sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
I saw Black Watch for the second time tonight (saw it Sunday, and then again today. Will likely see it at least once more while it's here. Yes, it's that good). Tonight's show was much stronger than Sunday's; it seems the cast settled into their physicality more tonight, and were far more comfortable in their space. We're the production stop for the tour, so this is the first time they've performed in an unfamiliar space, and they're working out the kinks still (that's what a production stop is for!). Sunday was the end of their first week of performances, but here at the start of week two, everything is MUCH smoother.

When I saw the show on Sunday, I was so absorbed in the technical elements that I didn't engage particularly well with the people on stage. Don't get me wrong; I saw the show again tonight specifically because I loved it so much the first go 'round. I knew about "Fashion" before I saw the show, but was still astonished by what amounts to a 2 minute quick change sequence--performed entirely by actors, with continuous monologue by the actor being changed--that tells the history of the Scottish military, and it was just as spectacular as I could have hoped. On Sunday, I noticed the smoothness of quick changes (both on and off stage) and the variety of sound sources. Tonight, I noticed one man's hand shake during the Letter's Home section and another man press his fingertips to his dead comrade's head before lifting his body.

My very favorite thing to see on a stage is people physically interacting, and Black Watch gives me everything I could possibly want and more. "Ten Second Fights" and "Parade" both left me with fingernail-shaped indents in my arms. They're both such intense and overwhelming sequences that I had to hold on to something. That intensity is something I've only every experienced in live theatre. I'm overwhelmed with Feelings, but it's so much more than getting flaily over, well, any other media. I can feel my heart rate kick up and my breathing get shallow. I can feel the adrenalin and endorphins in the way my hands shake even as I clutch my chair, or arms, or neighbor. I leave the theatre with knuckles bruised from where I've bitten them, unaware of what I'm doing but desperate for some sort of outlet. Even writing this has made my heart beat faster.

Blaaaarg. As is so often the case with trying to put theatre-based emotions into words, I suspect I'm just talking in circles here. And so, to bed.
sesquipedaliatic: Grouchy Daniel finds sand in his toothbrush (Sand and toothbrushes do not mix)
The show has more or less settled into a routine, though act II still feels a bit like running slightly too fast down a hill; I think I'm in control, but momentum and gravity might get the better of me. I'm doing more wig work on this show, which is both fun and a little scary. Hooray for learning new things but ohgod responsibility! Alas, wig setting (and hauling wool military greatcoats around over my head) is not so great for my already poor posture and put upon back, so I've been cuddling up to a hot pad every night. There's one little spot between my shoulder blade and spine that occasionally acts up but has been burning like crazy lately. It's edging towards bad-enough-to-see-a-doc pain, though a) it's not there yet and b) I'm afraid I'll get a "stop doing whatever makes it hurt" diagnosis, which: no.

My actor and I positively ROCKED the fastest quick change in the show today, a change which involves a 10 year old boy going into a dress, heels, and wig/veil. We shaved nearly 15 seconds off a change which clocks in at just over 45 seconds total. Don't know what we did differently, but something was MAGIC! I actually looked to see if he'd gotten shoes on, as I couldn't see how we'd finished so fast. Awesomeness!

Unfortunately, I caught a knee to the face while peeling off the kiddo's socks (though no fault of his; he went to kick out of a shoe and I moved at just the wrong moment) and am now nursing a low level headache and some very faint bruising around my eye and across my nose. Nothing particularly visible unless I take my glasses off, but just tender enough to keep me aware of it.

So now, with an ice pack on my face and a hot bag o' rice and lentils on my back, I'm off to bed (and/or fic). Here's hoping I'm slightly less broken in the morning.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
I've gone without posting for so long that I barely know what to say. And so, a list!

5 Things That Make Me Smile

1. DC! I love every part of this city, from its perpetually delayed red line to its time vortex of museums to the fact that it keeps offering me work.

