Block 693: June 17, 2015

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I made the trek into work today. I put up shelves!

I am so gonna organize/feng shui/streamline this costume shop this summer.

Date: June 17, 2015

Crane: 693

Days Spent on Project: 848

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Martha C.

When we were working on The California Project, in Irvine, CA, we managed to do so on the UCI campus only because we agreed to only use outdoor spaces.

I’m not too sure how ideal that was for the Project. In an ideal world, the space would fit the scope of the story, or you would create the story based on the space. Our backstory, with its many indoor locations, really could have used the feeling of being inside. True, we could have jettisoned the story we’d been collaborating on, and devised a story based on the outdoor spaces we had at our disposal… but I didn’t feel we had time for that with only 10 days (30 hours) to rehearse.

So, we made use of those areas outside campus buildings to the best of our abilities.

One of the great advantages we had, by being outdoors, was the natural lighting. Our workshop/performance would begin by 7:30, in daylight, and an hour later the show would conclude in darkness. As the show moved forward, and the story got heavier and more twisted, it was exciting to feel the light fade. It was almost perfectly dramaturgical.

Besides the light provided by nature, we had a student designer named Martha helping us to color and focus the world we had to play with. She used the lights built into the outdoor areas- covering them with gels to shade worlds into saturated colors, blocking some of the light to focus the audience’s attention.

Again, lighting takes on a big role in immersive work. Yes, you not only have to sculpt the objects in the space with front, side, and back lighting for the audience to see, choose colors that create the appropriate feel to the world, but you have to direct the audience’s focus and movement.

You can tell someone “go there” by having a small, focused light in the middle of a dark room or down a very long hall. You can say “this scene is done” by shifting the light level down as the action winds down and moves elsewhere.

As rudimentary as our budget and our resources were, it became very apparent how important fully realized design choices were to the experience.

Music I listened to while sewing: “Indie Chill,” courtesy of Spotify.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: A good friend of mine in New York has applied for a job at the theater where I work. I knew he was going to do it; he sent me his resume, called me to chat about what the work was like, and then Bcc’ed me on his correspondence with HR.

I learned this week that my theater had passed on him. I didn’t learn why.

Yesterday, my friend called, wanting to know if I had heard anything about the job hunt. I told him.

He was audibly upset by it, which made me upset for him. I’d love it if he and his boyfriend left New York and moved to Portland. It would be awesome to have friends here, friends with history. I spent some of the afternoon forwarding him job searches for arts related careers here, not that there were many.

It really reminded me how much my life has changed in the past year. I was offered this job almost 12 months ago (it was the end of June). I moved here on July 15th.

To be truthful, I *like* Portland. It’s an okay city. It’s neither good nor bad, neither great or awful. Things here are just what they are. After living and working as a freelance designer and assistant in New York, this life is so easy. I get paid every two weeks (tomorrow is payday!). I never have to look for work. I have things to do. I pay my bills when I want to. I go to the grocery story when I want food. I buy myself books when I want. I have gone to a doctor. I went to an eye doctor for more disposable contacts. I went to a dentist and got two fillings. I’m not rich, but I’m not constantly paranoid about money and where I’ll find it.

Jeez, a year ago, I had just finished that production of Pippin in Arkansas. I was visiting my parents in Richmond, VA with my dog. I had a few shows lined up for the fall, but I did not have much (any) money to spare. I was passively looking for a way out of New York. I wasn’t necessarily tired of it, but I was. If a job came around that took me elsewhere, I would have jumped at the chance.

And this one did.

And, yes, it isn’t perfect. I am navigating what it means to be in a managerial position now instead of a creative one. It’s work I can do, and do well. I’m still learning how to balance a “regular” job with all the things I want to do (this project, getting to the gym, my dog, The California Project). I’m still hunting for friends and a community here that I like and want to belong to.

But my life is so much better than it was. I cannot deny that. I cannot ignore that.

And, listening to my friend yesterday, I was reminded how I so desperately needed to get out. I didn’t know it, but I needed it.

My friend will have a big decision to make. He and his boyfriend both want to leave, and I wish them good luck in figuring out what they need to do.

But it would be great to have them here…

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