I guess I should start by saying that I'm in the Touchstone offices writing this blog post while the first run of The Tempest is going on. The reason I'm not watcching it is because the house is packed with audience members! And that's pretty exciting. I'll get feedback on the show later tonight, and I'll probably get to see it tomorrow.
This production has been a race for all involved. First and foremost, the actors: three actors playing the ten characters from The Tempest in a quite physical rendition of Shakespeare's play. I was slightly skeptical at first, because it's an abbridged version of Shakespeare, and I think one must always be a little bit weary of Shakespeare "adaptations". But the show really is good, and I'm not saying that only because I participated in making it happen. I saw the dress rehearsal, and I was drawn to the playful quality of the character changes, and the physical rendition of comedy.
It's strange how, once something finally happens, it doesn't really matter anymore how you got to that point. All that matters is that it's all good in the end. These last few weeks were a lot of work, but the memory of how hard we worked is already starting to fade in front of what has been accomplished. That's probably theatre's redeeming factor, and the reason practitionners continue on working their butts off: there's magic there, I'm sure of it.
Zach and I worked on set and costume, and on anything that needed to be done, and that no one else had time to do (mainly, paint, paint, paint). I think this show definitely has gotten us involved in the midst of the company, and we are now seasonned apprentices. I feel like I know the nooks and crannies of this place after having searched - in vain - for black spray paint, which I finally went and purchased at the hardware store. I also searched for fabric, trims, thread and costume pieces in the costume store. I also had a fit of frustration in front of a sewing machine, since I had no way of figuring out how to put the bobin in so that the damn thing would work ( I now know: you don't try to insert the bottom thread in the hole, it does it on its own once activated...!)
I then reconciled myself with sewing by finally figuring out how to use the damn machine, and sewing a belt for one of the costumes (it was a team effort: Lisa, the producing director came up with the design, and I came up with the stitches). I made countless stitches for multiple puppets serving as the spirit Ariel. I also filled condoms with beans to make bean bags that were then attached to light-weight fabric, in order for the fabric to fly from one end of the stage to the other when thrown by the actors. Creativity can be umpredictable!
I think Zach knows the nooks and crannies of the closest fabric store (Joann's) since we went to buy muslin there once, which didn't turn out to be good for the set, so he went back to get burlap, and I think he had already gone once to find samples.
We're learning, so we often have taken longer roads to the solutions, but, in the end, it all worked out, as it most often does. I'm exhausted, but happy (the happiness only kicked in today. Yesterday, I definitely had a different attitude about all things theatre-related).
On a totally different note, I went to New York last week-end, and it was pretty great to be in a city, I have to say. I realised at every step that I'm an urban girl at heart. And as I was sitting in the subway and on the bus, I almost felt like public transport really was my true home. I got to see two good Trinity College friends, and as we went to a bar in the middle of the afternoon, I realised some things never change: we were back in Dublin pubs, only this was Brooklyn, on a halloween day, and kids were coming into the bar, trick or treating. The bar tender offered a kid a shot, but he politely declined.
It's cliché to say this, but I really do feel a connection with New York. I may never live there, and if I don't, it won't be the end of the world. But if I ever do, I think I'd enjoy it.
Here are a few pictures:
In Manhattan, China town, on a sunday afternoon/early evening...
Tai-chi lessons in a neighborhood park
Card playing and sports