Block 632: April 16, 2015


I just got off the phone with an old “work friend” in New York. I called her company, wanting to buy some of her clothes.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m no longer a part of the New York scene.


Date: April 16, 2015

Crane: 632

Days Spent on Project: 786

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Maxine W.

When I accepted the chance to design The Illusion at Providence College, back in late 2012/early 2013, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. In the past, whenever I’ve worked with a small undergraduate theater department, you’re never really guaranteed a shop to support you, much resources, or labor. So, when I was introduced to Maxine in the Fall of 2012, I was incredibly relieved to have someone to help!

The design process for that show was interesting; being a Corneille play, I assumed it would be set somewhere along the 16th or 17th Century. I met with John and the student director to look at what the period was, what the clothes were, and we all quickly realized that it would be too much for a group of student actors to handle.

John, to his credit, was upfront about the clothes wearing the actor, and not the other way around.

So, John and I went to town, and discussed setting the show in a kind of fantasy, contemporary world… It would be mostly modern clothes, with some flights of fancy for the “illusion scenes.”

Maxine, when she saw the sketches, saw the work (and there was a lot), but she also saw the fun in it.

We had a lot of fun on the show. (Well, I did and she certainly tells me she did.) We worked so hard! And she was right there, every step of the way with me. We worked nights. When I was in town, we both came in on the weekends. She was a powerhouse and really dove into the work. She had a small crew of students that she asked to help out, and they did. She made the work fun.

When I went back to Providence College the following school year to do The Good Doctor, the workload was much more manageable. I rented most of it from a few places, bought a some items, and we only built one or two pieces for a specific actress. Again, Maxine tackled the work with gusto.

When I was offered this job in Portland, I had already signed on to design a production with Providence College. It would have been a small show (3 actors) set in the 17th Century. It would have been so fun, and I know Maxine would have wanted to dive in with me… even though I would have asked for the moon. When I had to decline the design job for this Portland opportunity, I was really upset to send the email and make the phone call.

She and I have been in touch once or twice since my move out here. I miss her energy. I’m not sure she would gel with the environment in this costume shop, but I’d love to have someone like here out here.

Anyway. Shop Managers in small liberal arts college theater departments really are unsung heroes. Period.

Music I listened to while sewing: I was on another Madonna kick when I was sewing.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I don’t know what it was about last night, but I woke up this morning with tons of energy and a determination to do ALL THE THINGS. Maybe I’m a little over-caffeinated?

I just wish there were one more hour in the day. I think I could fit in the gym, my sewing, my work, the dog walks, and even some downtime with just one more hour a day.

On second thought, maybe 2 more hours in the day would be helpful.

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