on his fucking ass.  And then maybe kick him a time or two for good measure.

Kelly, the stage manager, actually has it worse than I do.  She has to deal with “The Director” all day.  The stories she tells me make me want to punch him even more.  He does things like sit down and tell her what the plan is for the next day and then call her on the way home to yell at her because she didn’t provide him with a type written schedule.  How hard is this?  You are working on show #3 all day.  What else do you need to know.  It’s not like you are going to go home and actually think about what you are doing the next day.  We both know you won’t.  He also does things like ask Kelly to put his hair cut appointment on her schedule so she can remind him to go, otherwise he’ll forget.  And the worst thing, he’s RUDE to her.  And of all the nice people I know, Kelly tops the list as being one of the nicest.  She still sends thank you cards…in the mail.  I’ve never heard a say one cross word to anyone.  She gets frustrated but she always holds it together.  And he will bitch at her, and be rude to her and treat her like shit.  Like I said I want to punch him.

And I think the thing that pissed me off today, was about this rental car that’s supposed to be provided to me.  Last week if you remember he had a “massive coronary” because it was going to be 400 bucks a week.  So I did all the leg work and then spent money out of my own pocket to get insurance on my own that would cover the car.  So I went to him today and said, “The Director” I went out of my way to make this car affordable for you, can you please do me a favor?  I have put the deposit on the car which makes me responsible, but can I use your credit card to pay for the car because I don’t have an extra pile of cash lying around that I can spend on my car.  Especially since I haven’t really worked since mid April.  And his exact response was “NO,  I don’t want to be the bank for the company.”   I should probably point out that as he said this to me, I had his American Express  Card in my wallet to pay for the lighting supplies that we are picking up tomorrow.  So he doesn’t mind being the company bank when he it serves his needs, but when it serves the needs of his staff he says, “Fuck you!”  I’m tempted to take the card to Enterprise tomorrow and just have them put the balance on his card and then when he yells I can just say, “Fuck YOU!!!!!

The more I type the angrier I get.  I’m at the point right now that if it weren’t for fucking over Kelly, I think I’d pack up my toys and go home.  There is no love here.  There is no warmth.  There are no rewards.  Even the shows suck.

It’s like expensive community theatre.   Two of the major characters in show #2 speak in some weird dialect that makes them impossible to understand, and I have the script in front of me.  The soprano sings everything like it’s an opera and I have yet to understand a single word she is saying.  I asked a chorus member today to give me the name of one professional actor who can pull off opera and musical theatre and do both well.  I’m sure they are out there but I don’t know who they are.  The two genres are not the same and unfortunately we do musical theatre performed by opera singers.  They hit the notes but the acting sucks and there is no character in the performance.  And if even just one of these people had taken a real acting class they might know that just because they talk in a funny accent doesn’t make it funny.  And just because everyone in the rehearsal room is laughing also doesn’t make it funny.  It’s only funny to you and you aren’t going to be sitting in the house on opening night.  It’s also not funny when the actor in the back of the scene who is only there to take up space pulls focus because the “bit” you are doing is far more entertaining than what’s happening downstage.

This time last year I was in the first week of my time here.  In the weeks that followed I made friends that I’ll have for a lifetime.  Supreet, Pete, Kelly, Melissa.  All wonderful people that I loved spending time with.  It was nice to get home at the end of the day and sit in Pete’s room and have a beer.  Or tease Supreet about being a “dot Indian, not a feather Indian.”  Or to sit in Kelly’s room and drink vodka while we chatted about light hearted things like — what it’s like to lose a parent.  Or to go to Ed’s Hurricane Lounge, the biker bar about a block from where we are staying that has bras all over the ceiling and gather around the bar and do shots called “Prairie Fire” which is tequila and Tabasco sauce.  Or we gathered in the living room to play WII.   Or we watched movies.  Or we sat and talked about what it was like to work in theatre, or live in New York, or……………………………….   And it was fun.  I had a good time.  I worked hard, but the rewards were plenty.

This year if it weren’t for Kelly I’d have no social outlet at all.  The crew doesn’t like me because I’ve had to be grown up and fire the set designer which caused them more work, and I supported the firing of the Associate Tech Director because he was a dick.  So I’m the bad guy, which is fine, but it means that I spend a lot a time in my room wasting time or in Kelly’s room drinking bourbon.  (Which is not your friend.)

And it’s after 5:00 a.m. and I’m still not in bed and I have to be up and functioning by noon so that I can deal with my car, go the pharmacy for Kelly, and then come home and lock myself in my room so that I can finish this fucking light plot and try to have a good time.