2. The Avengers, which I HAVE NOT seen yet (but will hopefully manage on Friday). The buzz and the flailing on LJ/Twitter/Tumblr have made me oh so happy, even as I remain unspoiled for the actual movie. Pretty people. Pretty people being happy at each other!

3. The Unusuals; I inhaled all 10 eps of in a mere 2 days. It's not a perfect show by any means, but the chemistry between cast members is FANTASTIC. Jeremy Renner and Amber Tamblyn are awesome together, and it's always a pleasure to watch an actualfax platonic relationship develop. Both characters are imperfect but relentlessly good people, and I want to give them hugs and make them happy forever.

4. Closing a show last weekend, teching a show next weekend, and seeing as much theatre as I can manage in the intervening days. So far: 39 Steps. Plans to see Taming of the Shrew and maybe 1776 if I can manage it.

5. This song from The Guild, which I've been headbanging around my room to for the last 48 hours:
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
I've said many times that the world of theatre (really, entertainment in general) is very strange. Our "normal" isn't.

For City of Angels, one of my responsibilities is the blood rig. A gun goes off, and there's a beautiful moment where one character stumbles backward and clutches her chest as a blood stain slowly appears then grows on her white dress. In order to make that awesome effect, we use a mechanical rig. In addition to getting the actress into the rig, I make the blood and clean the whole affair every show. (It's great fun; I love gore effects and volunteered be keeper as soon as I heard mention of the rig!) To fill the blood pack, I use a solution of Aged Reel Blood, water, dish soap (because we have to wash it out of clothes 8 times a week; liquid soap makes it washable AND thickens it), and a dash of green food coloring (for color, so the blood pops against her white dress even more). I mix up a few bottles of the stuff ever other week and fill the blood pack for every show. Neither process is particularly neat. In fact, I end up with blood all over my hands and arms if I'm not careful. Though it's washable, my skin absorbs die easily, so my fingers will remain stained pink until well after the show closes. The first time I made new blood, I sprayed too much water as I was cleaning, and ended up with what appeared to be arterial blood spatter across my face. Yaaaay gore!

A few days ago, I got out of the shower after using a new shampoo for the first time. Imagine my horror when I glanced down to see red blotches all the way up my arms. I had a moment of "OH NO HIVES!" followed by "Quick, rinse to get off whatever little bit of irritant is left!" in turn followed by "... oh. Blood stains. No need to panic." That definitely belongs on the list of Things Not Hear Outside the Entertainment Industry.

The baggies that hold the blood are actually shortened IV packs, since IV bags have this awesome self-healing gel that can be repeatedly pierced with a needle but won't leak. I also have a full-sized IV bag that I fill with warm water to clean the rig. The rig is electric, and the motor's got a good little buzz. So there's me at the sink with an IV bag full of warm water, a coil of medical tubing in my lap (warm with the water running through it), and a little motor buzzing happily.

Chances that a random bystander would see me and think I'm doing theatre things: slim.
Chances that same bystander would thing I'm doing porny, medical kinky things: VERY HIGH.
sesquipedaliatic: Neail Gaiman requests tea (Tea please!)
1. I spent the theatre weekend--Monday and Tuesday--in NYC visiting friends, people watching in Central Park, galavanting around Times Square (OH GOD OVERSTIMULATION), visiting the Harry Potter exhibit at Discovery, and remembering that I don't like NYC. I've only visited the city twice before, and as much as I love the things it contains, I've left with a general feeling of ickyness. Maybe it's the lack of sky. Maybe it's the constant crush of crabby people. Maybe it's something else. I find DC, Toronto, and Chicago all delightful. Why does NYC make my skin crawl after a mere 24 hours?

2. The Harry Potter exhibit at Discovery (mostly props and costumes complimented by an audio tour with designer interviews) was a blast. I think I have Things To Say about Harry Potter and the final movie and the impact it's had on my life, but not now. The Discovery exhibit was particularly enjoyable because I got to hear lots of designers in my industry talk about their passion for the work.

