Friday, May 05, 2017

The Lighting homework that ate my day

BOY, is lighting design time-consuming!  First there are image searches, which take hours to yield a few useful images for "design inspiration."  Then you have to apply your ideas to actual lights.  One of our final projects is to create a lighting design for West Side Story and go into the light lab - essentially a tiny black-box "theater" with a slew of lights and accessories to experiment with - to apply that design to one of the songs from the show.  We're all paired off, chiefly for efficiency (e.g., one can stand in a focus point while the other focuses a light) and safety (that 20-foot ladder is definitely a 2-person lift).  My partner met me this morning for our 8-noon block in the light lab.  He left for class afterwards, but I stayed to keep working.  I finally left around 6 pm to go home for dinner, then went back for another hour and a half.  For those keeping score, I left for campus about 7:30 this morning, stayed till 6 pm (I did allow myself a lunch break) to have dinner with the Chief, then went back to finish up.  I got home to stay around 10 pm. 

Even subtracting a couple of hours for trouble-shooting, I spent nearly 10 hours writing cues for a song that's all of about 2:34 minutes long!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

More bad news

Just learned of someone's inoperable, stage-4 cancer diagnosis.  What IS it with this year?!?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy anniversary?

We started our anniversary (Happy Sweet 16, Chief!) with a trip to the 2nd surgeon.  The Chief had fun cracking wise with the nurses who took his vitals and his health history, and we finally got a date for his surgery, at a hospital 20 miles closer than where the first surgeon works.  The wonder woman at the front desk got all the Chief's pre-op testing scheduled back to back on a single day.  She also corrected the referral record, which was written for Radiology, for some inexplicable reason.

I had a noon acupuncture appointment and snoozed a bit on the table.  My juggling coaching got cancelled because my classmate had to cancel, which was fine with me.  As early as we got up to get to that 8 am doctor's appointment, I probably would have been dropping balls right, left, and center.

Shortly before we were going to leave for dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant, it started pouring like crazy, with nickel-sized hail into the bargain!  The Chief glanced outside and noticed someone huddled under a tree out front, so he urged him inside to wait out the storm.  He'd been playing soccer at the park down the street and was heading home when the heavens opened.  We ended up giving him a ride home once the hail stopped and the rain backed off to a more reasonable rate.  (He only lives 2 blocks away.)

Dinner was delicious - eggplant dip with plenty of garlic, and the Chief got what he always gets - lamb.  We even indulged in a dessert each instead of splitting one.  Decadent, but I expect to work it off tomorrow in the garden.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

And I'm in!

Got an email the other day telling me that I've been cast in this fall's Antigone - 2nd Attendant, Chorus, and Eurydice understudy.  The director said at auditions that she plans to incorporate a lot of movement - we have a choreographer - and maybe some music too.  I'm looking forward to it!  Too bad rehearsals don't start until the first week of classes, in August.

The director is the person who taught my Voice for the Actor class last semester, which I really enjoyed.  She often closed class with a 2- or 3-part song, different groups of us singing each part, all at the same time.  We all loved that; I hope she plans to build a little of that into Antigone.

I played Eurydice in a different translation of this play several years ago.  It'll be interesting to dig out my old script and compare it to this one once we get it, and to see how much this version will differ from that one.

This is why I would never make it as a designer

We're starting on our final Lighting Design project of the semester.  Tomorrow we're supposed to bring in our initial concept & research for West Side Story.  Sounds easy, yes?  Except that I have NO idea for a concept.  I researched 1950s NYC, fire escapes, spotlights (for the dance, when Tony & Maria see each other that first time).  All well & good, and all pretty predictable.  I suppose I'll come up with something eventually; I just hope that "eventually" happens in time for tomorrow morning's class.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Bad news can do that to you.

Sunday morning, just days after we got the Chief's diagnosis, a friend posted on Facebook that her husband had died suddenly during the night.  Needless to say, Sunday was a write-off.  Getting picked apart at that audition felt that much worse because of it, my continuing "juggle struggle" the same - it seems the tears are just plain closer to the surface while I digest all this bad news.  I haven't been sleeping as well, either, which makes me a bit crabby; poor Chief!

