Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Opening Day/Night

It is always rewarding to see your work come to life. From page to stage, the costumes have breathed life into the actor's characters. It is rewarding but exhausting. I always feel as though I have just been struck by a train on opening day. It doesn't matter if the show is slightly behind and we are scrambling with the details on the costumes or we are casually cleaning the costume shop, I will always be exhausted.

I am not going to say that the show hasn't had its hitches. For the most part, these hitches haven't been on the part of the costumes. The Grapes of Wrath is a dark show--I MEAN DARK. Not the writing but the lights. Our lighting designer was a student and it was his first design. New designers, any designer--me as well, will always go whole hog and create some visually artistic crap and justify our choices with self serving bull----. (A friend of mine calls it mental masturbation. A disturbing phrase but it gets the point across.) This may or may not be our intent but it can get in the way of the story itself. When that happens, look out because those newbies will fight tooth and nail to preserve their work. The fight is a noble one but often times the greater good is overlooked: Making the audience believe.

So our first dress rolls around and I am fairly confident in what we have done. I know there will be more to do but you can always add costume elements in but you can not always remove them. The lights came up and I couldn't see a single bit of distressing on the costumes let alone see the actors' faces. "This", I say to myself, "is bad." And so more distressing goes on for the second dress rehearsal. Who knew that Vaseline could make sweat stains more believable? Now this dress rehearsal goes well with one exception--The set contains a 45 degree rake! Not only a rake but one the actors are blocked to walk up after "dippin" in the river. Yes, real water. One actor falls, then another and finally someone else slips. I am beyond freaking out. The director is not calling a "HOLD" and neither is the stage manager. I vocalize, rather loudly, that we need to stop but either no one heard me or I was being ignored. We as designers, directors and crew need to make sure that the actors are always kept safe. So much rides on these actors.They stand at a unique precipice where they invite the audience in and ask them to believe in the magic that has been created by a handfull of designers and technicians. Truly, the success of a show is won or lost by how the audience reacts to them. If one of them is hurt during a performance, it can ultimately hurt the show. It not only takes the audience out of the world that was created by reminding them they are in a theatre but the actor may have to be replaced. When that happens it changes the entire dynamic of the play because different actors act and react in very different ways. It is essentially a different show.

I have come to accept over the years that there can be NO riff between actors and technicians. Everyone's job is dependent on the other's--we must always have the same goals and do it safely. Yes, there are some actors who are more demanding backstage than others but their job takes them to a very vulnerable place and they trust that everything is safe--even if it may not be.

Final dress was better. A little paint on the costumes because the poor set designer doesn't have enough help to complete what he would like to do in the amount of time he would like to accomplish it. And so the paint wasn't sealed and it got on the costumes--a few I could care less about but one wound up with a creative dirt mark I hope the adjudicator will think is brilliant.

It is done and it doesn't belong to me anymore. It is theirs...and yours...and eventually, it will be a memory. For me the memory begins tomorrow at 5 a.m. when I head to the airport.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Technicolor Psyche

Well, apparently I failed to tell you what I do. (Actually, a certain someone needs to read the blog title and its subtitle!)Further explanation to follow...

I am a costume designer. I research, design, create, and construct the costumes, makeup and accessories for whatever a character might have, need, or wear. I like what I do but a recent addiction to Project Runway makes me want to design clothes and maybe open a boutique. I could do it................Anyway, I am currently in Georgia designing costumes for a production of The Grapes of Wrath. I forgot just how depressing it was. The show not designing it.

New topic...At the risk of sounding like so many "romantic comedies" I hate I have found this whole dating, internet dating, blind dating and the like to be rather bland. We as beings on this planet can find or obtain nearly 90% of what we seek given we are willing to work hard enough for it (Or just remember where we put the yellow pages). Then why is it that love, true love or even a meaningful conversation over Subway is the one thing we cannot seem to obtain when we want and need it the most? (at this point I'd take an interesting companionship that was devoid of me filing a restraining order) Why can't we hurry love? Why do the fates, God, nature or whatever your persuasion insist that when it comes to love they must be the ones in charge? And if this is true then how can we be the masters of our own destiny when Diety has plans for our hearts?

So, I am a member of one of those internet dating sites that is supposed to be "different". A dating site for people of a certain religion and like mindedness. Alright, I was optimistic when I joined over 4 years ago, but really if I get one more email about the latest success story I will vomit on my shoe and sell it on ebay as an art sculpture. Success story! Hah, the only success I think that they've had is in getting away with recycling the same couple's picture through the clever use of PhotoShop.

I'm not, in my opinion--and since you're reading this you are subject it, delusional about what I want. Short, fat, thin, bald. These things are really secondary on my list of requirements. The most important thing for me in a relationship is "Do they make me feel good about myself?"and "Am I doing the same thing for them?" I don't want a mutual admiration society but a relationship that is positively building a firm foundation for a successful relationship to continually stand on , survive the firestorm that is sometimes our world and a sanctuary for us and anyone living in our home, but apparently that is to much to ask at this point.

Viva Snoopy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hi! Thank you for visiting. Here are a few interesting facts about me...a small update to the job situation. I was a Professor at a university in Michigan. I have since left that position to concentrate more fully on what I want out of my life...more info later. However, there's still no one special in my life...despite the rumors of me carrying on a "torrid affair" withsomeone back in Michigan. You gotta love the rumor mill. They're productive. Anyway, I am taking a break from teaching college. Maybe I'll find another position at the university level during this break. I have a...well, I'd guess you'd say it is a motto that I live by: Please don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, life may require it of you. Meaning, if you happen to get a flat tire on the road of life just ease off to the shoulder and change it. You'll soon be back out there driving again.

A little more about me... I am random at constant intervals :) I'm a funny, animated, action-adventure, historically, romantic movie watcher with a dash of the KUNG FU thrown in for good measure. I am slightly afraid of water--a few scary ocean events has made me the wiser... chicken--but I'd love to watch my friends surf, swim, body-board, etc. And who knows I might get out there again! Games requiring the use of basketballs or baseballs will usually require me to visit the E.R., but you can laugh at my black eye because I will. If you don't believe me ask the professor of scenic design at the University of Montana. He can tell you a great story about a girl in right field who literally got a taste for softball! Camping's Good--I was the best camper at Girls camp 4 yrs running. Unfortunately, I can not play an instrument, but I can run a CD player with good Cd's! Where's the outlet? I can change my own tire and know the location of the service station for the rest of the car's needs. I am fairly independent with strong shoulders for others to lean on, weep into, or rest their babies upon. Basically, that's me.

for my duckie friends...

So a duck walks into a diner and asks the waitress for some green grapes. The waitress says,"We don't have any green grapes. Now get outta here before I call animal control!" A few days later the duck comes back, sits himself up to the counter and asks the waitress for some green grapes. She says, "Look, duck, all we serve is greasy burgers, cold shakes, and hot fries. We don't have any green grapes! Now get before I nail your bill to the floor!" Two weeks go by and the duck comes back to the diner, sits himself up to the counter and asks the waitress, "Ma'am, do you have any nails?" To which the waitress replies, "No." And the duck says,"Good! I'll have some green grapes!" Smile & Have a good day!