And just to let you know, my trip to Kentucky is promising to be just as bad as Oklahoma so you guys are in store for almost eight more weeks of this.

By the way, Quitman is what I would like to be.  But it really is a place in Georgia.

Firedsville, Minnesota — Day 12

The TD fired the associate TD this morning.  This kind of upset the balance of things.  Mostly because he did so without consulting “The Director” first.  Of course it was explained later, that the reason the TD did this was because he knew “The Director” wouldn’t have the balls to let him do it.  I’d love to say that this statement is not true but it is.

I got an earful from “The Director” when I got to the house today.

“This is just a mess.  A goddamn mess.  A mess I tell you.  What are we going to do if he sues us for breech of contract.  What’s he going to go back to Illinois and say about this theatre company.  This is a fucking mess.  What am I supposed to do now?  I just finished talking to the ATD and he says that none of what’s being said about him is true, and that it’s the TD that’s the problem.  Who am I supposed to believe?  What do you know about all of this?  The ATD is such a big teddy bear I can’t believe any of this is true.   What if I just have him go away for a few days, let things calm down and then let him come back to work.  Maybe he wouldn’t sue us then.  This is a mess I tell you.  A mess.”

If I included the entire conversation monologue, my  fingers would fall off from typing.  I just stood on the sidewalk and listened.  There’s not much you can do when “The Director” is going on and on.  I finally told him that I had to go and that maybe if he wasn’t sure that the right thing was being done that perhaps the thing to do was to sit down with both of them, at the same time, and hash it out.  I left it at that.

He called me about 15 minutes later to tell me that the TD was not willing to let the ATD come back and if he were permitted to come back to work, the TD would quit.  “This is a mess.  A mess I tell you.”

As of right now, the ATD, who is no longer an employee is sitting in the living room of the house, drinking and shooting the shit with “the boys”.  I told “The Director” that if he wanted the situation alleviated and to stop the nonsense that started all of this that he should pay for a hotel room for the ATD and inform him that he’s no longer welcome in the house.  I have a friend that says it should take no more than 30 seconds to fire someone.  They come in.  You say it’s not working out, that HR will be contacting them with further information and they should gather their belongings so that security can escort them from the building.  Done.

That’s not the case here.  Seems when you are fired in Minnesota you can hang out with all your friends, bad mouth the people who ARE trying to get the job done…and are you ready for the best part.  GET PAID IN FULL.  Even though you are fired.  Yeap.  The ATD has been told that he will be paid in full.  I asked today what it would take for me to be insubordinate and get fired.  I could take my toys and go home and still get paid.

While we are on the subject.  “Ashley the Cunt” spoke to “The Director” today and told him that she expects to get paid in full even though she’s no longer designing the scenery.  She did all the prelim work, the ideas are hers and she should get paid for her work, even though she didn’t complete the process.  My opinion was that he SHOULD pay her in full.  As long as she provides a full set of working drawings for the project including but not limited to:  Complete Ground Plans, Complete Elevations, Complete Sections (Right and Left), Complete Construction Drawings, Complete Drawing for All Properties, Full Set of Paint Elevations, Full Set of Renderings, and a Working Model.  If and when she completed these items then he should be willing to pay her for them.  But since it’s been four months and she’s not done any of these things I doubt very seriously she’d do them for the money that she wants.

And to end the day.  I just went to Walgreen’s to get shaving cream.  The following is a conversation that was exchanged with a very drunk female customer.  Her very drunk friend laughed while we talked.  The very drunk female customer speaks first.

“Hey should you be walking on that?”

“It (the cast) comes off on Tuesday.”

“But what about your information?”

“My information?”

“Yeah, your infor…Did you know they don’t sell dildos at Walgreen’s?”

“No they don’t.  But they do sell hairbrushes.”

She didn’t know what to say in return and the conversation ended.

Beating a Dead Horse — Day 8

I’m beginning to think the artistic director is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.  Or at least stupid.  Take your pick.

For the past week we’ve been holding evening meetings to decide what the scenery is going to look like after we fired the set designer.  Kelly, the stage manager, and I show up with solid ideas about what each scene should look like.  We then explain all of this to the director.  He asks questions and does his best to figure out what we are talking about.  When we think he’s grasped the idea we move on to the next scene.  This continues as we move moment by moment through the show.

And we think we are  getting somewhere.

And then today, we have a production meeting.  A production meeting is a time for all the production staff to discuss concerns and issues.  And so in the midst of this production meeting the director starts talking about things we have decided on.  And these have nothing to do with the meetings that we’ve had.  There are a few ladders in one show.  We decided that they would be wood.  Today he says, “We decided those should be aluminum, right?”  There is a beanstalk at the end of Act 1.  We had decided that to stay consistent with the other ladders this too would be a ladder.  Nope, wrong.  This is something the idiot set designer that was fired is now making, just like we didn’t talk about at the meeting.  And this continued and continued.

