Archive for April, 2010

“Onderweg” in Pictures

This text will automatically appear on several websites, but best thing to do is to view the original format, which you will find right here:
http://verminsnest.spaces.live.com/?_c11_BlogPart_BlogPart=blogview&_c=BlogPart&partqs=cat%3dSnapshots

We made it. More than two months of work and preparation have lead to these few days, in which our efforts are criticized and judged by the dumb masses.

IMG_2388“Onderweg” is what we deliver, or “Underway” as some might call it. It is the result of the creative  outbursts of a one-of-a-kind director and the unique (to say the least) chemistry between around fifteen actors, simultaneously on stage for the whole performance.

The piece is built in several layers. The actors start out as themselves (although obviously acting), and explain the structure of the play. It’s the story of a group of refugees, squatters of an abandoned railroad station. Inside this story, like a dream within a dream, another story is told, played by the same people in different roles. They switch back and forth, playing narrators, concepts, objects and goddesses, and play themselves, from an actor’s perspective. Still with us?IMG_2860

The creative process was at least equally layered and infinitely more complicated. As part of the set crew and responsible for the sound effects, I was included from the start and got to watch from the sidelines as progress was made on many levels. And because I had my camera with me at all times, for the first time, I get to share this experience.

Photographs alone are snapshots, literally and figuratively. They never tell the whole story, so I’ll try and do that for them.
As mentioned, the story of our group takes place on different levels, poetically appropriate considering the parts we play in the eventual result. Let’s start with the obvious, at the beginning.

Rehearsals and interaction between those involvedIMG_1349

By the time I joined the company, the actors were well on their way of learning their lines. The script was written by the director, based on improvisation sessions of the main actors. Dancers came and went, people trying out to see if it was something they wanted to join in on. I lost count on the faces we saw in passing, and only a select few who were there at the beginning ended up staying. Their friends were called upon and quickly enough we had a big enough group- give or take a few.

IMG_2340 Soon, we moved to a much bigger place to practice at, and from there on, it was pretty much “business as usual.” The choreographer and director make a good team, and it was interesting to watch as things took shape. As usual, I had many doubts about their working method and focus on things I found trivial, but kept my hole shut; They’re the pro’s, not me. Scripts onstage disappeared one by one as the actors learned their lines by heart, while the crew had theirs close by for the numerous times we had a cue to fill in. It got repetitive at this point for me, but I didn’t mind much. I was enjoying being a part of it and I had plenty to keep busy with. IMG_1738edit

As progress was made, small problems became evident and grew in size. Chemistry between actors is as important as anything and just didn’t want to work out. While closing in on the “general week,” the last week before live performance, things heated to a breaking point.

IMG_1745 Additionally, several actors soon went missing in action: on holiday. It was something we all knew well in advance but still came at a very inopportune time. It was up to the director to come up with a solution, which he did: Ignore the problem and continue as planned, albeit with a little more care about everyone’s feelings. Again, not what I would have done, but I trusted his judgment and simply crossed my fingers. It’s a decision that could still be argued about today, but since nobody has any experience with directing but the man himself, we’re hardly in a position telling him what to do.IMG_2550 If there was any point in the production where I lost sleep, this would be it.

Either I missed a revolutionary change during one of the very few days I was absent, or the cast put some real effort into their acting during this hiatus. Either way, when I returned, their performance had changed considerably. It still wasn’t quite perfect (like it ever is), but as another crew member said after a full rehearsal: “I’ve seen this play dozens of times by now, and today, for the first time, I was actually moved.” And I had to agree. We had a great thing brewing.

We had moved to the actual room where the performance would take place by then, and it was time for us set builders, to get down to business.

 

The setIMG_1416.CR2

The original plan when all of us first sat down together was a remarkably vague one. The only thing that kept being mentioned was “white”. White walls, white floor, white props. Also, there were to be some kind of compressed packs of garbage of some kind. Several ideas were brought up, from using synthetic foam to jam trash in, to wooden cubes wrapped up in prints. But really, we didn’t really have a clue what it had to look like, let alone how to do it.

