It’s 8 a.m. and I’m quickly devouring a bowl of Captain Crunch while I write.
Dinner last night was a three-course meal of microwaved hot dogs at 8 p.m., a glass of beer at 10 p.m. and a bag of chips at midnight.
This is what happens when you close a show on Sunday at 3 p.m. and your lighting designer, who is in from Denver, has to leave by noon on Monday.
It is also what happens every time Tech Week rolls around. Tech Week is the delightful last couple of days before you open a theater production, when the set flies up on stage, lights get hung, sound is built, costumes are tried on and somewhere in there you try and work on the content of the play while counting the hours (not the days) until the show opens before an audience. In our case that is Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m.
“Brilliant Traces” is a show that takes place in a cabin in the wilds of Alaska. I’m sure that you have seen the bright red posters around town with a wee little cabin all by its self in the vast red. Or maybe you haven’t because we ran out of time this week to put them up? A woman in full bridal regalia burst in on a hermit in the middle of a snow storm. Rosanna Deluce is running away from the meaningless of her life. The man in the cabin has already run away from the meaningfulness of his. And they need an old cabin, a bed, a sink, a stove, a table, curtains, a soup pot, a tea pot, a whiskey bottle, 20 light cues, a wedding dress, a bridal veil, music as their audience comes in, music as they bow, music as the audience leaves, black curtains framing the cabin, glow tape on the edge of the stage, blue light for the actor entrance and lots of practice with all of those things on a stage that only yesterday was a big cloud with pirates and airplanes and elevators.
But lucky for us, on Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m., we reserve the right to hit the snooze button for 24 more hours of Tech Week. Thursday is our Final Dress First Thursday. It is open, at no cost, to all high school students to come enjoy the show. But since it is our final dress rehearsal, we reserve the right to stop and fix something if it goes astray. My high school drama teacher use to bus our drama club two hours to the nearest city of Portland, Ore., to see dress rehearsals of the various professional productions.
Only once did I seen them stop the show to perfect something and it was fascinating, actually. It was a ballet production. The director was from Europe and spoke very broken English. He got on the “God Mic” and made the musicians speed up the beginning of one song and asked the dancers to enter earlier, quicken the pace by about four seconds. He did that 25 times for the same entrance. A booming voice would break the calm of the dance, “No! No, no. You. Pink dress. Pink dress girl. You hear. Ra- ra-ra- you enter. Okay. Again.” The fascinating part was what a difference those four seconds made and how long it took to make that four-second difference.
On Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m. the lights go up on a flawless show for the Champagne Opening. After serving light hors d’oeuvres and Champagne for an hour in our art gallery, which will, by Friday, have a new variety of marvelous art for our Rustic Show. Some pieces are being driven down from Alaska and are scheduled to arrive on Friday at 4 p.m. This is part of what makes the Center for the Arts so exciting. It is that wonderful fresh feeling you get when you change your hair style, buy a new shirt, or maybe change the paint color in your living room. The Center for the Arts gallery had wonderful art by young artists only yesterday and today new art is coming in. Yesterday, our lighting designer came out from the black box where he was hanging lights just as we finished pulling the young artist work down from the walls. “Oh, I liked that art. Where did it go?” he frowned. “Don’t worry — more new and different coming tomorrow!” I smiled. But then I was always the kid who asked for an “experience” for Christmas, like a summer camp or a trip to the movies (where I lived, that was a big deal, the nearest movie theater was 45 minutes away) or a book that would transport me somewhere, instead of a toy. This enthusiasm for experiencing life and all of its moments, may be what carries me on through Tech Week. I cannot wait to show everyone how our stage and our art gallery has transformed. My husband practically had to bribe me to keep me from painting the stage one color for last Friday’s ballet performance and another color for Saturday’s Kids Playshop show, because on Sunday he knew it would change again when the stage turned into a cabin.
It shouldn’t take one hour to write a paragraph, but when multi-tasking is your occupation, sometimes it takes two. Since the first paragraph, I’ve written a check to the lighting designer, contacted our caterer, e-mailed two visual artist sand one aerial silks instructor, frantically searched the whole building for my only copy of the script that I have to make a copy of for our stage manager, and made a note to add our phone number 731-SHOW to our website, www.pagosacenter.org, so people could call about buying tickets. Welcome to Tech Week. Hope to see you at the opening.