By the end of the meeting I was trying to figure out exactly why we were even spending time trying to help him.  He listens to our ideas and then goes in an entirely different direction.  I think the one that clinched it for me though, was dealing with this huge platform designed by the idiot set designer.  It’s a large raked disc that is 17 feet wide.  This is huge.  It takes up more than half the stage side to side and almost all of the stage up to downstage.  It was a very bad idea but unfortunately by the time she’d been relieved of her duties it was almost built so what can you do?  The original idea for the platform was for it to break apart into three pieces that could be used separately.  This would be great if the director could visualize anything, but he can’t.  So for show number 3 he’s completely at a loss as to what to do with them.  So at our meeting several days ago, we decided that the platform would stay as one piece and would move around to different places that help define the ideas of the scene.  This was settled on and a approved.  So much so that we’d told the tech director not to worry about letting it break apart.

And then Mister Director comes into the production meeting.  And he has little sketches.  And the platform is broken into multiple pieces.  We were all annoyed more than anything.  He doesn’t seem to understand that he can’t continue to change his mind.

And then he wanted to meet again tonight to look at Act 2 of show 3. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.  It’s not like anything we are going to say is going to make a difference.  He’s so wishy washy that at the bar tonight where we were meeting, he actually called the waiter over and asked if we could PLEASE order.  The waiter looked at him like he was stupid.  And why you might ask, because we had ordered 15 minutes before hand.  This is what we are dealing with.

So we discussed Act 2.  And we asked again what the deal was with the ginormous platform.  And we asked again about the beanstalk.  And we tried to make sense of it all.  And as we left the bar, we all looked at each other and said, “You know he won’t remember a word of this tomorrow.

But the most fun moment of the evening.  He looked at Kelly and me and asked when he was going to get sketches, or renderings or a model.   A model would be great.

Without missing a beat, I said, “You’ll get those when you hire a set designer.”

He thought I was being snarky (my new favorite word) but I think he got the point.

Day 17 In The Land of Corn (One More To Go)…Day 2 of Performance…Day 3 of the Cast…30 Day’s Till I Leave for the Land of Tornadoes

Okay, so I know I promised you pictures of the gay pride parade.  Unfortunately, I blinked and missed it.  However, there was a parade here today.  In my small little Iowan town.  Organized by the students of the school I’m designing at.  I so wanted pictures to post.  But I’m sure the parade was started by

Followed closely by

But alas I missed it.  I’ve searched the web high and low to find photos and either they want to keep it a secret or it really doesn’t exist.  I’ve searched MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and just Google searches and each time I come up empty.  So please don’t be too mad at me, I tried my best.

It’s been an okay day.  I slept a little later than I meant to but was up earlier than usual.  Came downstairs and convinced my house mates to make me coffee.  Once it was finished I convinced them to pour me coffee.  Of course I’m still trying to figure out what part of cream in my coffee means just waving the carton over my cup.  Even when I asked for more they just waved the carton over the cup.  I’ve seen black coffee that had more cream in it than my cup did.  Of course they were doing it for me, so who can complain.

I then talked to the African choreographer for a while.  He’s very funny.  He doesn’t talk much when he’s in a group of people.  But when you get him alone he’s great.  We talked about his experiences of being an immigrant in NYC and LA and now Chicago.  We talked about how hard it was to get work papers and how expensive it was.  We talked about how it’s easier for an immigrant to assimilate in NYC than it is in other places.  We talked about how American’s assume you are uneducated if you don’t speak English.   We talked about his dancing.  And his life at home.  We chatted for almost two hours.  It was very informative.  He struggles with the language and wants to be able to speak it well enough to stop translating it in his head.  He wants the word to just come in English.  Yesterday I tried to explain what a shark was.  I finally pulled up an image from the Internet and he knew exactly what I was talking about.  I told him about waiting tables and talking to foreigners and how if you speak slowly and clearly they are more likely to understand you.  He told me he apprieciated me doing that for him because it’s easy to follow when someone slows the conversation down.  I shared with him how it is for me to listen to people speak Spanish.  I hear words that I understand but they are talking so fast I don’t even know their context.

