Block 722: July 16, 2015


Well, finally getting around to this after 7pm.

And the season feels like it has started in earnest…

Date: July 16, 2015

Crane: 722

Days Spent on Project: 877

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Madison.

Again, I don’t know her last name.

Yesterday’s Crane- for Jordan- ties into today’s. “Madison” and “Jordan” were two interns who came to that Summer Theater Festival in Arkansas to help in the costume shop. Their duties included assisting one of the costume designers working that season (Four designers, four interns), then wardrobing one or two of the shows as assigned, and then to work on the notes that came through the costume shop.

What Madison and Jordan taught me was invaluable, and a little upsetting.

Yes, interns do grunt work. They do a lot of work. Theaters all over the country- and sometimes in other countries- do a lot of menial work for little or no pay. It’s not fair. It’s not just. It’s the just the system that’s in place, despite many people growing rightly opposed to that practice.

But, when you’re an intern, you learn stuff. You work hard. You make connections. You earn your stripes. It sucks, yes, but we’ve all (for the most part) been there.

Madison and Jordan reminded me that some people in the world do theater only for fun, only for the opportunity to hang out with their best friend and socialized with other people. For some people, theater means “camp.” For some people, theater isn’t a career or a path or a set of skills or a community. I have been insulated from people like that for most of my career; I don’t have any patience for them. When theater professionals or theater students want work and want experience, I do not tolerate those who are just doing it “for fun,” If you don’t want the experience or the connections or recommendations, take yourself out of the equation.

The two of them were more or less inseparable that summer. They did almost everything together, even if the work requirements meant being separate. Need to go pull clothes? Let’s do it together, and take a break outside before we get started. Need to deliver notes? Do it as quickly as possible, then take a break. Need to clean clothes? Go hang out with actors instead.

I’m being harsh, I know I am. But last summer, the two other designers and I couldn’t understand why you’d take the work if you didn’t want to do the work. (I was incredibly lucky; my assistant was a rockstar and went above and beyond what I asked her to do. She was a blessing to have in my corner… and, strangely, I don’t think she really wanted to pursue theater professionally. But she understood it was her job for a summer.)

Anyway, it was a good lesson that some people’s priorities aren’t about overworking yourself or dedicating yourself completely to a project.

I guess that’s not a bad lesson to be reminded of… but, for a summer stock situation, well… no.

Music I listened to while sewing: Today’s playlist was “Soft House” and it’s been playing for over 12 hours now. Good choice for the day.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: You know something?

I don’t really have anything to say today. It’s good to be getting busy again at work. It’s good to have something to work on in my office. It’s good to be back for a second season and not be “the rookie” manager. It’s good to feel like I have a handle on what I should be doing, when I should be doing it, why I should be doing it. It’s good to understand how to prepare more effectively. It’s good to know I’ve learned a few things (about management and regional theater) in the past year. It’s good to feel like I’m a part of the theater that I work at now.

One of my goals for the season is to embrace the work fully, to understand that it will be a lot of work that will grow tedious and tiring, and to also value my time more. Yes, I need to be present and prepared to get things done, but I’d like to find a way to embrace the time off I get and find some balance.

I’d like to figure out a way to get to the gym more regularly.

I’d like to make more friends and connections here.

I’d like to carve out time for all my side projects in life.

I’d like to take better care of myself.

I’d like to save more money… so I can reward myself and enjoy myself sometimes.

I guess I did have some things to say. Not too deep, actually, but that’s what I’ve been thinking today.

(Oh, and thank goodness for Excel.)

Okay, enough for today. Tomorrow’s Friday and I cannot wait; I got to enjoy the summer while I still can!

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