Block 637: April 21, 2015


Bad dreams last night, none of which I can remember.

Date: April 21, 2015

Crane: 637

Days Spent on Project: 791

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Kate Kohler A.

My friend Jeremy asked me to work with his theater company- the Convergences Theatre Collective- back in April and May of 2013, and he would later ask me to help design a “hypothetical” production that he and a friend were developing.

He pitched the idea to me over email, dropping the “magic word” that always lifts my spirits: an “immersive” experience.

(Now, two years later and a self-taught, immersive workshop and several books and discussions and research projects later, I’ve come to believe that “immersive” has become a dirty word… too many people use it as an umbrella that covers site-specific, in-the-round, devised, participatory, non-linear narrative storytelling, and non-proscenium based staging. Immersive, I defend, is something entirely different and unique: the central character is the “audience.” The experience has to be crafted around the idea that subliminally the audience becomes a part of the show, the experience, their own character that exists in that world. This is really a discussion for later…)

Jeremy pitched a production of Miss Julie called Shameless, that his friend Kate was crafting. Kate would be playing Julie.

It would be staged non-traditionally, not necessarily in period, be told through movement, the spoken text would be collaged and deconstructed… Kate and Jeremy and I met at Grey Dog in Chelsea one winter Saturday morning to discuss what they were looking for:

They needed backers. They needed visuals. They needed a costume designer if this show was going to have that next production (they had workshopped it previously in Brooklyn). Would I want, for a small fee, to do the research and draw out the costumes?

Of course I would.

We actually went through several rounds of research- learning what the period was and what we liked/didn’t like about that. We tried to do the show “traditionally,” in period clothes. From then, we extrapolated further what we liked about the silhouette and the clothes. Kate and Jeremy asked: What if it wasn’t period? What if it wasn’t necessarily modern?

The clothes we finally ended on were pretty good, I thought. If they were going to have everything custom made, and all the details worked on, I thought it could be a fun project.

I had the show bid on by a few shops in the Garment District. It was going to be expensive!

Right before I moved to Portland, in the beginning of July of 2014, Jeremy and I met in one last coffee shop on the Upper West Side. It was cold and rainy. I had the sketches with me… He wanted to keep them to pitch the ideas to producers. In the whirlwind of my life at that time, I gave them to him. I only remembered recently that I never got them back.

I should email him.

Music I listened to while sewing: I spent my sewing time listening to Death Cab For Cutie. Their new album… pretty good!

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I feel like this is the end of the school year, when everyone can sense that classes will be winding down and finishing up in a few weeks, and all our attention is focused on SUMMER.

Not that I get a summer vacation, necessarily, but I am so looking forward to some slower times and the chance to look ahead.

I need to make some opportunities happen…

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