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Archive for the ‘Assistantship’ Category

“Tech Time” from Megan Turnquist

In Assistantship, Lighting, Lighting Design, Technical Direction, Uncategorized, Video Projections on July 16, 2018 at 7:23 AM

2018-07-07 22.00.23We’re back in tech again, this time for The Way the Mountain Moved. Today is our second “10 out of 12,” which means we spend hours in the dark, leaning over awkwardly low tech tables, staring at the stage. The highlight of the week may have been when I got a booster seat, and my butt stopped going numb. The joke “Lighting designers do it in the dark” has been made at least once, this time with promises to make t-shirts. Theatre people are an odd bunch, and I’m so grateful to have this job.

Tech is a strange, often intense process of working and re-working the beats of a play, sometimes spending hours on a single scene or transition. My job is to take any notes and pass them along to the rest of our lighting team, and thankfully, this process has been relatively smooth. I’m assisting a competent and self-sufficient designer, a welcome change. In fact, the entire collaborative team is full of incredible people. As a group, they’re constantly checking with one another, working to support each other’s design choices. They’ll ask about things like intentions, timing, and placements, all to build a cohesive world of the play. Their work is paying off—Mountain already looks and sounds great and we still have plenty of tech time.

Perhaps just as importantly, we have gold fish crackers, chocolate, and a room full of people who appreciate a good fart joke when sound cues go awry. What more can one ask for in tech?

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“On Being Authoritative” from Josephine Czarnecki

In Assistantship, Directing, Internship, Uncategorized on July 9, 2018 at 7:25 AM

12417976_10207147773847036_622534980095405991_nSomeone I’ve met in the company at OSF has started me thinking about what it means to be passive, aggressive, or authoritative in the theatre business. One of my greatest flaws, personally, is feeling like I deserve to take up space in the world– physically (standing close to the action), or verbally (speaking up when I have an idea… what if it’s dumb?). Maybe I should blame the patriarchy… but it’s still something I contend with, especially as a woman in society, especially as a woman fight choreographer, and also especially as an intern. I am always aware of trying to make sure I don’t consume too much space, which in my head is a Nice Thing To Do, but my friend has pointed out the detriment of this thinking: what if it’s true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease? (I hate metaphors). People who are nice are often looked over, people who are demanding oft have their demands met; it’s a certain level of power. I guess it’s all back to that Machiavellian concept of being feared versus loved– and what if Machiavelli is right, and the divas get the biggest roles despite, or worse, because of their attitudes?

People in the past have said to me “People take you seriously when you’re in charge?” or “How can you know anything about fighting, you’re so small” but my fear is whether a harsher attitude on my part would command respect, or just elicit distaste for a bossy bitch.

So my friend asked me “Do you think I should be more distant, or like, authoritative? Would I get bigger roles if I seemed like someone who would turn down small ones?” And I said “But even if that’s how the world really does work– do you want to be part of that? Do we want to further this culture where these attitudes are rewarded? Isn’t it worth trying to change that paradigm entirely?”

But is that even possible?

“a job where I got to read and write about plays” from Linnea Valdivia

In Administration, Archives, Assistantship, Literary, Producing, Program Management, Residency, Shakespeare, Shakespeare Dramaturgy Residency, Uncategorized on July 6, 2018 at 7:00 AM
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This is the lovely view I had the other day under the balcony of the outdoor Allen Elizabethan theatre at a Love’s Labors Lost. Even though there was no rain in the forecast, I opted for a sheltered seat to avoid the possibility of ruining my script that hasn’t left my side in two months. I was there to enjoy the show—the music composed by director Amanda Dehnert for the play is truly inspired—but also to double check the script and make sure that I caught all the cuts and tweaks made in the last few weeks of rehearsal. I came prepared with my script, a pencil and a tiny flashlight (I can usually make it through the first act without needing extra light, but it starts to get a little dark around the time act two starts)!

In addition to my work finishing up the script for LLL, this week has been full of reading and writing for me. In preparation for the Black Swan Lab (the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s new work development lab), I have had the great privilege of doing some script reading. On Tuesday this week, I went to Noble coffee—maybe my favorite place in all of Ashland—and read three plays in one sitting. I never would have guessed that I would have a job where I got to read and write about plays this early on in my career. (Take that, everyone-who-ever-asked-me-what-I-would-teach-with-my-English-degree!) I am very excited to meet our writers, feel inspired by their work and am so grateful to be working on this project!

“Opening” from Michael Scholar, Jr.

