Thursday, September 25, 2003

Fall is usually a fairly slack time at MIT. The year is just cranking up, decisions are being made about scripts the directors want to do later in the year, students are looking at five months before they have to do thesis productions, etc. But last year we decided we had to try to shift the load out of term two, which gets really and truly insane, and frontload the year as much as possible. So now I am designing two productions simultaneously--a dance theater concert and a play about Holocaust survivors in the days immediately after the end of WWII who form a theater company to bring Yiddish culture back to other survivors waiting interminably in camps for permission to go somewhere, anywhere, to start life over. Also there are some guest artists to coordinate, the gay-bi-lesbian-transgendered exhibit to do and--the book.

I wish that a lot of work all at the same time didn't agree with me so much. I find that when I have too much to do it all gets done, and that when I am in a relaxed time nothing gets done because there's no sense of urgency. That's when I start repainting rooms in my house and spending all my time reading blogs on the web (no offence).

About the book: I am having a lot of fun. It is based on my thesis, a history of theatrical lighting before electricity. Please don't roll your eyes--I know it is a niche topic. But I am told there is a market for it and that European publishers in particular will go for it. Of course it has to be extensively rewritten and expanded
and part of that will be historical vignettes from the era when going to a theater could cost you your life, so frequent were the theater fires. There were also amazing inventions, bizarre and wonderful scenic spectacles, and interesting facts and statistics. I hope to make it all an interesting theatrical pageant.


I was completely engrossed by the first new "West Wing" of the season last night. I had been worried when I heard that Aaron Sorkin had been forced out of his own creation if only because his plotting is so sharp and the dialog so witty and literate.
But last night just crackled and the foundation is laid for a long stretch of strongly dramatic situations. I try not to watch too much TV but this and the various "Law and Order" series are must-sees for me.

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