Another problem was that we were on ourIMG_1587 own. A fashion designer and a stage builder were suddenly held responsible for the construction of a whole set, something neither of us had ever done. Since I had been involved with the theater group in the past, I naturally assumed that I carried the end responsibility, and would have to arrange the meetings and take all the big decisions. In short, I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Luckily, I was proven wrong. I had gravely underestimated the potential of my colleague, and the expertise of a carpenter who would ”help where he could” before leaving for Spain for I don’t know how long- could be decades. He was so kind to provide us with wooden panels that we could paint and put up, rather than paint the black walls of the theater and screw ourselves with days work after the shows were over to get it allIMG_1977 black again.

Initiative is not my forte, and I don’t underestimate the ways in which my colleague helped me in that respect. Luckily, her creativity and assertiveness easily exceeds mine, and to put it bluntly, she took charge far more effectively than I would have. I was glad to just nod when she suggested the next time to meet and work, and simply agreed to the ideas she came up with. I may be more clever with a hammer, but as a designer she’s the one with the brains, as much as I hate to admit it.

IMG_2768-2 We reconsidered those “elements” repeatedly, and eventually it became clear that the intention was to portray the squatters’ packrat tendencies. Furniture, still usable, was to be “compressed” IMG_2997 together to a as small a size as possible, for later use. This was a huge relief for me, as it meant less than half the amount of work as originally thought. We came up with a few ideas, painted them white, and voila. The set was ready.

Transportation proved to be a hassle, not that I would know because I wasn’t even there. Conveniently, I had to work for real, and only came back to find everything IMG_3189 on-site. After a complication or two with organization, we got our act together and went to work. The panels were up in a day, and later moved slightly apart according to the director’s “If you can’t hide it, Show it” philosophy. The surface was written with the actors’ lines from the play in black marker, to create a sort of diary effect with the leafs spread out along the walls.

The white floor proved another challenge. We had to enlist a few actors to assist getting a huge roll of linoleum floor covering up a flight of stairs, which we then unrolled and flipped upside down, with the white side up. And thus, a white room was created, and as soon as the actors walked in, it became the “white room with dirty footprints”. Between figuring things out, painting, assembling, and making it work, we worked for a good month, pretty much every few hours we had to spare.

 

Photography and observations

But enough about you. Let’s talk about me. IMG_1345

There is no such thing as skill.
Skill is merely a snapshot of progress.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. So in that respect, every photograph is a snapshot, literally and figuratively, of the photographer’s skill at that time; and of course the equipment, light conditions, and even previous shots that linger in your camera’s settings.

IMG_1414 Usually, the difference between an amateur and pro is painfully obvious. So if his skill improves along the way, you can spot that in his work. I like to believe that this is the case with my set.

When I first started out, I had my camera for just over a week. I had just joined a forum to get as much dead honest feedback and technical tips as I could, and was still testing settings and exposure modes. Upon coming home every night, I would scan through my pictures to see what I did wrong. The best ones, I kept and put online for the others to find, but I wasn’t looking for praise. I was merely practicing.IMG_1375

We started out in a smallish, dimly lit room with black walls. A nightmare to  get sharp images. The low light meant that I had to crank up my ISO setting and use wide open aperture, with so much noise and haziness as a result that I could hardly even tell if they were in focus or not- another thing my camera was struggling with. It wasn’t until we moved to a much bigger room with better light, that I could really see my pictures for what they were. I noted where improvement was possible and practiced at post-processing.IMG_1646

I could tell my voyeuristic tendencies weren’t welcome, at first. I got plenty of glares, however discreet, and I could sometimes see the actors struggle to concentrate when looking into a lens or hearing the shutter nearby. It took some practice for me too, to get over the awkwardness, but that too is something I needed to learn. You get used to it quickly and if they are still bothered by it, they have surpassed the point where they need to show it. Problem solved.
IMG_1740 Most of them didn’t seem to understand why, either. That is mostly due to the fact that they don’t share the same passion and wouldn’t get why want to, for example, get my angle right. For them, there is nothing to see simply because they don’t look at a scene the same way I do. They don’t get why they are “worth” taking pictures of, not realizing the composition they are in. And of course, they only see their flaws- but let’s not getIMG_2074.CR2 into that.