And then after all that talking and drinking coffee, I took a nap.  It was a short nap, but a nap all the same.  And it felt great.  After the nap it was off to the theatre for performance number two.  It went okay for the most part.  I was late on a cue at one point, and at another point the light board op and I were not together for a couple of cues.  It was probably only obvious to me, but it was still annoying.  But who’s complaining.  Before the show though, I asked the assistant stage manager to go the scene shop and get gaff tape. If you don’t know what gaff tape is, click on the link and Wickepedia will explain it to you.  She came back with masking tape.  And so I sent her back again.  This time she came back with bright yellow gaff tape.  And I sent her back again for black gaff tape.  This time I followed her because we were in a hurry and needed to open the house.  By the time I got to the scene shop door on crutches she was on her way back with black gaff tape.  So I followed her back into the house (where the audience sits).  Unfortunately, I missed the top step coming down off the stage and to keep myself from falling I landed on the foot with my broken ankle.  It’s been throbbing ever since.  I had to take my Tylenol-3 to get through the show.  It feels okay now, but for a while it was not nice.  The rest of the evening was without incident.

After the show a lot of people came back to our house to have a beer.  We all sat around the living room chatting and enjoying ourselves.  Here’s another Kim story for you.  Kim doesn’t really look at you when she’s talking to you.  She actually rolls her eyes up into her head and looks at the ceiling.  Especially if she’s telling a story or repeating a conversation.  It’s a little disturbing sometimes to see her staring at the ceiling while she’s talking to you.  She is also one of those people that starts laughing half way through their story while everyone else in the room just stares at her, because nothing she’s saying is funny.  She’s very much an animal lover so I tend to say things like perhaps we should come down for turkey dinner when she talks about her pet turkey.  Or that I hear horse is a delicacy in some countries.  Or that her chickens would make a great spicy chicken stew.  Especially if we threw in some goat along with it.  I don’t think she finds me funny anymore.  I also noticed tonight that no matter what the story she can one-up-you.  Tonight there were three people present who had had their appendix removed.  So we were sharing hospital stories and surgery stories…and the next thing I know Kim is describing the HUGE scar she has across her stomach from the tumors they removed from her stomach.  From there the conversation turned to doctor stories and I mad the comment that nice doctors get sued much less than the ones who are cold and heartless even if they aren’t as good.  To which Kim replied, slamming her hand down on the chair, “Nice doctors KILLED my daddy.  We should have sued.  But I don’t think my mother would have survived it.”  I have about ten more examples but as the night progressed I just sat in my chair thinking…my readers will love this.

One of the choreographers gave me a disc of photos that her husband shot of her solo piece.  The pictures aren’t great but you can see a little of what I’ve been doing.  I’m hoping to have real photos in a couple of weeks and I’ll share them with you and explain what I was doing.   I’m making the pictures a little bigger than they should be so they are a little pixilated.

This picture is from the opening of the show.

This is as the dancer moves to the stage

This shows the dancer enclosed in one of the many rooms she’s describing in the text that she’s speaking.   Most of the rooms are created by using eight lights tightly focused in very thin rectangles on the stage.  There were four rooms in all and a small hallway.  The walls of the rooms appeared around her as she moved into the space and disappeared to allow her to exit and move to the next room.  I wasn’t sure it was going to work but in the end it was beautiful.  The photos don’t really do it justice, but it’s the piece that I’m most proud of from the show.  I promise I’ll post pictures in the next couple of weeks when I get them.

Day 3 In The Land Of Corn

I’m sitting in the kitchen of my lovely shared house in my underwear typing a blog post. I tried doing it upstairs in my room, but I can’t type with the computer in my lap, and my knees were hurting from kneeling on the floor. (I hear you snickering out there.) I just hope my new house mates don’t decide to get up and come to the kitchen for water. But what can you do.

My day today started out just like every other day. The alarm clock went off at 9:00 a.m. And again at 9:07 a.m. And again at 9:14 a.m. And again at 9:21 a.m. And again at 9:29 a.m. And again at 9: 36. What I didn’t know was that this alarm clock only lets you snooze five times. When I next looked at the clock it was 10:30 a.m. and I was supposed to be at the theatre in 15 seconds. Damn! I figured they couldn’t fire me so I just decided to take my time and try to get there as fast as possible. First on the agenda. Go down stairs and start the coffee. Then back upstairs to shower while the coffee was brewing. I showered, got dressed and gathered up all my things for work and came down to the kitchen for a couple of quick cups of coffee.

FUCK!

The little container that holds the grounds was not closed properly, so all the coffee brewed and dripped, all over the counter. I realize now I should have taken a picture of the mess. I was just preoccupied with getting to school, cleaning up the mess, and pissed off that I wasn’t going to have any coffee. It took forever to clean the mess up. There was coffee all over the counter. It was under the microwave, under the toaster, under the coffee pot, on the floor, and it had run to the entire other side of the counter under the clean dishes. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. Once it was sort of clean, I grabbed my keys and headed to school. Although I have to admit that I stopped at the Kum & Go for a Diet Coke.

