Good afternoon from Arkansas! Today has been crazy, schedule-wise!
Didn’t help that I slept in until 11am.
Date: May 13, 2014
Days Spent on Project: 450
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Person I would have sent it to: Lili-Anne B.
Lili-Anne was another actress, along with Sharyon from yesterday, who was brought to Peninsula Players for my second production there. It was Little Shop of Horrors, probably one of my favorite (or, at least, most cherished or most nostalgic) musicals ever.
I first became aware of Little Shop when the movie was released on VHS back in the late 80s. I think I may have finally been allowed to rent it from the local grocery store (as you could rent VHS tapes at the grocery back then in Indiana) when my parents thought I was old enough to handle the “gore.” Whenever I rented it, or whatever those circumstances were, I enjoyed the living heck out of the music and the movie. That I was asked, at 28 years old to design it for a summer stock production, should have been an amazing experience.
Little Shop is a deceptive musical. Sure, it’s got a relatively small cast and one set and you know what kind of things to design (dentist’s outfit, 1950s clothes, etc.), the specificity of those clothes can make the show difficult. It also becomes a numbers game; as the trio of narrators appear in almost every song, whenever you deal with them as a group, you suddenly have to design in threes for them.
I learned all of that when I tackled the project at Pen Players. It became a big show, because it was a big show, and it IS a big show.
Anyway, Lili-Anne was another actress brought up to Pen Players for a few weeks that summer to play one of those Girl-Group-Narrators. She was really fun to have around; I enjoyed her energy, her attitude, and personality. I thought it made the experience a bit more fun.
She’s based in Chicago, still, and working frequently on a lot of different projects. I think she might be a minor Chicago-celebrity, in fact; she’s an artistic director at Bailiwick and an Artistic Associate at Timber Lake now… which I think is awesome.
Music I listened to while sewing: I’m sitting in silence today. For the first time today.
Today has been a never-ending stream of meeting people for the first time, talking through designs and costume builds, tours around a building, getting lost in a building, and so on. The ladies in the costume shop have left for the day now, and I’m enjoying the quiet.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Arkansas certainly isn’t Los Angeles!
The flight out of LA was a bit of a downer, truthfully. I’ll now admit that I LIKE LOS ANGELES, which is a surprise for me.
I’m gonna try to head back, probably sooner rather than later, and I’ll bring my dog next time. Just a heads up.
But now, I’m in Arkansas… and so far, so good. I realized this afternoon that I did bust my a$$ in the weeks leading up to my departure from NYC. All the supplies, fabric, and clothes arrived here before me, which meant I could start the shop off with notes and work today. And I looked at what I had, and realized I’m ready to start fittings in a day or two. Maybe it will be okay… It might actually be okay.
It’s reminding me yet again that I do like costume design and I do like the process and I do like working with people in shops and rehearsals. I like working in theater.
And that reminder is making it harder for me to rationalize giving up.
I want to pursue The California Project (I need a title) more, but that will mean needing an opportunity to make some money and support myself… and costume design is not really doing that for me right now.
It’s all a lot to process and figure out, and it’s a huge decision to make as I’ve been doing this for my entire adult life, but…
… well, I’m here for four more weeks. And I think I’ll have time to think about it here.
Now I just need to figure out a way to get dinner here. Arkansas doesn’t really have places you can walk to…