Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colony House - Dorset, VT

I can't believe I'm still in bed at 8:30. Lately I've been going in to the theatre at 8:00 and today I think I will go in at 10. The interns have arrived, as well as the cast of the next two shows, so things have been picking up rapidly. St. Nicholas opens tonight, so the past few days of my life have been spent in the dark, with 10 minutes breaks of sunshine every hour and a half. I was terribly worried about getting my job done on time for this show. I really felt like I just didn't have enough time, but it actually worked out great. Bradford usually ends up needing me to change most of the lights over the course of tech, but that didn't really happen this time. I only spent one night in the theatre until 1am, other than that I've been leaving at a reasonable time. Still after my 9:30 bedtime, but... this is theatre, not farming. We all have to be night people here.

This is the stage last week

Let me try and explain the layout of this show a little. St. Nick is a one man show, in which the one man (The actor's name is Jack Gilpin) is telling the audience a story. It's an intimate kind of story-telling and it needs an intimate setting. So we moved the audience to the stage. They are seated along the back wall of the stage and down the side walls. His playing area is pretty small and he has a chance to really look every person in the audience in the eye. It's so amazing and I think the people of Dorset are a bit shocked and giddy about it when they walk into the theatre. Anyway the backdrop of the whole play is the empty theatre. Bradford designed a bunch of cool effects that light up the theatre in interesting ways. I also got the wonderful project of cutting up Christmas lights and hiding them in the seats. I now know more about christmas lights than I ever really wanted to know and 5 hours of my life are gone forever to this subject. However, when we tuned the lights on the effect was so beautiful. It was exactly what Carl (director of this show) wanted to see.

The stage and its weirdo seating

I'm going to pause for a second here to explain that the average audience member of this theatre is... older. A few years past retirement. They are well educated and maybe a bit old-fashioned, and when they pay good money to see a show, they don't want to be offended. This means we can't have smoking on stage, we have to be careful about loud unexpected noises and, holy crap, we do not want to swear too much. Well, this show is about an Irish alcoholic. He swears a lot. Carl cut about 90% of the swearing out of the show, and though it might throw the rhythm a little, I know the audience appreciates it.

So, after we tried the Christmas lights for the first time, Jack turned to Carl and said "I think this is worth putting at least five 'cunts' back in the show." I would say the five hours of frustrating work I put into this look was all worth it just for that hilarious moment.

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