Between the dancing, acting and reviewing, the possibilities for compositional experimentation were endless. Fifteen people standing in diagonals, interacting with someone in front or behind them, gesturing some way or another… Heaven for anyone wanting to get it on film. Most movements were slow and repetitive, allowing me to take my time to compose and re-try again and again.

IMG_3074 As we switched buildings again, the white IMG_3004walls were being put up and lights installed. Suddenly, the ugly, boring background of cables and loose drapes gave way for something that actually gave depth and interest to the whole. From that point on, the quality of the pictures took a leap forward and I was able to do things that simply didn’t work before, like close-up portraits. The play of warm light with bluish background gave anything I did a whole new dimension, boosting any “good” composition to epic proportions. You might say I am biased and you would be right, but I am not the only one to notice this.

What still needs work, is my exposure compensation. I haven’t IMG_3504quite figured out how my camera will interpret the light, and I often underexpose. Also far from perfect is my post-processing, which could compensate for mistakes made during shooting. Next production, perhaps?

A professional photographer came by to take the official rehearsal pictures, which could then beIMG_3188-2 bought in actual prints. Sting as it might, I had to admit they were very good. His workflow was far more efficient than mine, who goes by trial-and-error, and the manipulation of colors was to the point and accurate, not to mention his exposure.
I did have a few people disagree with me, however. They said the pictures had something missing,   and even went as far as calling mine better. While I take this with a grain of salt (and much gratitude), I think they might be on to something: a deeper knowledge and understanding of your subject unmistakably leads to better pictures. It was the actors’ patience and acceptance that allowed me to capture them at their most intimate moments. Regardless if they liked the results or not, I will carry this with me for the rest of my career: the practice that I had in these few months was more than I could ever wish for.

IMG_2942

So now that this is over, I have a big photo album with pictures that will soon be forgotten. Sooner or later they will be gone altogether, and the story they told will fade.
When practicing photography, you are constantly faced with the decision whether to delete or keep a shot. When choosing to remove them, with them a part of the memory disappears. The set that remains shows how I saw things, but as the memory fades, so will the interest. The art of photography seems to want to keep memories alive, by showing just how interesting they really are. A “good” picture emphasizes the things that made a situation affect you. The more closely the viewer is involved, the easier this is, but soon enough no one will know or care what all this nonsense is about and with
IMG_3567their value, the pictures will disappear. It’s a dead shame in one sense, but still a natural process I’ll have to live with.

In the play, the residents of the old train station, who inside their roles were actors in the secondary story told, take over abruptly and demand their own ending, a good one- a “Happily Ever After” one. Sadly, the actors in the story that took place in this reality, can’t just go and do that. The end has come and the goodbye was an emotional one: Somehow, friendships were forged in this melting pot that will last for a long time to come. I didn’t get much pictures of this because my initial goal was nothing but practice in composition, which I now regret. Or would that be one bridge too far? I suppose it no longer matters…

IMG_3197-2

Advertisements

Fucking Up

Few businesses have workers required to work in harmony quite like ours. Like gears in a well oiled machine, whether we like each other or not, we have to work together and if something fails or if a mistake is made, we have to seamlessly cover for each other. More than once I’ve heard all hell breaking loose on the radio, while the crowd isn’t even aware of the slightest problem.