We'll get past it, of course - we've both survived worse - but oh, it's exhausting in the meantime.  Pray for our sanity as the Chief & I weather this latest storm.

Called back!

Well, that was a bit of a surprise.  After the way my auditions went for a couple of fall classes (alternate for 1, didn't get into the one I wrote about - no surprises), I had no hopes for Tuesday's audition for the fall season.  I wasn't too sanguine about how I did, partly because I tried to change a few things based on last week's feedback, partly because I was still a bit bummed to realize that I've been doing it all wrong all these years, and partly because I was exhausted after the recent spate of bad news.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I checked my email to find one telling me I was called back for Antigone!  They called back 45 people, which might be everyone who auditioned (shades of last semester's season auditions), but given that they've announced that they plan to cast 20, including the Greek chorus, I suppose that number makes sense.  I've already printed my "sides" (side = excerpt from the play), which I'll start looking at today or tomorrow.

Callbacks are Saturday morning, and finish up right around the time my partner & I have our slot the light lab to work on our latest lighting design project.  That means I'll be in the building from 10 till 5, unless we finish our project early (not likely!).  As I told the Chief as I was leaving for class this morning, guess I'll just pack for the day.

My nephew the Eagle Scout!

After years of work, one of my nephews just became the family's FIRST EAGLE SCOUT!!!  Yes, I'm shouting - that achievement represents YEARS of hard work, and we're all very proud of him.  I don't blame him for smiling that big - I would too, with an accomplishment like that under my belt.  (I wonder how much of it is relief that it's all finally finished. 😉)


Monday, April 03, 2017

Doctor, roofers, utilities, oh my...

What a day!  It started out w/ an 8 a.m. appointment with the Chief's urologist to discuss his diagnosis.  They caught it early, thank God!  Doc gave us a sheaf of paperwork with the clinical details and a lengthy list of links and citations for research and support groups.  Lots of "homework" to do before we meet with the surgeon in a couple of weeks.  I treated the Chief to coffee and scones afterward, then he dropped me off for class.

Got to my grad-student voice lesson to find she was fighting off a nasty migraine.  She soldiered through it; we just made do with natural light, and she leaned on the piano a lot.  Fortunately for her, the meds were kicking in by the time we finished.

We've got roofers overhead and in the yard, making noise and a big mess.  I'd forgotten (or blocked out) what a nuisance it is to get a new roof.  Every so often they drop something heavy, making a huge THUMP.  Makes it challenging to concentrate on homework.

And then there's the utility work.  The power company has our street blocked off while they replace a few utility poles.  There's nothing quite like pulling onto your one-way street (they moved a couple of cones to let us in) to see two enormous utility trucks on either side of the road, both facing the wrong way.  The power went out for about 10 minutes while they transferred the connection from the old pole to the new one.  Fortunately, the only clocks that need to be reset are those on the oven and microwave.

On the plus side, I got mostly positive feedback on my first lighting plot, my voice lesson went pretty well despite my teacher's migraine, and I was able to find a practice room beforehand so I could warm up before my lesson, which always makes for a better lesson.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Humbling but eye-opening

Yesterday afternoon I auditioned for Character Development, a performance class I'm interested in taking in the fall.  The instructor really picked apart how I did my monologue; basically, I wasn't living it, I was performing it.  I was having trouble embodying the changes she was suggesting, so no telling whether I'll get into the class.

I was pretty demoralized after that, but today, after sleeping on it, I've realized something important.  All those years in community theater may have done me a disservice.  As with all my years and years of choral experience, no one ever told me I was doing it wrong or tried to give me any advice, so I kept doing the same things, year after year.  Now I've got a coupla decades' worth of bad habits that I need to unlearn.  (This realization is SO apropos of my Alexander Technique class!)  Now that I know that it needs to happen, though, it can happen.  (Because of course I can't fix a problem I don't know about.)

If I don't get into the class, I have a few excellent training options in town.  If I do get into it, I can look forward to a semester of being taken apart and, hopefully, being put back together again but better.  If my voice lesson experience is any indication, it'll be excruciating at times and there will almost certainly be tears of frustration, but this professor has SO much to teach that it would be well worth it.