Saturday, September 30, 2006

Driving into Ohio

So, we spent 14 hours on the road yesterday, finally reaching Ohio at 11:15 at night. We found our rooms, crashed, and then played a few rounds of Texas Hold-Em, in which I lost almost all of my little pieces of yellow paper. We're actors, we can't play for real money. At this point, we're looking forward to loading our set into the theatre this afternoon. The task itself is a little daunting, but we have enough time to sort things through and really work on this little project of ours. So we can learn how to do it right.

But... some highlites of the trip on the road include... Those in the van watching the truck as it maneuvered through narrow gaps and around other vehicles. The much-larger trucks that dwarfed ours by comparison, the big rigs looking down on their annoying kid brother who always follows them around the neighborhood. - "Hi... I'm Enchantment! Anyone wanna see a magic trick?" We also sampled the fine dining delights of "Steak N Shake" for dinner, while we tried to ward off the effects of the Starbucks everywhere. If we want anything other than gas station coffee that was brewed sometime in the last week, Starbucks is now our only option.

But it goes well so far. Lots of driving, and today lots of work. And then tomorrow we finally get to perform, and then load out. But on the plus side, we're staying at a kick-ass beach house when we get to South Carolina.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A giant game of Tetris


Packing the truck. Let's put it this way: Our contracts say that we should be able to do it in 1.5-2 hours. If that is the case, then we will have to find a much faster way to do it. If we can shave, oh... 10 hours off the time it took last Friday, then I think we'll be in business. Yup, that's right. We were packing our truck until 1:30AM last Friday (technically Saturday.) Now, granted that much of that time was spent in actually learning what to do; on the road we'll already know it and be able to take much less time.

Which is a good thing, because there are days when we won't have that much time between performances, much less only for our load-out. I sat with Shannon from the theatre today, and we went over our touring schedule day-by-day and line-by-line. There is an amazing amount of work that we are going to have to do in a very short period of time. But now that we have everything set down on paper, it should seem to be much more managable. They even gave me a company cell phone for all of my business calling. I've talked to a few contacts at our venues, and all of them have been very friendly so far. It's going to be a very fun tour; if only for the week that we are going to spend in Peducah, KY. Yup. We will spend 4 nights there, so I hope that we can find something to do. Or I hope we bring enough board games and DVDs.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Another week down

We have arrived at the last day of rehearsal. We spent the week working on making everything clear in the process. We would go over the same sequence again and again, looking for ways in which every moment can be clear. We look at the scenes we did almost a month ago, and then we can find a better way to tell our story. Our director talks about finding the dramatic tension of every moment of the play - what are the two opposing forces at work in any given moment? With that in mind, we looked for the best way to tell the story. Would it be best for Cinderella to look at her father at this moment? Or is the story better told by having the father shift the focus toward Cinderella? Or do both of them need to shift toward the stepmother? Looking at these factors, we maneuvered our way through the play.

Tomorrow morning is our first official performance. We did a preview for friends and benefactors a few nights ago, but Friday morning we will be performing for a group of school children. Almost half of our shows on the road will be of that type, at school auditoriums or for bus tours that have taken a field trip to see us.

After our show tomorrow, we're going to learn how to take down our set and then pack it into the truck. It's an art form in and of itself, learning how all of those very large (and heavy) pieces of wood and metal can fit into our truck. It's going to be like playing with a set of very large and very heavy Legos. Or rather like one of those IQ puzzles that you can play with in stores in the mall, where you have to figure out how to get the red truck out of the city block, without removing any other pieces. Our preview performance and then load-out will end our rehearsal time. We'll have just under a week off, and then we will hit the road toward Ohio for our first touring performance.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Last and First

Yesterday was my last day in my temp summer position with Pella windows. I was responsible for scheduling the deliveries. Yes, I was the guy who called people up to say "Hi, we are going to be delivering your door tomorrow, please make sure you are home at 12:45 to receive it!" It was basically two tasks that you needed to understand, and then there were a thousand different variations on those two principle ideas. Like calculus. The office was a great place to spend the day, from Clausen the fish down to Moose the fish, and everyone else in our own little cubicled world. The boss was also considerate enough to allow me the time off for that first rehearsal week, so hopefully they can come check out any shows we have in Philly. One co-worker was more-than-appropriately delighted over the Julia Child corn maze. She must have a thing for bringing people together...

This is also the first post written in a Panera Bread from my new wireless laptop. My old computer was literally from the previous century, so I decided that an upgrade was in order before hitting the road. This way, updates to the blog and last-minute checks for directions can be done on the road as we go. As much planning ahead as I intend to do, it's going to be nice to have the flexibility once we hit the road. We can also crowd around the widescreen display to watch whatever movies we may bring, as well. The laptop will also serve me well after I return from the tour, too. My former computer was literally too old to load correctly.

Our second week begins tomorrow morning, and we'll all get together to see how much we remember about our show. After we assemble that monster of a set again.