Block 349: February 19, 2014



Again, today’s weather: hooray for February.

Date: February 19, 2014

Crane: 349

Days Spent on Project: 368

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Ming.

Ming. Ming. Ming.

If I’m going through the professors that defined my three years at the Yale School of Drama, I have to dedicate a Crane to Ming. I spent a lot of time this morning, trying to think of a color combination that would be appropriate to him and also please him (I normally don’t try to choose a Crane’s color based on the person I’m dedicating it to… so that I worried about a choice for 30 minutes should tell you about this). In the end, I know I should have done red and gold, but I chose these watery gray-blues because, well… watercolor?

Ming is a living legend, and there’s no way anyone can debate that. He’s a part of American Theater Design History, possibly just Theater History, for the bridge that he’s provided over the past almost sixty years of theater work.

He IS the Yale School of Drama’s design department. (Well, he’s recently stepped down from heading that department, so they’re in a transitional period currently.) He has lead and trained and focused how many design students over the past forty-some years; his influence can really be seen in generations of theater designers. And it’s kind of amazing to think about that reach.

Some of joke that we still hear the Inner-Ming in our head when we sit down to a project to flesh out ideas. And it’s true. I’ll forever remember the fourth set design class, as I sheepishly (but proudly!) showed a drawing for a set design for Hedda Gabler; he looked at it, the bore a stare directly at me, saying I had the makings of a great community theater designer. Then there were the lectures about drawing fingernails and how I couldn’t do it. Then the discussion over how Amadeus has to have a gut because he’s more of a man-child than a man in the play of the same name.

As harsh as he could be (how many of us cried in those classes), I have to say it was worth it. Ming has a passion, a dedication, and a belief in the power of theater design. He gets characters. He gets that there should be a truth behind our work. And he wants to communicate that passion to his students… because, in the end, I think he believed in all the students he admitted… even if he always believed we could do just a little bit better.

Tough love, but *what* love, you know?

Music I listened to while sewing: After bouncing around several artists this morning, I settled on La Roux.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Am I losing steam today?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still going to the gym and I’ll re-read Pippin and think about more choices for that and then write some more for the California project, but… I feel a little sluggish.

I wish there were someone here to bounce ideas off of; my dog is a nice sounding board, sure, but I want someone to respond with more than requests to go outside.


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