Block 631: April 15, 2015


Tax day. It’s also my 9 month anniversary of moving to and living in Portland.

Date: April 15, 2015

Crane: 631

Days Spent on Project: 785

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: John G.

Right before I moved up to Washington Heights, from the Upper East Side, I got a random phone call from a number with a Providence area code. I answered it, unsure of who it was (Rhode Island?), and spoke to John for the first time.

John was the head of the theater department at Providence College in Rhode Island. He had seen the production of Figaro I had designed back in the winter of 2008 and was wondering if there were any chance I was available to do a production of The Illusion at the college later that year.

I was working freelance. Things had slowed down a bit. Of course, I was available. I was looking to design something of my own again, and I jumped at the chance.

And thus began my time designing with Providence College. I did two shows with them- The Illusion by Cornielle and The Good Doctor by Neil Simon the next season. Yes, it was an undergraduate production with only 6 performances each. Yes, the budgets and resources were tight. But, looking back, those limitations were extremely freeing and I actually enjoyed the work we did.

At the time, I needed someone to “throw me a bone” as it were, and ask me to design. I needed to work on my design confidence again. And John gave me the chance to do so. I’m thankful for that.

In the end, the work may have been weird (it’s a college production!) and overly ambitious (it’s me!), but I felt it was worth it on so many levels.

Music I listened to while sewing: We have Pandora playing in the shop today. It’s all vaguely 90s and emotional and rock, and I can’t identify anything specific about it.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m having one of those days, I guess, when I realize how this truly is a marathon and it’s not any kind of short distance race.

We opened a rather large period production last Friday. The build was intense. I was afraid the shop was going to go rogue and cry mutiny towards the end. I was afraid the designer wouldn’t ever stop giving notes or hunting for items. I was afraid it wouldn’t hold up or last or look good.

But it does look good. And so far it’s lasting. And the shop, after a three day weekend, is back and relaxed and gearing up for the final two shows of the season. We just met with our last designer for the season. We’ve worked with her before, so it feels slightly comfortable to start another project with her.

But, wow. Does it feel different here now.

I feel like I’ve crossed the Rubicon (is that the expression?) in regards to my attitude about working here and the work we do here and the expectations here. Is it worth going the extra nine yards? Is it worth the hard work? The worry? The stress? The product?

If a show is gonna close after three weeks of performances, and if there’s no place to store the clothes and keep them for the future, what’s the point of it all?

If there’s gonna be another show that starts breathing immediately down your neck after one mountain is climbed, what kind of investment can you truly make in/on a project?

Well, regardless, we only have five weeks left in this season before my shop goes on vacation for the summer for two months. I can’t believe we’ve opened 9 shows in less than 9 months of me being here. I can’t believe we still have two more to do. I can’t believe we have to do another 11 shows in a shorter period next season.

I think this is when you settle into the routine of work, right?

I would really like to get an opportunity again, much like the one John gave me a few years ago. I need the chance to work on something for myself again.

Okay, time to leave work.

Hope you paid your taxes…

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