There was one robe, though I can't remember which, held together with size 4 black snaps. They're the same snaps we use for most of our quick rigging, and I've EASILY sewn a hundred of them the last three+ months. I recognized them instantly (a feat I'm alternately proud of and embarrassed by) and physically recoiled (definitely not proud, as I elbowed a nice woman behind me) and made the gals I was with laugh.

Aside from the PTSD (Post-Tech Snap Disorder), I loved seeing the same work I've been doing on display as artistry. I mean, mostly I think of my job as a craft. To me, the stitching and painting and distressing I do is less Art and more craft that assists in the making of Art. But this, from the bleach-stained Invisibility Cloak (INFINITELY more impressive post-CGI) to Lupin's scuffed shoes to the distressing on the trio's Prisoner of Azkaban Shrieking Shack costumes, this was definitely Art. If you'll forgive a touch of melodrama, the exhibit was Work!life and fan!life combined in an unexpected and magnificent and inspiring way.

3. I've been playing around with Google+ the last week or so. It's definitely shiny! I haven't futzed or read enough to get a feel for the bad things, yet. I love the integration with other Google products. Not only will Plus notify me via the nav bar (or whatever that top menu for bouncing between Gmail and Docs and Calendar and such is actually called), it'll let me interact and post to Plus WITHOUT LEAVING GMAIL. Haven't used it yet, but the hangout via webcam feature seems particularly fun as well.

Anybody need or want an invite?

Bonus: Yup, VERY GLAD to be in not-NYC now. Sad to leave peeps and be away from theatre, but GAAA THAT CITY.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
I've talked a bit to folks in real life about how frustrating and polarizing the queer-and-in-theatre community is (and part of me feels guilty for complaining because a) employed and b) no one's actively trying to harm me because of my sexuality but c) how do I live in a developed, mature country in which a) and b) are still serious problems?).

None of that mattered tonight, as we (collectively: cast and crew) watched the NY State Senate debate. Most (possibly all?) of this cast are New Yorkers, either by birth or by transplant. All had a vested interest in the outcome of the vote. For a little while, a show that's been dragging me down was both totally unimportant and the most vital thing I could be doing. That show meant I was connected to people, people who went onstage and tapped their hearts out then came offstage to crowd around those of us clutching phones and Twitter connections. Despite a clunky internet connection, we watched the live feed in the dressing room when cues allowed and cheered when the final amendment passed. Teary eyes and shaky hands were prevalent, myself thoroughly (and somewhat unexpectedly) included. Our show came down not long after the final vote was announced, and instead of "see you tomorrow" or "good night," everyone left to calls of "33-29!"

It's 3am, I'm sleepy, I've my last 2 shows and strike tomorrow. I suspect none of this makes sense, but my brain's too busy for sleep and writing is as good a method as any to quiet the buzzing.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
My life can currently be summed up by three points:

1. There's a signed headshot of Marlene Dietrich over the toilet in the shop.

2. SNL called yesterday to rent costumes.

3. My bedroom floor is so slanted that I can't set an open glass in some stops for fear of tippage.
sesquipedaliatic: Super smexy Ianto (Yes... yes)
Drove an hour an a half to see two hours of theatre today. There's a quirky, utterly adorable little theatre that's on the NTLive roster not horribly far away, so today I got to see Danny Boyle's Frankenstein.

SO MANY FEELINGS, NOT ENOUGH WORDS.

I made a list of things to think about when I was capable of doing more than flailing my hands around, but after an hour and a half car ride home and a leisurely family dinner, I STILL haven't managed to come down yet. You can't see me as I type, but I keep stopping to flail.

I don't have much attachment to the Frankenstein myth and even less to Shelly's book, so narrative changes didn't faze me at all. Though I do want to reread the book now.

All star cast, all star production team. The set/lights/costumes/makeup/FX/sound designs were all fantastic. Clear, purposeful, non-distracting, and lovely. Not a show about design, but a show VERY well supported by its design. Also, I would like to wear Frankenstein's first coat. THOSE SLEEVES WERE BEAUTIFUL.

