Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Last weekend was given over to technical rehearsals, the seemingly interminable process in which set, costumes, lights, sound, props, and in our case the video component (two big video projectors and eleven televisions scattered around the set) are brought together and coordinated for the first time. The production, that's been bouncing along, gathering strength and smoothness is suddenly fragmented. An individual set shift or fast costume change is run over and over again until it is perfectly timed with the accompanying light or sound cue. Absolutely essential to the final, flawless running of the performances, the tech rehearsals can be thunderingly dull and frustrating. It's best to bring a book, a writing project or some knitting.

I was off Saturday morning and early afternoon which were given over to the director, sound and lighting designers setting levels and achieving preliminary looks for each cue. I worked on cleaning out a side sun porch where all my daughters' college stuff had been stored, books and dorm stuff, most of which (predictably?) they no longer want. Because this glassed-in porch was so full, I hadn’t used it for a long while and made the grim discovery that the porch roof had begun to leak and cause water damage. I'll have to have a new roof put on it in the interest of selling the house.

The day improved hugely when I met Steve of the blog Chaos for brunch. He wanted to discuss some issues in relation to parenting, a role he has recently assumed unexpectedly and under interesting circumstances that can be checked out on the blog. Steve turns out to be a great guy--sharp, funny, wonderful company--whose pictures don't begin to hint at how good looking he is. An hour at the Trident Bookstore Café on Newbury Street flew by, then I walked back across the river in gorgeous weather to Cambridge to begin the next phase of the tech rehearsal.

This part went from 3 until 10:40pm with an hour out for dinner. I worked through the break, taking care of several painting notes and bringing in coffee and a sandwich to eat once the ongoing rehearsal resumed at 6:30. I took my last notes of the day at the short production meeting while the actors were getting out of costume. This play feeds voraciously on props, a new list of which I had to look forward to gathering. We also suffered the malfunction of the red and blue guns on the bigger of the video projectors so that the images spread over the whole stage from time to time all came out a livid lime green. Then I was out the loading dock of the theater and on the road north just after 11pm, slipping into bed with him at midnight (route 93 was running fast Saturday night--85mph right up to exit 4 in New Hampshire). I had to be back at MIT the next morning to set up for the tech to resume at 1pm, so we had very little time together but that was preferable to not seeing him for what would have amounted to two weeks.

Yesterday began the most insane week of all. The first dress rehearsal, the beginning of the spring term with students registering for classes—I teach two during this, my last term at the Institute. These are days when I'm in at 7am and hope to be out by 11:30pm. I drive home, undress and get into bed, get up in the morning, dress and go to work. My cat HATES these days and I'm not so thrilled either, but that's what's necessary to get a production on stage.

I notice that Bozo has developed an expanded identity. Several times now I've heard him describe himself as The Decider. No matter what Congress or the Military or the Judiciary or the American People might want or feel to be the best course of action, it is Bozo who will Decide.

What are the implications of this change on the future of the Presidency? Will our candidates run for the Decidership of the United States of America? their wives becoming the First Decideresses? their seconds in command becoming Vice-Decider?

What about the peripheral titles? Decider-in-Chief of the Armed Forces? Will the press refer to him as the Decider of the Free World? Bozo has certainly shown a great willingness to make everybody in the world's decisions for them. And the Presidential March will have to be rewritten--"Hail to the Decider" just doesn't scan.

I'm reminded of a time a little over 2000 years ago when the Romans, famed for their representative republican form of government, woke up one morning to find that a man named Octavius had decreed himself Emperor Caesar Augustus. The Senate and the people's Tribunes would no longer drive Rome's government; the Emperor who had formed a major partnership with the military would henceforth make all Decisions. On matters of life and death, HE would Decide. Canceling out many of the citizenry's civil rights, he turned the Senate into a rubber stamp.

I mention this because now we have a Decider, too. Fortunately, we took control of the House and the Senate in the very nick of time.

George W Bush: struggling to Decide, and having Decided.

I miss "real" theatre. :(

And that's NOT me being a smart ass.
ah how well i remember tech weeks! and having to go to class during thed day and pretend to be awake!

hang in there - and Break a Leg!
Holy Crap! You're quite busy. Your schedule when you teach reminds me of mine when I taught and was doing a morning show. 'Cept, I was up at 3 (that's AM) and usually in bed around 11:30PM. Be sure you're able to find some 'you' time when you're this busy.
Thanks to you all for your concern. The rehearsal came down earlier tonight (the production is regaining its pace now that we're back to uninterrupted dress rehearsals) and I was in my Jeep at 10:05 and on my way home. I'm not setting foot outside this house until noon tomorrow. I pushed just hard enough the last two days that I've got only three small notes to do tomorrow (Wednesday), the day of final dress. The video installation is still being fractious but that--blessedly--is not my responsibility.

I'm still sorting out in my head why so many video feeds are necessary or desirable in a live theater presentation--or why all this video at all. This probably marks me as very old fashioned, but why should I want to go to the theater to watch television?
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