Block 299: December 29, 2013


Today, I’m going to a rehearsal for a New Year’s Eve party! Have no idea what it will be like, but I know it’ll be fun!

Date: December 29, 2013

Crane: 299

Days Spent on Project: 316

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Vinnie O.

Vinnie, when I was working at Actors Theatre of Louisville, was the resident sound designer for most all the shows that were produced there. I can’t remember if he would design ALL the shows produced there; I mean, especially during the Humana Festival when it seemed like a new show was going into tech rehearsal every week, he couldn’t do it all. Could he?

Vinnie was a recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama, and I believe he had the great fortune to get that job so recently after getting his MFA. Imagine walking into a well-respected regional theater right after grad school… knowing when and where the work was gonna be and getting paid for it? That’s the dream.

Over the years, after I left Actors Theatre and went to Yale myself, we would run into each other randomly at school events or holiday parties.

But, now, 12 years after first meeting him, we’re working together for the first time. We started brainstorming ideas for a show that we’d both like to design, to realize, in a theatrical style that we think needs to be explored more. So, ever since May, Vinnie and I have been emailing ideas back and forth, writing outlines, diagrams, timelines, and trying to piece together the beginnings of this project. I think it’s been almost eight months since we’ve started; we’re no way near a finished project- or script- at this point, but we have something. We don’t know what it will be.

And it looks like we’ll have two weeks in April to workshop it out in California at the University of California at Irvine. It feels like a big deal, but it might not be. I have to remind myself that it really is the opportunity to play around and see how this form works. We’re not aiming to have a concrete finished project; we just want to learn more about what we’re tackling. And hopefully get it to another step.

And, as rough as 2013 has been, with its fits and starts of work, this project has been a constant. Something for me to flex my imagination on. Something to distract myself. Something to dream towards. Again, it may not be anything in the end, but I think it could be pretty great.

Nothing like creating your own opportunities during a drought, you know?

So, thanks Vinnie.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got my Alexander McQueen playlists going today. I’ve listened to Plato’s Atlantis, Widows of Culloden, Sarabande, The Girl Who Lived In The Tree, and Pantheon as Lecum… the moody, romantic shows.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: You know, I have to say, as much as I want bigger and better things to happen, it’s all about taking baby steps towards those goals. Yeah, I’d love to have a huge project right now. I’d really like the compensation for working on a large project. I’d like the emotional and financial security that comes with a long-term contract on a show that is definitely happening.

But, this time has been helpful. It’s been a good reminder to take the time to explore and work on what you can. Slow periods can be helpful for reflection. It’s been great to have the opportunity to work on side projects. It’s been nice to have to reach out and expand my horizons. It’s been good to meet new people and try working on different kinds of things.

While I keep saying that 2013 has been awash in frustration and anger and tedium and rejection- that it’s been a year of barely scraping by- the humility that those feelings and experiences have brought was probably a good thing.

Take a step back. Evaluate where you’re going. Think about what you were trying to do. Think about where you WANT to go, what you WANT to do.

The realization that I wanted to continue my own work as a designer, and not simply be The Assistant all the time, was welcome, but it was big. It meant re-directing the kind of work I’m looking for. It meant trying to get busier. It meant saying “yes” more. It also meant evaluating my time and deciding what was worth it. It meant being insecure. It made me question the work I’ve been doing full-time for four years. Was it too late to change?

If I left Louisville to go to grad school and move to New York so I could be “the one in charge,” how did I fall back into the “assistant position” again? Yes, I’m a good assistant. I like doing it. But why not keep trying to be the designer?

It’s been a year of reflection, change, and insecurity. It hasn’t been pleasant or easy, but some of the changes have been good.

Here’s to the remaining hours of 2013, and what’s to come.

3 thoughts on “Block 299: December 29, 2013

  1. Pingback: Block 683: June 6, 2015 | A Thousand Quilted Cranes

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