However, some jobs are just plainly irreplaceable. You can’t take away a sound or light technician and still expect the show to go well. Usually though, all that jazz is none of my concern and I couldn’t care less if the show was one huge disappointment, or not. Okay- that’s not entirely true, but really it shouldn’t be any of my business if the technicians do their job right. I do what I’m required to do and the fact that I am easily replaced, doesn’t really bother me. In fact, the lack of responsibility is quite addictive.

I don’t know when all this changed, it seems like I missed some meeting where the decision fell. I’m usually still the same old knuckledragging stagehand, but it seems like I made the mistake of accepting jobs that require a sense of concern with the show.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I will continue to do so. This responsibility wasn’t part of the plan, however. Allow me to illustrate.

A couple days ago, I accepted a job to go operate a followspot for some metal gig. I have decent experience by now but for the first time, I would have to be climbing my way up into the truss grid on one of those absurdly narrow little step ladders. Even that, I didn’t really mind- I love new experiences and any reason to climb is a good one.

But get this: We were late. A van with all eight of us got stuck in traffic and all we could do was get in line while the GPS system’s estimated time of arrival crept closer and closer to show time, and eventually past it. We called and let them know, and the show was put on hold.

Can you imagine the feeling? A metal gig with thousands of fans waiting on one car. Ours. On top of that, the driver was too much of an idiot to read his GPS, god forbid he would ever have to hold an actual fucking map. Every time he missed his turn, we lost two minutes- minutes that were adding up to the time that is money. Lots of money.
As we arrived at the venue, a whole row of technicians guided us to the parking lot (our driver too stupid to get the hint, asking where we needed to be) where we jumped out, straight into our climbing gear, and without even taking the cell phones out of our pockets (which is usually an absolute must), jumped into our seats on a lowered truss and got hoisted up.

Around that time, I noticed that the intercom system I was given was a one-sided one, meaning it had only one earphone. I challenge you, I double fucking dare you: As a Belgian just try to understand a German light technician yelling in English through his microphone while The Scorpions are screaming in the other ear. What kind of fucking dickmonkey put a one-sided intercom on my seat, is what I want to know. This is the type of people who are supposed to have studied for this weak shit.
On top of that (it doesn’t end), they actually managed to put our seats, with spots attached, too close together. No joke. I was on the bass player, who by the way was most of the time behind me because they had attached my seat the wrong way, and I kept bumping into the spot that was on the lead guitarist. I figured a bass player was slightly less important in a band so I blacked out my light and moved out of harm’s way until I could catch my guy again. If the guitar player moved stage-left, I had to lean out of my seat to make room for the other spot’s filter frames sticking out which we never even fucking used.

Whew.

Now, again, I like my job. I don’t mind being stuck in traffic, really. I’m not the one driving so it just gives me more time to annoy the one who does. I don’t mind ignoring safety regulations, either; I strapped my cell phone in, problem solved. It doesn’t bother me that much if for technical reasons, or in this case, the sheer stupidity of someone supposedly better educated than me, keeps me from doing my job right. It’s frustrating, but usually doesn’t upset me very much. I work with what I have.
What gets my goat, is the stress that is factored in with each of these separately, let alone combined. When it’s a problem I can help, I’ll just give it 120% until the coast is clear. But if it’s some other mouthbreather who doesn’t let me do my job right, a job that doesn’t allow compromise, that’s when I get a little pissed.

I signed up for a followspot job. In, spot, out, go home, eat pizza. Another day at the office. I did not agree to be surrounded and lead by mongoloids who seemed to do anything in their power to make my job difficult.
I care about what I do, because I love doing it so much. I want to do it right because I want to contribute to something as inspiring as music. When I do something that I know damages the whole, I would rather walk away than continue what I’m doing.
The option to walk away, is what “freedom” really means to me. Even when I give up that freedom, by accepting followspot jobs or as a sound technician, I do so voluntarily and with conviction. But being forced to do a poor job, is the exact opposite of the spectrum and stresses the fuck out of me.

