January 25, 2010


I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 9:39 am

Last night was road box spring cleaning day for Nick and I. We load out in exactly a week. We had put off doing an inventory of our first aid kits for almost two months, and finally on the last day it was practical to do so, we brought all the first aid boxes to the green room between shows and made a shopping list.

After that we threw out all the paperwork from last year that’s no longer useful (well I saved the calling script for the original, never-performed version of The Spy for my personal collection).

At some point before our time, there were two inflatable mattresses and pumps in the box. Last year one of them was no good, and didn’t have a working pump anyway, so we decided it was time to let it go. It had been kept rolled up in our valuables cabinet, which is a little cube-shaped cubby that can be separately padlocked to secure the actors’ valuables.

When the time came, we inspected the mattress to make sure it was the bad one, Nick encouraged me to get it the hell out of our lives, and I bent down and began trying to yank it out, while Nick went back to his ASM station to work on something else. The mattress was caught on something, and after much pulling and tugging, it began to unroll. What happened next was amazing.

The mattress unrolled and wrapped up in it, perfectly preserved like a long-forgotten buried treasure, was a giant unopened bottle of Ketel One vodka! I called out, “Nick! Nick! It’s treasure! Treasure!!”

I held up the bottle and he picked it up and cradled it in his arms and we both ran out to the upstage hallway to share our discovery with our deck crew, and to tell the rich history of this bottle of vodka.

The Leektini

Any understanding of this bottle’s origins begins with the leektini. When we were touring Henry V last year, we had a fresh leek in every performance, that had to be beaten over an actor’s head and then eaten. The leeks were purchased by our prop supervisor at any supermarket we could find in our travels, and lived in the fridge in the crew bus. Some people were particularly offended by the smell of the leek in our fridge. Having leeks in our lives every day for six months made them so pervasive in our consciousness that we began thinking strange things about leeks.

One of my favorite drinks is the appletini, and I’m not ashamed of it. The frequent sight of an appletini in my hand led the crew to speculate if one could make a leektini. We decided it would probably be absolutely disgusting, but it should be tried. There was also simultaneously a plan we had been discussing for a while to play a practical joke on the cast towards the end of the tour. We called it the “leeky bunk” — to leave one of the discarded leeks in somebody’s bunk so it would stink.

Eventually the two ideas combined, and instead of stinking up someone’s bunk, we decided that at one of the last venues, during the show some of the crew would sneak onto the cast bus, and make leektinis, which would be waiting for the actors when the show was over.

In order to accomplish this we needed copious amounts of vodka, among other things. When we were in Philly on a day off, we visited a liquor store, almost exclusively for the purpose of gathering supplies for the leektinis. One of the things we bought was the giant bottle of Ketel One. We then put it in the stage management road box until the appropriate time could be found to pull off our plan.

In the last week of the tour, one of the venues we visited was a high school. Realizing we had a giant bottle of vodka in our road box, in a high school, we wrapped it up in the inflatable mattress and put it in the valuables box where it would be cushioned and hidden until we found an appropriate place to use it. Things got complicated in the last couple cities, and the situation wasn’t conducive to pulling off the caper, and somehow we forgot about the bottle.

Until today, of course. Here Nick shows off our prize. I don’t know what we’re going to do with it, exactly, but I’m sure it will be mixed with something more appetizing than a leek!

Minneapolis Winds Down

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 2:39 am

Tomorrow is our last day off in Minneapolis. It’s the last “normal” day off we’re going to have for a long time, as in a day off in a city you know something about, where you have an apartment and something resembling a normal existence.

Nick and I are going in the grocery run, but we don’t need groceries. We need some personal items, and a long list of supplies for the road box. Tonight between shows we did inventory of our first aid kits. We have five of them (stage left, stage right, miscellaneous, “lady products”, and a basic kit that stays on the crew bus). So a lot of our shopping is for restocking the medical supplies.

I have some other loose ends to tie up myself. I’m shipping some stuff home that I don’t need anymore, as well as more Caribou Coffee that my parents and my aunt really liked when I sent them some for Christmas.

I also plan to do as much laundry as possible to take advantage of the free and accessible laundry here. A few nights ago I cleaned up the apartment a little to make it easier to pack, and moved my suitcase from the bottom of the bedroom closet to the couch in the living room, ready to receive items. I now have some clean clothes I know I won’t wear again that are piled next to it.

Looking Back

It’s hard to believe our time here is coming to an end. I remember very well when Nick and I arrived, before there was any snow on the ground, and our show was just a script, a model and some renderings. Now it’s on stage eight shows a week, and has already been seen by 10,669 people as of today. We’ve achieved the main task we had here — to go from nothing to a finished show, and now it’s time for us to move on and take it to other audiences.

It’s impossible to say what the next year will bring, but at this point it seems probable to me that I’ll be back in about 10 months, so while I’ll miss everybody here, I’m not leaving with the feeling that I’ll never be back again. There are people here who are some of my favorite collaborators in my career, and who I consider friends. But it’s also the nature of the business anywhere that we work usually with strangers, and form very strong bonds over a short period of time, and then we move on, and may or may not have the opportunity to cross paths again. It was great to return here this year to a number of people I already knew, and I hope this won’t be the last time.

Looking forward

Nick and I have been talking on Facebook with Bart. He’s on his way here, and will arrive on the 31st, which is the day we leave. I can’t wait to move into our rolling home. This tour has a lot of 1-nighters, so the bus will be even more of a home than it was last year.

Most of our crew (who we haven’t met) arrive on Tuesday and will be at work on Wednesday, learning the show for the first time. By Friday everyone will be in town, and we’ll have dinner as a group (probably Saturday) to get to know each other and discuss how we’re going to run things on the road.

I’ve been talking over email with our TD, Bobby (who I haven’t met yet), and our lighting supervisor, Devon (who was here for tech), forming a plan of attack for an upcoming venue with tricky dimensions. Discussing what pipe the first electric will be on in some theatre four cities from now has brought the reality that the tour is starting to my attention. It’s a really exciting time. Every time I walk past the theatre where I can see the parking lot by the loading dock, I look for our truck and buses, even though I know they won’t be showing up for close to a week. It doesn’t matter, every time I turn the corner I wish they were sitting there. It’s the beginning of the feeling I find so fascinating about touring — at once being sad to leave a place that’s been great, but burning with a desire to keep moving and seeing what’s next.