Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Three Elements: The Preparation

The hall opened at 11 to start setting up. I wasn't totally clear on what was going to be happening then, but I figured if anyone was going to be there- it was only polite to be there as well since it was for my project. I dropped my satchel and extra clothes off first and then tromped back to Guildhall to get my bass. Have you heard how hot it has been here this week? Dragging my bass (in a black case) from the Barbican to Bishopsgate was sweaty work.

The other performer couldn't get to Bishopsgate until 6pm for his sound check so I had the enviable position of having ALL DAY LONG to set up, try things out, do my sound check in chunks, and just generally really acclimate myself to the environment and area.

I had the stage tech guy (who I think was named Clive...but I don't remember exactly) moving things around to my satisfaction- putting up conference barriers and my big screen and moving the speakers, piano, and chairs around. He was incredibly nice and helpful and I gave him a big bag of chocolate covered espresso beans at the end of the night. Lovely man.

None of my performers could get there until one so I went ahead and worked on setting up the lighting for the bass ballet piece first with the lighting/sound guy- Dave. The piece is a very long piece- not durationally but, um, positionally? It takes a big room, but all on one plane if that makes any sense... Anyhow- I'm on the floor for quite a lot of that piece and was wearing shorts and a tank top because of the heat. At one point I slide myself and the bass across the floor- but was struggling quite a lot with that in the sound check because I was sticking to the floor. Ew. Fortunately for the performance I was A: quite a lot cooler and B: wearing quite a lot more clothing. So it went off without a hitch then. We put gaffer tape I on the floor so I had some spots to eye in the performance so that I didn't end up too far away from the spot lights.

Meredith showed up around 1 and we worked on the stage fright piece at that point. I was still not 100% sold on the nudity of that piece. I was about 95% there, but I wanted to run it again with a small audience in the space in order to make my final decision. So we got Lucy, the project manager for the department, and the two women who do the scheduling for the venue to watch the piece. Meredith had been doing such a good job of just owning the piece. She's amazing to watch. And they all agreed- we needed the nudity to fully make the point. (We tried it nude first, and then ran the opening again clothed)

Then at around half 3, the final version of the graphic score, our artist, and two thirds of the improvising team showed up. Okay, so it was cutting it close to have them rehearsing the final version ON THE DAY, but you know what? That was what we had to do. Two days before the show I had spent 5 hours straight in the computer lab with Paddy mixing the final version of the inner monologue and the day before the show I had spent 3 hours with Becca working on the final structure of the film. But it all came together. Oh! And the day before the show was also the first time we managed to get time with our acting director/coach guy Brodie who was so helpful in terms of figuring out entrances and exits and transitions between the movements.

So it all came together. I spent the hour before the show literally bouncing around. (I talked to Clive afterwards saying that it had only been the hour before that I was bouncing and he looked at me like I was crazy and said something along the lines of " I thought bouncy was your natural state" so the "hour before" claim may be wishful thinking on my part) The first half of the show I tried to stay in and listen but the bounciness was taking over. I meditated for a while sitting down, then I left the hall and paced, and finally I found a somewhat secluded area and just turned for a while. Then I washed my feet. Then I went to the bathroom about 15 times, just because I could. Then I washed my feet again. And bounced a little more.

Then it was showtime.

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