Luckily, we had load-out afterward and I got my stress relief. I even got to loot the drummer’s tee shirt that has “Rock ‘n Roll Forever” on the back. Poof. Stress gone. True story.
It should also be noted that I didn’t yell at any of my colleagues. I think I’m making progress on that. Go me.

 

 

On my long list titled “ROYAL FUCK-UPS”, a new entry is now added, right below “BLEW THE SOUND AT A FESTIVAL” and “GET LOST IN THE ARDENNES WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD”.

One freaking smoke machine is all it took. All I needed to do was move it. I wanted to test if it would work if I placed it behind the set pieces and let the smoke rise from between them. I was responsible for the set, after all. For that, I needed to plug it in. I had the choice between finding a 20m extention cord, or finding a socket closer by, in the hallway behind the emergency exit- technically not allowed.

Easy choice, right? I found my socket at a small distributor in the hallway. Three of the sockets were marked with a battery symbol, so I plugged it into the fourth one. I pushed its button, but the smoke machine didn’t work. My colleague noted that I would have to wait for it to “heat up”. I should have realized right then, but I did not.

Two minutes later, it did work but the effect sucked. The smoke just kind of crawled out without the big cloud I was hoping for. Oh, well. Changed its angle and left it on stand-by.
I was painting when ten minutes later, two house technicians opened the door, following the cord. “Ahh, so here’s the hero who did this,” one chimed. I had no clue what he was talking about.

Apparently, this little power distributor was actually an emergency battery. For their telephone network. And I had burned its fuse with the power-hungry heating element inside the smoke machine, cutting the whole building off from the phone network, phones that were linked to cell phones and fax machines, used to take reservations. All dead. Whoopsy.

Coincidentally, the owner of the theater was present at the time, and he was livid. Apparently, I was “sabotaging his theater” and “should have asked” before making that kind of decision. I apologized half a dozen times, but try as I might (which I didn’t), I couldn’t feel any worse than I already did. The theater group offered to pay the reparation bill and I said I was willing to compensate, which luckily, they refused. This is a €2000 battery and really, I didn’t mean much of my offer.

So yeah: The house technicians pissed because they got yelled at. The theater owner pissed because his whole phone network was down (although they got it fixed quite soon). The group pissed because they would have to pay for it (luckily, only a fuse so not all that much). The director pissed because now, smoke machines were no longer allowed.

Congratulations Maarten, you twat.


Undefined

It rained today. A rare thing in Belgium: Warm rain. I was walking over the cobblestones of my beloved city when the drip started, and immediately it hit me: the scent of wet stone. The metallic smell of city dust mixed with water. It froze me in my tracks; Summer started that very moment.

Summer, my summer. I could write pages with poems of how I missed you- if it wouldn’t be such a gay thing to do. The flashback where I stood was a violent one, a whole year of events. Several people’s faces, most of them new. So much happened since last time, when I eagerly anticipated the new season, yet so little has changed.

So little outside my head, that is. Around this time last year, I was quite literally losing my mind. The main goal of my two-month journey around Europe (emotional liberation or some such) had failed and I was getting ready to find more drastic means to quiet the thunder in my head- thoughts I wouldn’t want anyone on this world to think. What was even more worrying, is that I should have been recovering, which for some reason did not work as it should. My expectations for the summer were high. This was to be my rebirth, the summer of my lifetime.

Today, my situation is more or less the same as where I started back then, and frankly even a long time before that. And oddly enough, my mindset could hardly be any more different. So what did change?
Events influencing my emotional state pretty much faded, but somehow their effect did not. I had a girlfriend, but I am not eating myself up (much) now that we’re “just friends”. I still live by myself, but the names of the travelers who visited in the past 12 months are now written all over my wall. It’s funny how I allow my home to reflect the inside of my mind.

