Block 589: January 29, 2015


It’s been a day. And I don’t even know why.

Date: January 29, 2015

Crane: 589

Days Spent on Project: 709

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Guess who’s having a hard time thinking of someone to thank today!?!?!

Do I want to move on from Newsies? What did I do after Newsies? I opened that in March of 2012, and then I think I had some downtime to enjoy life in New York before things started to heat up again. (When I say “had time to enjoy,” I think it’s better to say that I was frantically looking around for work.) I know I spent a lot of time hanging out with my friends, Caitlin and Angela, whom I believe I already thanked here. (I’ll have to check though.)

So, let me go back a few months… to December of 2011.

My friend Elizabeth Bolster texted out of the blue, saying that she had an extra ticket to see a “new” show in New York that was just started to be talked about. It was just becoming A THING THAT NEEDED TO BE SEEN IN NEW YORK.

And, so I chose to walk over to West 27th Street instead of going to the Yale Holiday Party that Monday evening in December 2011 to stand in line outside of an old loft/warehouse/club that had been converted into a “hotel.” I didn’t know what to expect, other than a vague, weird re-telling of the MacBeth story.

I was about to see Sleep No More for the first time.

Afterwards, my friend Elizabeth and I reconnected outside and walked to the subway stop and talked talked talked about what we saw. She, having been recently hired to design a production of MacBeth that summer, wanted to follow those characters and she saw the play play out in front of her. I, on the other hand, got swept up in wandering around spaces that now seem familiar, unaware of what I was supposed to do or if there were people to see.

The first person that I saw was on the third floor. A woman– I know now that she was Danvers– ran past me and I was scared and hooked and excited and kind of changed for life.

I’ve now seen SNM 10 times. My last evening in New York before moving to Portland was spent on the McKittrick, and it was probably the best way I could send off my time in that city.

SNM. Jeez. I can’t say how much that show has changed my opinion of theater. I can’t say how much that show has awakened me to what theater could be. I can’t tell you how much that show has made me want to work on different kinds of theater.

I want that. I want to work on that. If I could work with Punchdrunk on theater, I think I’d be over the moon.

In 2013, I did get the random opportunity to work with Punchdrunk of two Holiday Parties, and the experience… THE EXPERIENCE… I can’t describe what it was like backstage and how things happened. As someone who was working uptown on shows “with money” and “with union labor” to see the process and the dedication and work happen like it did and how it did… it blew my mind.

Someday. I want to work with them. Someday. I almost flew to London twice last year to take classes with them. I wish I had been able to afford that.

I want that opportunity.

Or maybe I just need to make that opportunity happen here. Myself. Somehow.

I want that opportunity; so, I’ll put it out there and also thank Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More today.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’m sitting in my office at work, so I don’t have anything playing right now. Let’s fix that. I’m putting on the Sleep No More playlist.

Okay, Peggy Lee. Take me away…

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: My father told me that people choose to be upset and angry. I can infer that he’s telling me I’m making myself upset and miserable out here in Portland.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve had a person I’ve worked successfully with before call to ask to be paid more (a lot more!) and I have to think of a way to tell her I actually can’t afford her request… nor can I afford to hire her, period. Like I promised I would for this production that’s starting in two weeks.

I’ve had one over hire person also request a raise that would make her hourly rate more than my employees and myself. And then she had the nerve to say she’d need to ask for time off during the four weeks I’d need her to work.

Then I had an actress circumvent all channels of communication and demand that she get a stylist to come in and take care of her beauty regimen for a 7 week long production that wasn’t even budgeted to have a wardrobe person maintain the show. Instead of being politely told that the theater can’t afford that, I’m now being made to investigate that so the actress can feel taken care of.

Meanwhile, the designer’s rolling her eyes.

Meanwhile, I have to tell a good costumer that I can’t hire her, like I promised, because I can’t afford her work anymore.

Meanwhile, I have to tell the one other over hire person I have on hand that she’ll have to take a 33% pay cut.

Meanwhile, I was also told that there’s the potential that my shop might be laid off next season to save money.

It floors me, just last May, I was in Arkansas designing a production of Pippin that was cut down to 15 roles and I had a budget of $2,500 to do everything. How did I get from there, and barely managing to squeak a production out, to not being able to make shows happen for less than $15,000? I just presented, reasonably, an estimated materials budget of $30,000 for the show we’re starting in February. It was promptly rejected outright. I should have three times that! I should have more! I went back to the drawing board, and slashed 90% of the builds and labor… and still have $3,000 more dollars to cut…

How was I able to do things for $2,000 before?

Anyway, it all goes back to money, doesn’t it!?

Being a manager is hard.

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of the world’s tiniest violin… playing for me… in the distance…

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