Couldn’t sleep last night. Not sure why, but my mind was racing.
Date: May 23, 2014
Days Spent on Project: 460
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Person I would have sent it to: I just thanked two people that I met while guest designing a production of Life Is A Dream at Colby College in Maine. I feel like I met more people while working there, but I cannot remember any more names or stories about that experience. I just remember being incredibly tired and by the night the show opened.
So, that was my fall of 2007. I did that “small” musical for the New York Musical Theatre Festival first, while simultaneously designing a show for Colby College, on top of assisting a former classmate from the Yale School of Drama on a world premiere of an Opera called Elmer Gantry for the Nashville Opera Association. I’ve already dedicated a Crane to that designer. I can’t remember any names of the people I met in Nashville… but I was only there for four or five days.
But I will dedicate this Crane to one of the many production managers on that project. Her name was Jill D. And she worked in the Montclair State University Theatre Department. (The show had two “producers” behind it: the Nashville Opera Association and Montclair State. After a brief run in Nashville, we would transfer it to Montclair a few months later).
Again, it was a big learning experience for me, and not always the most positive. I think this is the first time where I had to hound someone to get paid. Big learning experience; freelancers can’t assume someone will pay them on time or in a “timely” manner. Most times there won’t be a contract, so you exist in a kind of limbo. Freelancers are expected to work and deliver a product on time, but the people who need the work done don’t always reciprocate; there are too many of us freelancers for the people hiring to need to play well.
Music I listened to while sewing: There’s a new album by Yann Tiersen on Spotify! If it’s anything like the work he did for Amelie, I’ll love it!
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Last night, I was able to GO OUT in Conway, Arkansas. The scenic designer and another costume designer got in a car with the expressed mission of having a drink with dinner. Conway is in a “dry” county, which seems incredibly quaint for this being 2014. But, of course, with a ridiculous law, there are loopholes all over the place. Yes, there are no liquor stores in the county and therefore you can’t buy it here, but you can drive across the county line and there’s a series of liquor stores RIGHT THERE. And, sure, there are no liquor stores in the county and therefore you can’t buy it here, but you can go to any number of restaurants or bars that have classified themselves as a ‘private club” and buy a beer or a drink.
It makes no sense at all. Why make buying alcohol illegal with this stipulations?
Anyway, the three of us jumped into a car and drove to a place where we could sit outside (which is strangely hard to find here) and have a drink. And we did; two rounds of margaritas were had while we ate at a SANDWICH SHOP. (They were technically a “private club,” though.)
The three hours of conversation were much needed. I learned I’m not alone in my thoughts and experiences.
It’s a reminder that we do this job NOT for the paycheck or the glory, but because there are really interesting and passionate and creative and fun people around you (at times). And, in the absence of a steady check or a fair wage, you really have to grasp onto the human element as much as you can. Theater People can be cool.
And Theater People are everywhere. Some are awesome. Some are brilliant. Some are skilled. Some are funny. Some are demanding. Some are inspiring.
Some are frustrating. Some are a bit slow. Some are a little green. Some are boring. Some are relaxed. Some are mundane.
They’re like all people, sure.
But everywhere, there are Theater People. It’s not just a New York phenomenon. The trick, for me especially, is to find a group of them that I want to be around and that want me around. I think that’s part of my frustration with New York City currently: I feel like I’m in a co-dependent relationship with this city. I’ve become attached the belief that this city is better than me and I’m lucky to be there and that I’ve had amazing experiences because it’s decided to let me in. But I also feel like New York City is cheating on me with every aspiring, driven, star-eyed 22 year old who’s just slightly more desperate than I to “make it there.”
“It’s up to you… New York…. New York…”
Why is it up to you exactly?