Anyway. The difference between then and now is that people came and went, and changed my view on life. Not my theories about it, but the color of it. It’s one thing to know why we exist, it’s another thing to exist successfully. The first I learned a long time ago, the second, well… I’m still learning every day, and I tend to slip. I’m not sure what exactly got me out of that rock bottom situation but I’m grateful for it, and not looking forward to a summer without craving the change it might bring.

It’s a peaceful feeling, if nothing else. An ease of mind, and I could use some of that. We’ll see what it brings, besides some warmth which I missed with a deep passion.

 

 

And while we’re in a melancholic mood:
Ahh, Love. I couldn’t give you an inclusive definition of it to save my life. I can list you countless of properties though, from “heterogeneous” to “over rated”, but whatever you might think of it, in some case or other, the opposite will also be true.

These past few weeks I’ve been re-introduced to more aspects of love than I can count. Working among actors with a liking to gossip will do that for you, but then again working in a large group alone will do the trick. Considering how multi-faceted love really can be, you’ll pretty much find it everywhere, but it to what magnification, depends on the type of people you’re with. You can say a lot about this bunch of individuals, but one thing they all have in common is that they are emotional thinkers, rather than practical thinkers like myself- which, I assume, is why they are actors and I am technician. God, the sheer amount of drama, hugs and kisses is bad for my teeth. It’s a huge change from my usual job and I can’t say it’s not unwelcome; more than once I get laughed at for trying to start a conversation about anything not genital related.

What it does allow is a broad perspective on the emotions that are brought to mention, and since this is, at least in part, a love story we are portraying, “love” tends to be one of the many subjects of conversation. On top of that, we are all living, breathing beings and things evolve in these two months for us, for better or worse. There are more than a few of them I would like to offer some comforting word, but coming from the dry mohawk’ed sound technician, I think it would just sound very misplaced.
So: Hope for their recovery or continued happiness, and mind your own business until asked.

To the point. All this sap is rubbing off on me.
I can’t tell you what love is. I can only tell you what it’s not: It’s not an illusion. It’s not a dream. Just because it isn’t physically tangible doesn’t mean it’s not real. It manifests in our chemistry and resulting actions. Its effect is strong, frighteningly so. It’s there and the act of ignoring it is paradoxical, similar to trying to ignore your own thoughts. It’s deeply rooted in our nature, and I can tell you why.

There are indeed people who can’t love, and don’t need to. Thing is though, the chance of these people reproducing is limited, which has the evolutional effect that these people are “weeded out” of the gene pool aside from the occasional mutation.
Let’s put this in other words: You are alive today because your ancestors loved each other. That’s how deep it is within you: it is practically a necessity for you to exist. Your life is built on love, in a sense.
It seems absurd to try and ignore this. You might as well deny the existence of a limb and hop around on the other one.

If there is anyone who understands the individualistic tendency to throw the status quo overboard and think for yourself, it would be me. But you can’t run away from what’s in your nature, it just doesn’t work that way. Thinking that you can will leave you with a void of reason for your actions or the depressing conclusion that you fall in that very pit you’re trying to avoid, time and time again. Will it make you any happier?

I often wish for things to be more simple, for the possibility to enjoy life as it comes without this constant nagging feeling. Ironically though, the focus on that only worsens its effect so I quickly move on. And in all honesty, if the chance existed for me to rid myself of the capability of falling in love… Would I take it? I doubt it. I certainly had moments where I would, but I’m almost certain I would just regret it at a later stage. Or do you need to possess love to long for it? I think the act of trying to reason my way out of this might possibly be even more nonsensical than denying love’s existence, altogether. Time to walk away.


Notorious Lunatics

IF YOU THINK THEATER SETS BUILD THEMSELVES,
FUCKING THINK AGAIN.

