Block 429: May 10, 2014

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The workshop in Irvine closes tonight.

Meanwhile, last night’s audience was HUGE.

Date: May 10, 2014

Crane: 429

Days Spent on Project: 447

Location: West Hollywood, CA

Person I would have sent it to: Lex C.

Over the summer spent at Peninsula Players in Wisconsin, I designed three shows back to back. In true summer stock fashion, we had two and a half weeks to realize a show’s design. The first and last projects (a small contemporary comedy and then an even smaller modern drama) were manageable to tackle within that time frame. The middle experience, a musical, was much more difficult and really focused the ENTIRE production team (including the actors!) on contributing and working together.

I’ve only done summer stock a few times in my life, and I really hope and wish that eventually I can put it behind me. Summer stock, while being incredibly educational and worthwhile can also be really difficult to navigate; it was for me personally and professionally.

Sometimes it’s not about the work that you make, but it’s about the experience that you have.

Anyway, Lex was an intern with Pen Players that summer, and she was frequently assigned to us in the shop to help us with builds and alterations. She had this really amazing, and surprising, focus when sewing… which she usually always did by hand. The stitches were so incredibly specific, small, and exact; Sam J. and I called her a couturier-in-training and told her she would get swept up by a shop easily, in she wanted it.

How many hems and trims did she sew meticulous that summer?

She stayed in Wisconsin, and her life is really fascinating to watch through her Facebook posts. She has a wicked imagination and fun outlook on the world.

Again, sometimes it’s not about the work that you make at a summer stock theater, but it’s about the experience that you have and the people you take away from it.

Music I’m listened to while sewing: Silence this morning.

Except for the birds outside the window! Birds just exist here!

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Learned so much last night. And it wasn’t all about the workshop.

First, I’m considering the workshop a success. We managed to get an audience of around 40-50 people, and we kept them really engaged with the experience throughout. Seeing the audience become interested in what they were watching, engaged in the act of play-watching was so re-affirming. Asking a group of people, and expecting them, to become active audience-participants rather than passive audience-observers, can be really powerful I’m learning.

Also, I think the actors realized what my co-creator and I have been trying to do. Having the extra people surrounding them as they performed focused them. And they had fun with it.

I’m glad it’s been as brief an experience as it has been. With only 9 rehearsals to stage the entire piece, and then two performances, it will hopefully retain that “special” quality about it. If we’d had more time and resources, it could have had a bit more depth. But this, this was perfect for where we were as a team.

Now onto the next one.

We had a lot of people talk very positively about it. I think we’ll get a lot of repeat audience along with newcomers.

Secondly, I had a more usual West Hollywood night, it seems. I came back to LA from Irvine and met up with friends, who had been out already for a few hours. We ended up staying out until after 3am. Nothing happened. I didn’t partake in any craziness.

The LA gay scene is a little different than the NYC one. Maybe it isn’t, actually, as I try to avoid Hell’s Kitchen at night when I’m home. I don’t know.

But, LA is really nice. I have today and tomorrow left to wallow in this before I head to Arkansas for a month. I’m supposed to be back in NYC afterwards, but… but…

Hm.

Is this a “grass is always greener” moment I’m having? Do I like LA because this feels like a vacation? I’ve been working and creating here. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve been surrounded by people I like and get along with each day I’ve been here. I’ve been social here in ways I’m not in NYC.

Hm.

Can’t wait for our “closing” performance tonight. Much to take in and remember.

 

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