Block 417: April 28, 2014

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Third day in LA. The workshop starts today.

Date: April 28, 2014

Crane: 417

Days Spent on Project: 435

Location: West Hollywood, CA

Person I would have sent it to: Donya W.

That first season with the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium, Donya was the fourth directing student that I designed for; she chose to direct Taming Of The Shrew for her second-year directing project. She wanted it to be almost Brechtian, but not quite, where we broke any illusions about “suspension of disbelief” and let them audience know that they were watching a theatrical event.

They should be watching a troupe of players, an ensemble, performing the story of Taming of the Shrew. Cool; to that end, they should be wearing costumes that are obviously costumes, and we wanted to see some of them putting on clothes at the top of the show while other ensemble members set up the “playing area.”

Again, the challenge was how to design an entire cast of “Elizabethan” outfits for under $500.

Lots of rentals, lots of borrowing from Trinity Rep’s costume stock. One unfortunate cheap wig bought from a beauty supply store to age one of the men in the show.

Donya was good to work with. I learned a lot working on that production and, looking back, I’m still realizing and discovering things about that process. She’s now in Ashland, OR, working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

How is everyone I know out there?

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got that “Dancefloor” music playlist on this morning.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: So, I really think I’m experiencing a little bit of jet-lag out in LA. I had passed out by 8pm last night, and I was up by 6am this morning.

Today, I get to explore LA on my own! (kinda)

I get to figure out Uber or Lyft to get me to the subway here. (My friends here looked at me funny when I said I was going to take the subway, but who cares!) I get to take the subway to the train station downtown and take a train out to Irvine. (Again, my friends were floored that I’d be taking a train.)

And then, tonight, the workshop begins! I feel like it’s a little like Christmas today, and I’m trying to keep expectations low and remember a lot of work has to happen in the next 13 days.

But it’s still crazy exciting.

Yesterday was also great. I had brunch with the workshop partner to make a plan of attack, and then I spent the afternoon with a group of people at an art gallery/art fair in downtown LA. It was wonderful to be outside and in the sun.

Most of the people I was with yesterday were from the Yale School of Drama who’ve made their lives/careers in or around LA. Most of them graduated probably about 5 years before I did. One person, a lighting designer, told me how she made it in New York City three years before needing to leave. She just realized she had enough of the work but, to stop doing it, she knew she would have to leave New York. And so, she ended up in Long Beach.

She also talked about seeing people years ahead of her in their careers finally getting a taste of success or comfort, and wondering if the time was worth it.

She also talked about the “intellectuality” of theater, and realizing too many people use it to cover up ideas.

Another person there talked about “the glass ceiling” in New York Theatre.

Another person talked about how the definition of “Up and Coming New York Theatre Artists” is a little off; usually the people on those lists have already HAD that successful show, have the ability to sell out productions, have a name that will be written about online, can get seen by agents, etc. Shouldn’t “Up and Coming” be the person who’s got the dream, the ambition, but hasn’t been let through the door yet?

It’s interesting to talk about “New York Theatre” in Los Angeles.

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