In Assistantship, Directing, Shakespeare, Uncategorized on July 2, 2018 at 7:40 AM

IMG_9819.jpegThis was my last week in Ashland.  I thought I would leave right after R&J’s opening as I had seen the other Lizzie shows in preview and I had a lot of work back home to get to.  But because of packing and cleaning I left a day later.  This meant I was able to go to the opening of Book of Will and attend the big party after Love’s Labour’s Lost opening.  I was so glad I stayed the extra time.  I was able to share in some experiences beyond my own production’s little circle.  The Book of Will opening was historic and emotional.  It was great to witness.  On the Sunday morning the five remaining Assistant Directors got together to brunch and talk as a group for the first time.  That too felt important, and I wished we had done it more often.  At the big party I was able to cut a rug and celebrate with most of my fellow FAIR cohort.  And what I realized over the last few days there is that OSF (for me) isn’t one big family, it’s a collection of several small families (or perhaps its several branches of a big family tree).  Either way it was important for me to connect with all the various folks before I left so that I could have a sense of closure (for now) and to raise a glass to all of our various accomplishments.  I do hope to work at OSF again (one day directing a production), but regardless of that, I’m just thrilled to have made my creative family tree bigger.

“Future” from Sarah Grulikowski

In Assistantship, Internship, Lighting, Lighting Design, Uncategorized on June 22, 2018 at 6:02 AM
IMG_3488Moving out of Midterms and back into my normal schedule makes me so appreciative for the free time in my schedule. Not starting laundry at midnight or staying up as late to do homework is quite the gift; I don’t even mind working outside in the rain (it’s actually rather beautiful).
This week Ashland, Oregon weather has really come to fruition. Days will be 50 in the morning, 80 mid-day, and then thunderstorms and pouring rain from the afternoon into the evening. When other family and friends from out of state as how the weather is, I like to describe it as the angsty teenager who hasn’t yet decided who they want to be yet, and that’s okay. Often I’ll find myself pausing briefly in my work to look up outside at the rain; being from Southern California, constant, or truly pouring rain is still a somewhat new experience for me. Furthermore, rain happening in a beautiful theater space, where I’m learning so often makes for quite the cathartic experience.
Also, our normal FAIR Forum time was moved, and I’ve been able to add some time to my technician hours. This is exciting for me, even if I’m only adding some three hours to my schedule. Previously during my FAIR experience I expressed a great internal desire to spend more time at OSF, so, being able to extend that time even by a little bit has made me even more excited for the time I get to spend as the Lighting Technology Intern. Moreover, I’ve also been able to extend my time at OSF, by invitation from my supervisor. Up until my supervisor asked about my potential desire to extend, I had been wrestling with determining the best time to ask about my future options, and was therefore incredibly flattered and excited to think that my supervisor has enjoyed my work enough to ask me to stay, should I want to.

 

Needless to say, I very much want to and am in process of determining the best time for me to return to repeat my experience and learn more. I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned from this session to my next internship and continue to strive to learn, grow and improve. My life feels as though things are coming together and working out, which is an awesome feeling I’m grateful to have. Until next time!  

“A Day at the (Haunted) Lake” from Grace Heller

In Administration, Assistantship, Company Management, Internship, Uncategorized on June 18, 2018 at 5:49 AM

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It is really, really hot in Ashland. Especially for a born and raised Seattlite who has never lived in a place where she can’t see water and where the temperature only regularly gets above 70 degrees 1.5 months out of the year. On Memorial Day I was feeling a little homesick landlocked, but that also happened to be the same day of the IATC BBQ at Lake Emigrant. A few FAIR folks and I decided to go, just for a little while to see what was going on.

When we got there I was shocked, but also so happy, because right next to Ashland is a beautiful lake. Actually it’s not that beautiful but I missed the sight of water so much that at that point it was pretty much the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Fun fact about Lake Emigrant that I learned: it’s a reservoir so it’s man made. Apparently when the area was flooded to create said reservoir it covered a tiny “town” called Klamath Junction which consisted of two services stations, a few houses, a dance hall and a cemetery. So not only is there a downed town underneath this lake, which already gives off a very haunted vibe, but there’s a cemetery. This lake is like double haunted with a 50% chance of lake zombies.

None of this stopped me from going swimming however; neither did the kind of gross water. It was hot out and I was at a lake with my friends; it felt like home. I felt sort of weird going swimming and wearing just a swimsuit at what was technically a “work event,” but then again nothing here at OSF is exactly like it is anywhere else. Also there was shaved ice and it was delicious.