I was asked to take a picture to prove that this store really exists so here you go.

The front of the gas pump:

What can I say. Someone has a very funny sense of humor. But more likely it’s some very conservative person who doesn’t realize the double meaning of the name.

After I “Kum & Go’d” I headed to school. I got there and explained why I was late and they just laughed. Then I started the arduous task of making changes to my plot. Whenever a lighting designer does a design the initial design is an educated guess. Sometimes you have had talks with the choreographer or director but you’d be surprised how many times you haven’t. You look at the space, the set, the details you know about the show and you punt. Or guess. A good designer is able to guess and get a lot of it right. But even a good designer has to make changes once they are in the space and have seen rehearsal.

So today that’s what I was doing. I had about two pages of notes for the Master Electrician to deal with. I was adding about 16 or 17 lights. I was striking 8. I was moving 4. I also told him some of the lights focused from yesterday were done wrong by the crew. And I also found some mistakes last night on the original plot and those needed to be fixed as well. I gave them enough to do to keep them busy for 7 or 8 hours. I’m just hoping they got it finished by the end of the day.

I was told I wasn’t needed. So suddenly I had the day off in the middle of nowhere Iowa. So what was a girl to do? I decided to go to the Kum & Go in Des Moines. Better known as the movies.

You can’t see it very well but it’s a place called Romantix and the arcade is called The Gentleman’s Library. If you want to find the one nearest you, here is the link: Romantix It’s unlike any place I’ve been to before. I would have loved to have taken pictures inside but I was afraid the patrons might get upset.

First you have to buy a $5.00 video card. I think this is so they guarantee that you have to spend some money. Then you go through a velvet curtain. And then you are in the arcade. The first impression. I’ve seen burning apartment buildings with less smoke. It was so bad you could cut it with a knife. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and plunged in. At first appearance it was similar to most of these places. Dark. Seedy. The sounds of porn playing. And then I realized there were no doors on the booths. You could walk right in and take a peek at whomever was there. This is good and bad. If it’s a cute boy you get to go in and take a peek. If it’s the 95 year old dude, with a cigarette dangling from his toothless gums, not so good. So I found my corner and began to watch how it all happened. For those of you out there who aren’t familiar with the mating habits of men in adult bookstores, an entire dissertation could be written on the subject.

First you have to establish what is allowed and what’s not allowed in the store. Can you have more than one in a booth? Do you have to keep spending money? Do you have to tip the clerk to get them to ignore you? Do you have to worry about the police? So when you are someplace new you have to figure it all out.

Once you have that down, then you have to figure out how the mating dance works. Once again, you could study this for your entire life and never cover it all. There are the looks. The nods. The winks. The gestures. The signal for yes. The signal for no. The deep exhale that means go away and leave me alone. The rubbing of crotches. The standing with your knee bent and your foot on the wall. And all of this is different in each place you visit. So I spent about 30 minutes today just figuring out how it all worked.

There seemed to be two teams of people. The first team claimed a spot in a booth and camped out there. And they waited for team two to peek their head in to take a look. At which point they would indicate whether it was okay to join them. If not you walked away. If yes, then you joined them in the booth.

Now here’s the tricky part. There’s no door. So you are basically performing for anyone who wants to peek their head in. For some people this is very disturbing and they end up leaving. Others try to block the doors with their backs. And then there are others who say fuck it and just let the world watch at will. I’ll let you decide which one of these I am.

So now that I new the rules, it was time to play. Unfortunately by this time there was no one I wanted to play with. So I got a Diet Coke and stood in the corner and watched and waited. And waited. And waited. This is also a game of patience. You have to wait for the right person to come in, and then hope they are interested in you. And eventually he arrived. He was a cute college boy with his University of Iowa sweatshirt on and well the rest is for me to know and you to wonder about.

So this was my afternoon/early evening. For the most part it was a complete waste of time. Most of the men who came in were old and smoky. There were several VERY cute boys but they were only interested in each other. And that left the rest of us to wait. And wait. And wait. I finally called it quits and left.

Only to discover that it was FUCKING snowing outside. Yes, snowing. It’s April 11th. What the hells that about. Luckily it wasn’t sticking but it was annoying. It caused me to drive a little slower on the way home and be more cautious.

And now I’m home, sitting in my underwear, in the kitchen, typing a post.

And tomorrow (April 12th is my birthday). And I’m in Iowa. By myself. In the snow. With nothing to do. And I have to turn my rental car in so I can’t go play with the boys. So it’s probably going to be the best birthday ever. Ugh.