February 2, 2010

Tour Stop: Moorhead, MN / Fargo, ND

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:04 pm

We have completed our first tour stop since leaving the Guthrie. We performed Romeo and Juliet at Minnesota State University Moorhead — home of the Dragons, which Nick and I thought was so awesome that we each spent $20 on a cool “Dragons” baseball cap, as well as our customary sticker for the road box.

The crew here was really great, and worked their butts off to get the show ready on time, on a very tight schedule. We had originally been scheduled to play tonight instead of last night, but the venue had to move it up a day, losing us of a day of prep time to work out the kinks of our first load-in (remember, most of our crew was not present for load-in at the Guthrie, during tech, or most of the run, so we were doing it for the first time).

The balcony stairs were assembled just a few minutes before the cast arrived, the cast was constrained to the house and the apron for their warm-up, and we did fight call with a Genie lift and about four electricians hanging set mounts inside the door of the “house” on our set. They were placing floor-mounted pars in the wings while the house was open, and Nick was following them around with white gaff tape, marking all the lights and cable for the cast. Because the balcony was finished so late, we didn’t have time to install the decorative lightbulbs that go on the stairs, and figure into the setting of the story at the time of the dawn of electricity. There are three specific moments in the show that reference the lightbulbs, and I called Corey (our staff director) when it became apparent that we definitely wouldn’t have time. Their absence was covered very well, and nobody would have known something was missing.

There wasn’t any time to double-check things the way we normally would, so there were some surprises. A few programming differences popped up in the transition between the Guthrie’s light and sound consoles/computers to our own, and my comm went haywire twice early in the show, before we tracked down the bad cable. We were minutes without comm, but the proximity of the booth and front of house positions, and where in the show it happened, were in our favor, and we didn’t miss any cues.

We loaded out this morning instead of last night, which is rather unusual. That also took an abnormally long time, partly because we had a student crew who had to work around their classes, and partially because we’re working on our truck pack, and were moving slowly to make sure we were making the best choices. We still have room for improvement, but we did a good job, I think. The truck is definitely full, although we have quite a few excess road boxes that are going away when we return to New York.

My job for load out officially was to stand around with a notepad and document the truck pack. In addition to this, I did some labor myself. The highlight of the doing-things-that-aren’t-my-job day was getting to run the hydraulic lift that brings things from ground level up to truck level. The vast majority of the time, I was on the truck, but I did get to run the lift once up and down, just because I wanted to. My proudest moment of the day came when I was successfully the Person Who Can Cram Into a Small Space. We were storing our stair pieces overhead and needed to strap them around the load bars, but had already packed the balcony and stair landing underneath them before we decided to do that. Nick was looking hopelessly at the spot on the wall of the truck where we needed to attach the strap, but I felt I might able to climb up and reach it. I don’t always feel very small or very light, but in this case I was small and light enough.

We have checked out of our hotel in Fargo, and are hanging out on the bus until 2AM when Bart will wake up and drive us to Grand Rapids, MN for our next show tomorrow night. Some people are napping, some playing/working on the computer, and some chatting in the front lounge. I think there are plans for dinner, which would be our first dinner as a crew. Right now I’m going to get out of my bunk and snack on some Goldfish and/or jerky until dinner time.