HOLY CRAP PHYSICALITY! I swear, Benedict Cumberbatch controls every single tendon in his body. The first twenty minutes of the show, especially, awed me. The show's definitely at risk of alienating the audience (and theatre gods help you if you don't know the Frankenstein story!) for that first chunk, but it worked SO WELL.

Aaaand there was definitely a point towards the end of the show that the Monster (Cumberbatch) was in breeches and an open jacket. My fangirl brain hijacked the rest of me and I COULDN'T STOP STARING AT THE ABS. WTF, self? I'm not a abs gal, AND the scene was engaging. Attack of shallow me!

Seeing live theatre that wasn't live! Was totally fine and unbothered by the "this is recorded" fact until curtain call, when my need to show my appreciation to cast and crew was at war with the "across the pond and only seeing this via some very lovely cameras" thing. Academic brain noted that there were a few beats that got considerably larger laughs from the UK audience; likewise, others clicked with the US audience. Lost a couple lines because we laughed when the UK audience didn't (so there was no laughter pause from the actors).

Other thinky things about US vs UK theatre, with regards to little fixes. Noticed a few small things (namely, a bald cap that just wanted to be freeeeeeeeee!) that, in the US, would have had techies flying around backstage in an attempt to fix with whatever means necessary. Less so in the UK?

There were a few interview clips before the show started; in one Johnny Lee Miller talked about finding his Monster in his Frankenstein. Was mildly disappointed that we had it spelled out pre-show, as I'd like to have discovered that for myself. He had some vocal quirks early on that I think would have clued me in. But I didn't get to make that discovery, sadly.

Definitely some changes from the previews; notably, FAR less nudity than I expected. Wondering if it was a change made in previews or a change made for this show (which would make me sadfaced). Looking forward to comparing notes with [personal profile] charloween.

It's HOURS later and I'm still SO FLAILY.

I say it often when I see a show that rocks me, but THAT is what theatre is supposed to do. Alas, I have now used up the few words I had remaining. AM RELIANT ON CAPSLOCK TO EXPRESS MYSELF.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
The last five days have gone on FOREVER. "Whirlwind" doesn't even begin to cover it. Here's the basics starting Wednesday, as that's when the crazy took off.

Wednesday, October 13 )

Luckily for the length of this writeup, Thursday was less time-specific. Let's get to it.

Thursday, October 14 )

Life has slowed down a bit in the intervening days. I now know what city I'm in, what time it is, the date, and a host of other perfectly normal information that was lost to me mid-week. I have acquired groceries, a dress, a bloody nose (thank you, exceptionally dry air), a solid night's sleep, and a regular dose of that implacable show adrenaline.

To the world I say: Let's Make Things!
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Tomorrow is the final performance of Triumph of Love. I haven't really processed that yet.

For someone who has had many of the same friends since 1st grade, the fleeting nature of theatre is sometimes really scary. In less than 24 hours, Triumph will be a collection of memories.

Part of me is looking forward to the time I'll have to myself. By working standard shop hours (10-6 Monday through Saturday) I'll have a chance to see more theatre in the community. I haven't seen anything other than my own show in either May or April, so I'm looking forward to remedying that.

My body is also tired. My back is sore from doing the hand laundry in an unfortunately low and deep sink. My head is tired of my ClearCom headset and the associated brain squeezing. And I have bruises in the shape of Hubert's heels on my knee thanks to the quickchange.

But.

This cast is amazing. The show is fantastic fun both to watch and to work. I have lots of quick and fast changes for lots of people (six out of seven cast members have at least one quick or fast change). I get to hang out in the traps and hand props up to an actor. I get to release spring-loaded poppies. I get to be regaled with stories from my actors' youths. And I get to watch this amazing show night after night.

I'm not ready to say goodbye!
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
In a universe parallel to this one, there is a version of me experiencing the same year as a theatre intern, living in the same theatre, wandering through the same sets of wings. The significant difference between the two of us is that she has, somewhere along the way, picked up an amateur photography habit and isn't too shabby. She uses that skill to document her (my? our?) life in a series of snapshots highlighting the surreal, unexpected, and downright wacky juxtapositions that come with living in a theatre.