There, I feel much better now.
In this month’s edition of “working for peanuts,” I am visiting an old acquaintance. Once again I will be playing sound technician for a theater production, this time combined with the shared end responsibility of the set. The previous technicians pretty much got worn out (hanging up furniture from a 8 meter scaffolding structure will do that to you) and another volunteer and myself are now put in charge. The up side is that we get to do things our way (fuck brushes, we’re using paint cans) but we have little to no experience at any of this so the build is a slow and tedious one.

A fashion designer and a stage builder: Heterogeneous groups of small numbers either work like a fucking bomb, or don’t at all. In this case we are blessed with the first and our little team has accomplished things even we weren’t expecting. We complete each other quite well; like I stated before: “She’s got the talent, and I have the faith.” Where as I just do as I’m told, she actively tries to contribute by bringing new ideas. When the both of us were appointed responsible, I pretty much thought I’d have to carry the organizational weight, but was soon enough proven dead wrong. In fact, she usually arranged things well before I even think of them.

During rehearsals I get to sit behind a laptop that is older than I am, charged with the task of both artificially keeping it alive and pressing the right button at the right time. Of course I don’t stop there: I insist on getting the volume -just- right and leave a dramatic pause of 0.75sec when my cue comes, to build just that “fuck yeah” amount of tension. I may work for nuts but that doesn’t make me a monkey.

Also for the first time, I am with the production from the very beginning of rehearsals. Usually I chime in somewhere near the end, learn my cues and do my thing, but this time I get to observe the creative process start to finish. Not that I remember much of it, as I spend my time stuffing my face and swapping unamusing comments with the other crew members, but it’s still an intriguing process to watch. I suppose it’s that gargoyle complex rearing its head again: I’m beginning to get the feeling I know the actors in a few ways not many others do, by simply watching them interact in both fictional and real situations.

Another effect of me joining in so early is the fact that I am noticed, in return. Some of these actors I’ve worked with plenty of times before but we never shared more than a few words; I was usually little more than a pair of eyes way up in the bleachers. That is now changing and I am surprised to experience these different characters from up close. So far it seems that I hadn’t been wrong about my assumptions about them, but obviously they are much more colorful when talking face to face. Each one has a vastly different background and it seems very rewarding to find out directly, rather than through observing from a distance.

This is the third time I am working together with the director of this play and while I couldn’t really care less about him, we now get along quite marvelously. I thought of him as little more than a snobbish… well, director, but it turns out we figuratively speak the same language and get shit done- something I appreciate more than anything in a person.
Of course, I could be biased because this guy praised me and my “skills” into heaven in front of everybody during the review meeting. I don’t blush easily but there were over 20 people there- I was damn close.

Despite all this… I get the feeling the atmosphere has soured considerably as the premiere approaches. I don’t want to get into details since it’s none of your fucking business, but suffice to say that the full pressure of the whole production has been dropped squarely on the shoulders of the director. He reached a critical decision today and in an “alea iacta est” kind of fashion rehearsals have recommenced.
I never really knew what producers were good for. At the very few plays that I’ve seen, they were called onstage and did their little bow at the end, and always my reaction was along the lines of “who the fuck are you?” It’s a strange face seeming very out of place.
Today, I realize that directors have the power to make or break a production. The actors act. The technicians do whatever technical thing they do. All the rest… is direction. They are the pivoting point of every critical decision, the glue keeping the parts together. And when put in a situation like the one we are in now, only the best will last. And thank Maynard, we have the best.

Still, we are all only human and things will be tight, to say the least. There is more pressure on him than I could handle and there is so very little we can do to support him. I’m stuck behind my little computer, observing as the situation wears on him. He didn’t sign up for this.
So what can I do? I try to be as reliable as I can, doing as he asks and trying to do it well. Not that that is such a big difference from my mentality before, but now my effort has turned into something I do for him, so he can keep us all together. It’s a small contribution, but it is one nonetheless.

These two months are turning into a real spiritual journey. I’m still not convinced if we’ll make it to the other side unscathed, but I sure as fuck know this: If things go tits-up, it sure as fuck won’t be from my lack of effort.