“We have now had a real audience!” from Maggie Monhan

In Assistantship, Directing, Shakespeare, Uncategorized on June 15, 2018 at 5:54 AM

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We have now had a real audience! A generous and nearly full house greeted the actors with laughs, tears, and even hissing (apparently many of them have attended The Theatre in England?). I know that the actors needed the affirmation and energy of people who had not been sitting behind the table for the entire process. 
Having an audience always clarifies the true strengths and weaknesses of a production, and that conventional wisdom (to directors, anyway) applies to Love’s in particular. The story arc of the lords has responded very well to having an audience, which leads to even more joyful raucousness in their performances.

“Light Walkers” from Michael Scholar, Jr.

In Assistantship, Directing, Lighting, Lighting Design, Shakespeare, Uncategorized on June 11, 2018 at 6:04 AM

IMG_9618One duty the Assistant Directors have is to stay in the theatre with the Lighting Designer and work with “light walkers” until 2:30AM in the morning several times over the tech period after everyone else has gone home.  Its just a few folks behind the lighting boards on head set, me with my script, typing up notes from the previous dress rehearsal, and two surprisingly happy volunteers.  OSF seems to have a plethora of volunteers who are willing to do almost anything to help the festival out even super late at night.  Two chipper senior citizens come down to the Elizabethan Theatre at midnight to start their shift in heavy coats (as it gets cold in there at night) for the most thankless of jobs: standing or sitting on stage while the lights get adjusted.  The volunteers I was lucky enough to work with all had great attitudes about it and had fun amongst themselves despite me only really interacting with them to tell them where to stand.  I asked a gray haired waif to stand up on the balcony where Juliet will deliver her most famous of speeches the following evening, and placed bulldog of man down below by the heavens columns looking up as Romeo does.  They had so much fun playing the young lovers even for an audience of none, that I began to think there may be a concept production of this love story waiting to happen.

“Riotous and Freewheeling” from Maggie Monahan

In Assistantship, Directing, Shakespeare, Uncategorized on June 8, 2018 at 6:32 AM
V0vbH3qwQYyYaXzgckKfjA_thumb_14b6Now that our first block of tech is complete, I feel that I am becoming more of a resource for designers, actors, and especially the ASM, my rehearsal buddy, TaiReikca. Because I can speak to the artistic intention of different moments and to the blocking, I can serve as an additional point person when Amanda is occupied. Since she is co-composing and music directing the show in addition to directing it, her time and brainspace while in tech are precious commodities! After seeing the design elements in the first act be fleshed out onstage, I am looking forward to nuancing its scenes with more detailed scene work than we have been able to do thus far.
The entire process has been very process-based, and accordingly ideas have been explored and changed and discarded since we began rehearsal. Now that the shape of the first act is set, we can more confidently delve into the second act beyond the basics. I have been waiting to get to my favorite segment of the play – the escalation from the terrible Nine Worthies pageant, to the Princess learning of her father’s death, to the resolution of the love-war in a kind of non-resolution. For better or for worse, I am drawn artistically to these moments of darkness and ambiguity. The second act, in this cutting and particularly in this production, is an uncomfortable distortion of the glee and humor that populate the first act. The princesses, high on liberation from the responsibility and gendered conventions of wooing back in France, unintentionally grow cruel and insensitive. They break the lords’s vulnerable hearts in “mocking merriment”. Reality, grief, and the need to mature hit them all, regardless of age or status, like a brick wall. Our process for the first act was as riotous and freewheeling as the content, and I think that the process for second act will more closely mirror the deliberate sobriety of its content.

“At long last” from Maggie Monahan

In Assistantship, Directing, Shakespeare, Uncategorized on May 28, 2018 at 8:06 AM

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In the last week, the music for the end of the show was completed and has been distributed to the cast, band, designers, and technicians as needed. I have developed a fabulous accordion folder of all our music charts and a collection of rehearsal recordings of the band. The music in the show is quite good, and should receive a more professional recording than I am able to provide. I also think the show should transfer and subsequently replace the Friedman musical adaptation in the canon as it is more musically and stylistically complex. That said, I might be a tad biased.
We have staged the full show and have completed our second tech block! I think that teching the second act has clarified much of the storytelling and viewing the act with the design has allowed those in the audience to more fully understand what this production is doing and trying to say. One design assistant, who had previously confided in me that she “didn’t really get it”, told me that seeing the trajectory of the second act made her understand the story as a whole much better. We managed to tech through the first half of the final song. Once we are able to complete the final minute of the show with tech, I will be able to release the emotion that builds up in the scene before (several actors and I cried during staging). Get ready for tears (and ~rain~) to fall, y’all!
 
The sky clears after rain
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