The first focuses on a pair of beslippered feet standing at the edge of a stage. The feet are attached to a pair of pajama-wearing legs, behind which the seats of a darkened theatre are visible.

The second is a long shot of those same feet and PJ pants, now with the rest of the human attached. She's pictured from the back, walking across the stage (now farther upstage, not far from a dropped electric hanging a few feet from the ground). She's surrounded by the stillness a recently darkened theatre; there are bits of spike tape on the black stage, piles of scenery in the wings beside her, an RP screen hanging but not fully adjusted, and various lighting instruments waiting to be hung. And she's carrying an overstuffed basket of laundry.

Another photo shows five people, all dressed in black pants, black long sleeve shirts, black socks, and black shoes enjoying the air with upturned faces in a patch of dandelion-filled grass while the sun beats down with fresh spring intensity.

The final shot from today is a look at the matte black floor of the stage right wing space. At right the bottom of a boom and the lighting instrument attached to it are visible. At left there's the base for the upstage leg pulley. The focus of the shot is a giant yellow spike tape X labeled "Magical Spot of Quick Change Awesomeness."
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
In a funny brain place tonight, most likely thanks to exhaustion.

We managed to get all the way through the show today with no major disasters, and the relief I felt as the lights came down at the final cue was physical. Tech hasn't been horribly stressful, but it hasn't exactly been smooth or easy, so getting through the show was a huge success.

My major quick change was passable at best, but was better than it has been. And my one stopping point (stupid hook and bar!) is fixable. At some point, I'll have the presence of mind to time the thing properly, but it's in the neighborhood of 30 seconds to go from princess to male servant (from overdress, underskirt with paniers, wig, and necklace into breeches, shirt, vest, jacket, ascot, and hat). Oh, and did I mention she's got lines during the change?

It is--as I've been saying lately--stupid fast. And I LOVE IT! Despite my minor hiccup, we still got a smattering of applause from the other costume people.

Wait. This what not what I started out writing about. I was going to write about that show. Ya know the one. It has a madman and his blue box. I was going to say something about my recent experience of re-watching the entirety of New Who with Pei and how the communal (and often continuous) viewing changed my interaction with the show and characters. And then I was going to say things about Matt Smith, and his ability to act the EVERY LOVING DAYLIGHTS out of a scene without standing around emoting.

But I've been on my feet and going going going for countless hours the last two weeks, and I'm close to fall-over-from-brainded stage, so instead, I'm gonna hit post without really going over what I've just written.

So there!
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Pin stabbings are an everyday fact of a costumer's life, just as paper cuts are unremarkable to a filing clerk. They hurt like hell for a minute, are irritating for an hour, and then disappear entirely.

We're not talking grievous bodily harm here.

Then there's the ouch-worthy work interruptions. Loose a fight with a rotary wheel, get attacked by buckram (stabity stabity!), run the machine needle into a finger.

Not bad enough to warrant medical attention, but painful enough to be, well, a pain.

I had one of those today.

Cut for grossness and childlike fascination )

In somewhat related news, my awesome bandaid is so awesome that I can work my touchpad with it.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Working late in the shop for Triumph. It's a... sizable show. We're not at the point that we're scheduling 16 hour days yet, but the costummiere and I are goofing around and sewing things well into the night.

I have nearly, as predicted on Tuesday, built a hat. I'm tacking the lining in, and have about another hour of work. And then it will be a hat! Hooray! Hat!

Buuuuuut the reason I started this entry (while in the shop, rocking out to Pandora's Owl City channel) was to share a moment of awesome.

James (a former intern, now employee) just brought us eggplant parmesan. That he'd made from scratch. And just pulled out of the oven. Because he could.

He knew we were working late, so he brought us steaming plates of nommy nommy awesome.

How cool is that?

Buttons.

