Sunday, January 27, 2008

Will Wonders Ever Start?

One of my major themes during the entirety of this blog has concerned the constant and Rebellion-V-Empire-scale struggle of getting my theatre company to listen to us little people and convincing them that improvements are not always easy but necessary. To try and work into their minds that you may not like some of the ideas we have, but sometimes (especially when we all can agree on them) they are ABSOLUTELY essential.

I bring this up because last Wednesday there occurred an event that which few have witnessed here at BRT before. Are you ready? Drums, please.

A Pre-Production Meeting.

Oh yeah, I’m not making that up to make myself feel better. This really happened. The director, the choreographer, the scenic, lighting and costume designers all met in a room and started talking about Dear World, the final show of the season. Then, approximately an hour later, my production manager, myself, my master carp, my scenic painter and BOTH stage managers joined them and we all talked about the VERY SAME PRODUCTION. Where Nels (yes, of I Do, I Do fame) wants to go with the set, what problems may arise from it, where I might have some input, how building a two-story circular staircase might fuck the Scott’s ability to light anything, etc. What colors are we thinking of so that Lisa can incorporate them into what people are wearing and vice versa. Do the columns living here give Greg (not TW, the good one) enough room to stage the Dungeon Tap Dance (no, not making that one up, either) in this musical . . . You know, the little things.

Nothing concrete was really decided during this meeting; that, of course, wasn’t the point. But some elements were decided, if not in final form then at the very least in their ethereal one. Everyone, and I don’t exaggerate here, felt something in the air during those two hours. There was an air of professionalism about all of us that no one, I think, was truly prepared to feel amoung the same design team from which the nightmare that ended up being I Do, I Do; the first of two shows that almost killed us. To be frankly honest, everything at this meeting could change tomorrow but the idea that we all talked about a show that doesn’t open until May 1st (for those of you keeping track, that’s over four months away) is astounding. Simply astounding.

I know this is what I’ve been asking for since I got here. This is one of the benchmarks of improvement we all, not just myself, have been aching for since long before I brought my kitten to this lil town and started clamoring for change. Still, when the miracles do occur, I think you’re allowed a little “wow” time to bask in the light of them. You can spend half your life training a bear to ride a unicycle but when you actually GET that bear to ride a fucking unicycle, I think you’re allowed a moment of, “There’s a fucking bear riding a unicycle in front of me!” . . . Unintentionally, that analogy is more apt than you can possibly imagine.

I can only pray this practice of PREPARING for upcoming productions (how’s THAT for alliteration?) continues. I know that everyone made such a point of stating how good they felt afterwards that I’m just so damned surprised no one thought to have these things years ago (I couldn’t actually say that with my tongue inserted ANY FIRMER into my cheek …). I also can’t, in good conscious, take any real credit for making this happen. Sure, I added my voice to its demand, but no one really asks, “How high?” when I shout, “Jump!” around here. Usually the response is, “Why the hell are you shouting at me, Jake?!” Still, through the voices of the many (and the threats of the many, now that I think about it) there arose a precedent. From this precedent there had BETTER arise a tradition, that’s all I’m saying for now.

Also in the news, at my behest we’re building a tool cabinet for the shop. For any of you who’re keeping track, that’s the third I’ve built in my career. Eventually I hope it will look something like this but for the time-being it looks something like this. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps. It’s times like these that I wish I had had the forethought to take a bunch of pictures of places like the shop and backstage BEFORE we started going through them with vacuums and the organizing stick. Without comparison when I sit with the Powers at my contract renewal meeting, asking for the raise I plan on asking for, I’d love to be able to say, “Here’s how I found it. And here’s how I’ve left it. Which do YOU prefer?” Ah well, such is life and my lack of forethought. That is all for now. More actual photos and news as events warrant.

That’s word. Good night. And good luck.

PS – Oh, and “TW” stands for “Twat Waffle”. That’s Greg Mitchell’s (you fuck) new nickname. I know it’s a little crude but it just seems to fit him. You can’t argue providence when it happens so cleanly. I don’t really like the word “twat” very much at all because of its crudeness and because it sounds like its true calling is to be an onomatopoeia (which is NOT spelled phonetically, by the way) of ten pounds of raw cookie-dough hitting a linoleum kitchen floor (I’ll give you a second to work that out in your head and then say it out loud – go ahead, no one’s listening). But when you add the word “waffle” to the end of it, it seems to lighten the repulsiveness somehow. Together, they role off the tongue (like jell-o after novocain).

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