Block 334: February 4, 2014

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Tried an experiment this morning: I put one more tablespoon of coffee in my french press, and less water.

Caffeine!

Date: February 4, 2014

Crane: 334

Days Spent on Project: 353

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Melissa T.

Melissa was the third costume designer in the first year class of students when I was a third year at the Yale School of Drama. She came to New Haven from St. Louis, if I remember correctly.

As a third year design student, if you pass the design department’s muster, you’re assigned to design a production at the Yale Repertory Theater, therefore giving you a chance to design “professionally” at a regional theater. (I put “professionally” in quotation marks because, well, you aren’t paid for your work, it’s all a part of the classroom experience, directors are told that you’re first and foremost a student and should be treated as such, and you’re mentored by the design department throughout much of the process; I get the hand-holding, now, I really do, but…) Each season, the Yale Rep produces six productions. I was assigned the sixth, Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, directed by the School’s Dean.

At the time, I was incredibly excited. Shakespeare! A big cast! Shop support! Big ideas!

In the end, after many design meetings and much discussion, I pushed to dress the play as if it were the 1950s and the characters were in a Douglas Sirk romantic melodrama. It would be as high fashion as I could get it, the color palette was going to be tightly limited (France’s black, navy’s, grays, and deep purples would transform into oranges, yellows, and browns of Italy with a final burst of 1950s pink in Helena’s final dress). I liked where I took it. If I could re-do some choices, of course, I’d re-work some of the details. But I was happy with it over all.

Melissa, as a first year, was assigned to be my assistant. And, looking back, it was probably a great pairing. She came to the YSD from the Midwest and a regional theater background, much like myself. She had a great sense of fashion, and vintage; it was always appreciated when she’d show up in the costume shop in a period-appropriate dress from her own closet.

Melissa now has a small daughter of her own, who’s extremely adorable. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend, another actor from the Yale School of Drama. He works in television, and his career is growing more visible.

And that’s awesome.

Music I listened to while sewing: Michael Nyman’s soundtrack to The Piano.

I can’t believe my parents forbid me from seeing that movie when I was a freshman in high school. Concerns about seeing nudity seem cute now… especially as I spend some of my time with work helping people get fully dressed, skivvies and all.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: My plan to work for an hour on every project I have on my to-do list worked.

I went over an above the hour minimum! And I got to the gym! And I read more in a book I’m reading for fun! And I responded to all my emails!

I’m hoping to continue the progress today; the boost of caffeine is helping.

Off we go.

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