Mar. 30th, 2010 11:47 pm
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Some days, I get excited about finishing a dress, or rebuilding a pattern, or devising a crafty way of altering a jacket sleeve.

Today, I was proud of myself for sewing a button.

Yup. A button. Just the one.

I sewed 8 others, of course, but act of sewing buttons (to say nothing of buttonholes!) took pretty much all I had to give. And occasionally possessed technology (Bernett 80e, I'm looking at you with your cracked out buttonholing methods and random backstitching) didn't help at all.

Perhaps tomorrow I will successfully built a hat. Today, I will remain contented with buttons.

ETA: Of course. Tomorrow, I will not build a hat because tomorrow, I will work a matinée and an evening performance of Da. Perhaps I will build a hat on Thursday.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Opening night was AMAZING.

Our afternoon (final preview) audience was brilliant, so I was a bit afraid that the evening wouldn't be as strong. But they were OUTSTANDING. There were two sustained laughs of more than 12 seconds (usually, a sustained, rolling laugh will last for 5 or 7 seconds)! And they were right there with the characters, getting the wit, not just laughing at the slapstick. The actors fed off that energy, so it was a wonderful show all around.

I'll actually be sad to leave these guys, as much as I'm looking forward to Triumph.

Gaaaaa! I love my job and I love my life!

/broken record
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Was gonna write aaaaaall about this crazy sense of unearned good luck that seems to be following me around (not complaining, universe!) and how theatre has shifted my understanding of concepts like "normal," especially "day off."

But I've thrown myself head first into two shows. Start work at 10am, finish around 11:30pm, grab an hour for dinner in there somewhere. Not a bad thing, not by any means. Da had its first proper audience tonight, and man I'm proud of this show. I do pretty much nothing other than smile pretty at the actors and occasionally lend a hand, but it's a damn good show and the audience tonight agreed. Today also happened to be first rehearsal for Triumph, a show that (if the world continues to turn in my favour) will be one gigantic quick change. Aaand of course fittings for Triumph will be starting soon, which means me hanging about in the shop for even longer.

I'm not complaining, by any means. I know these hours won't last forever, and I'm gonna squeeze every waking moment of awesome out of my life.
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Teeeeeeech rehearsaaaaaaaaaal.

*zonk*

That's not entirely a fare assessment, as this tech is not especially painful for me. It's a quiet show, costume-wise, so I do a great deal of sitting around. And laundry, of course.

And now, to find food in order to get rid of caffeine shakes. Gaaaaaaaaaa.

Bwuh?

Mar. 18th, 2010 06:45 pm
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Living in a theatre is aaaaalways interesting; today is no exception.

There I was, checking email and generally noodling around online after a slow day in the costume shop when all of a sudden--

DUN DUN DUUN DUUN! DUN DUN DUUN DUUN! DUN DUN DUUUUN DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUN!

For those of you illiterate in Alina-Music-Dun-Dun-Speak, that's Carl Orff's Carmina Burana ("O Fortuna" to be exact).

I have NO IDEA why the speakers are belting "O Fortuna," but they are. Perhaps the group performing in the space tomorrow is teching?

Is a mystery!
sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
Design run for Da was today. Design run is the first chance for designers (and crew, usually!) to see how the show actually looks; there's very little tech involved so it's actors on a stage with basic props. Actors can still call for line, and blocking isn't always set. It's a rehearsal, to be sure.

The show I was today was AWESOME. It was fantastically well acted and I cannot wait to play too!

Seeing the run put me in a lovely mood for the rest of the day, so I gleefully worked on my Helen Hayes dress [DC area theatre awards; formal attire necessary. Yikes!], then ran lots of productive errands. Have now acquired shampoo, soap, toothpaste, shoe grips, hand cream, and various other sundries to keep me going until May.

Which is good, because Da tech is this weekend, and I'll leave Da mid-run to work Triumph. Errand running time will be in short supply the next few months!

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sesquipedaliatic: Crazy.  We has it. (Default)
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