Block 197: September 9, 2013



Friends: It’s Sleep No More day.

This means I’ll move away from red Cranes after today. I promise.

Date: September 9, 2013

Crane: 197

Days Spent on Project: 204

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Grace P.

Grace is the eldest daughter of Lynn, the Theater Arts division director at NHSI, and Jeff, one of the Acting teachers I assisted. Was she four years old my first summer there?

Because of this program that her parents are heavily involved in, I think she has probably had the most amazing life opportunity; every summer, for 5-7 weeks, she got to spend most of her time at a program that employed at least 50 theater artists who were passionate about what they did, passionate about the arts, passionate about living, and just good people. Everyone there wanted, loved being there. . Many of us had the opportunity to baby-sit or, later on, just hang out with her as she grew up. There was a lot of support in the summer community.

She would also eventually take advantage of the prime opportunity having over 50 teachers, designers, technicians, and associates at her disposal. One year, she decided she (was she even ten then?), with the help of her mother, would produce her own production of West Side Story, casting all of us in the parts, with no rehearsal time, and then perform it on one of the lawns at Northwestern’s campus. It turned out that all 150 students showed up to watch.

Through a bit of a casting coup, I won the part of Tony (despite never having seen the musical or the movie).

I’ve never improvised as hard in my life.

I think Grace is a winner. I really do wish the best for her, especially as she must be in her last (maybe?) year of high school now… wow.

Music I listened to while sewing: Is it any surprise that I’m listening to my Sleep No More playlist this morning? Gotta get geared up for this…

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I will admit that I have a few things going my way right now. If I’m being honest, and slightly optimistic, I will say that some opportunities are on the horizon that might be incredibly personally beneficial. They won’t make me much money, actually they have nothing to do with money, but they have already started to pay off some emotional dividends.

And that’s awesome.

However, last night, one an evening walk with my dog, I ran into a designer whom I’ve worked with in the past. We’re roughly peers- he’s a few years older than me, and has a bit more experience at the level that I want to be at. He went to Yale for grad school like I did, but a few years prior.

He’s nice. I enjoy seeing him.

However, I left the conversation incredibly downcast. Yes, he does have a handful of years of experience that I don’t have and that means he has had more opportunities to network and work and design, so he should be “ahead” of me in that regard. I understand this, but that doesn’t stop me from being jealous of what he has.

I’m working. I’ve got a big production of Hamlet going on, that I’m assisting a designer whose company I enjoy and it’s with a company that I enjoy working for. I’ve got a small (read “actually quite big, but no budget or fee involved” into that) coming up for a week. I’m not desperate for work or money.

This is the fact of freelancing that gets me: the grass is always greener in someone else’s lawn, and you can never stop fertilizing your lawn to get your own grass to grow. It always seems like all the other green lawns around you just happen to be that way… The truth is more likely that they just fertilize their grass under the cover of night, when you don’t see it.

I have to remind myself we all work at it. It’s not easy for anyone.

So I have to focus on the fact that I have personal projects and relationships that are going well. There are things OUTSIDE this freelance and theater life that are looking up. I need to focus on that because, while theater is great, I made the choice years ago (when I got my dog) that theater design wasn’t going to consume my life. I wanted to have something else to live for.

Time to spin mentally the idea that life really is great. It really is. This is life. Time to keep moving.

And when all else fails, buy a ticket to Sleep No More and forget yourself for a few hours.

Cheers, everyone, and happy Monday.


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