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December 13, 2011

The TAC Truck, Year 4

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:10 pm

The other day, I was out at Ikea with my parents, buying a $10 lamp for my desk, which is seriously the most blogworthy thing that’s happened to me in weeks (thus my silence), when I saw I had a voicemail.

Heeding the old adage of theatrefolk, I checked the message because it was a 212 number (the theory being that nobody has a landline, and if you’re receiving a 212 call from an unknown number, it could only possibly be the office of a producer or general manager who’s calling to offer you a job!) As it is a surprising number of times, it was indeed the office of a theatre company, although I was unexpectedly greeted by a voice I knew: it was The Acting Company.

I think I’ve mentioned — maybe — that I’m not doing this year’s tour, but they know I’m in town and available for other stuff. This particular situation has to do with the truck.

The set for Julius Caesar has just been finished at the shop, up in Glens Falls, NY (for the upstate-challenged, that’s “way past Albany”), and as always, it’s big, and may not fit in the truck, and it has to get to New 42nd Street Studios for rehearsal tomorrow afternoon.

So, having a reputation as She Who Makes Things Fit in the Truck, I have been asked to go to Glens Falls to supervise the load out and make it fit in the truck.

The trickiest part of this assignment is not having to devise an optimized truck pack on the fly for a set I’ve never seen. The trick is going to be doing that successfully at 7AM. The company is sending me to the shop at great expense, not because I’m needed to load the truck, but because supposedly there’s something in my brain that will allow the truck to be loaded better. So really the best preparation I can do for this assignment is to sleep and drink coffee.

I requested an early enough train to get to the hotel at a reasonable hour to have dinner and get a good amount of sleep.

I’m on the train now, which is somewhere between a 4- or 5-and-a-half-hour ride, I guess depending on how express the train is. I have six proposed versions of the truck pack drawn up by the production manager, from which to draw ideas. Once the sun set and there was nothing to watch out the window, I sat with them on my tray table and looked them all over again. I’m optimistic that I can do better than what’s on paper, which of course is drawn conservatively.

Thankfully I don’t have to participate in the unloading of the truck (a load-in or -out at New42 is high on my list of things for which there is not enough money in the world), but I want to make it as easy as possible on the other end, and I know that I have an opportunity to test out some ideas, or create new ones, that will give the show crew a head start in finding clever ways of loading the truck for the tour.

What the truck might look like, and what the people unloading it might look like if they weren’t illegally parked in Times Square.

I’m excited to see the truck again, and to get a peek at the new set, even if I probably won’t have any idea of what it looks like when it’s broken down for travel.