I think the Universe is making my decision for me.
Date: May 21, 2014
Days Spent on Project: 458
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Person I would have sent it to: While I was designing costumes for that “small” production at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, I was also offered a job designing costumes for a production of Life is a Dream at Colby College. That was my first opportunity designing costumes for a college or a university as a guest artist. In the seven years since then, I’ve visited many colleges and acted as a guest designer. I find it weird, honestly, that a lot of colleges have theater departments, but then don’t have designers on faculty (what are the kids learning?) or don’t ask the designers on faculty to design for those productions (what are the kids learning?).
Anyway, when I was finished up my time in Wisconsin (actually I was seated in the laundromat closest to that summer stock), I got a phone call from Wendy W. She had graduated from the Yale School of Drama, focusing in Dramaturgy. She was looking to bring someone in from the YSD to work on the fall production she was set to direct.
I was hired over the phone.
The job was fun. Instead of setting the show in a more traditional Shakespearean world, I pushed it more period “Russian.” I did so because Wendy mentioned she was interested in different silhouettes. Yes, the play was written in the early 17th Century, so the clothes could have been a certain thing, but I chose to embrace that it took place in Poland. I made the choice to push the clothes in a different direction.
In the end, the clothes looked good. We worked really hard in the costume shop, and I think we delivered a good product. Wendy was impressed that I actually got the clothes to look like my sketches.
She also admitted she wasn’t sure she liked my sketches.
Music I listened to while sewing: Today I’ve got the new Robyn and Royksopp song playing. It’s on repeat. It’s been stuck in my head for almost two days now.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: It’s very possible that the answer I’ve been looking for was delivered to me by email yesterday afternoon.
The one job that I was looking forward to… a teaching job at a college… was NOT offered to me.
Before I left New York, almost a month ago, I told myself that if that job didn’t come through, I’d not come back to New York.
And here I am, in rural Arkansas, already wondering what I’m doing here and know I’m wondering where I’m going next.
I’ll add this: so far, with this production of Pippin, I’ve gladly remembered that I do like designing costumes and working with people in a shop and talking with actors and choosing fabrics and fitting clothes and sitting in rehearsals. I like the process of design; I do. I’ll also add this: I would be sad for this production of Pippin to be my last show before I disappeared. It’ll be interesting, sure, when the show is done and running, but it won’t be everything I set out to accomplish due to the resources at hand. If this is the last hurrah, it would be kind of anticlimactic.
So, what I know is that I have a flight out of Little Rock to Virginia where I’ll meet my parents who have been baby-sitting my dog this entire time. The original plan was to drive back to New York with The Dog and just keep trying to make magic happen. Now I’m not so sure I really want to.
For some reason, that email was an answer to a lot of things. It’s unfair to give that college so much power in the course of my life (the more I think about it, it was a TON of work to do as a “part time” faculty member and it wouldn’t even pay me much more than my freelance career was already making), I’m aware.
But sometimes you just need clear situations to make a decision. I guess. I think.
Who wants me to visit?