December 21, 2011

Truck Excursion Follow-up

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:33 pm

As I blogged, last week I was sent on a 2-day trip to upstate New York on a little truck-packing project for The Acting Company.

I was going to visit Adirondack Studios, where the set for the new tour of Julius Caesar had just been completed, to supervise the loading of the set into the company’s 53-foot trailer, in combination with the road boxes and part of the set for The Comedy of Errors that was already in there.

The staff at Adirondack was really friendly and helpful, and perhaps most notably, fed me incredibly well, from dinner at a local brew pub the night I arrived, to coffee on the way to my 7AM call, to a delicious lunch during our break from loading the truck. Our account manager and his wife were Acting Company alums from the ’70s and ’80s, so I got to hear lots of stories from the early days on the road, and share my tales of how much things have changed (or haven’t changed!) since then.

Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was the train station in nearby Fort George, where I stepped down off the train at night, literally the only person getting off the train, onto a completely empty platform. It was so awesome. I also got to wait a while for the train on the way home. It was a little busier, because there’s a gift shop/coffee shop in the old train station that got a little bit of traffic, but I got this cool shot down the tracks.

I won’t lie, it’s a cell phone photo, but click the image for a wallpaper-sized (1920×1080*) version. I generally hate wallpaper images that aren’t pixel-perfect, but I have to commend the iPhone 4 for failing in a direction that sort of makes it look like a painting rather than a blotch of pixels (especially the trees).

*I generally think 1920×1080 is the devil’s resolution, but the aspect ratio worked much better for this photo.

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.

March 13, 2011

Maryville, TN

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 7:41 pm

At our last load-out, in Maryville, TN, some shenanigans were going on while I was on the truck. I only found out later because I was shown the photo evidence.

I had noticed during the out that Jackee had organized all our road boxes in the dock area, in the order in which they would be needed on the truck, and they were very neatly arranged back-to-back.

Somehow Meaghan wound up on top of the boxes. As I was shown the photos on the bus after we departed, I conducted a brief and largely uninteresting interview to get the story behind this.

“I just wanted to climb up there,” Meaghan said. As it’s a long way up, I wanted to know what she had used to get up there. “A chair, and Jackee’s hand,” she explained.

So. That’s the story. As it turns out, Maryville was our fastest load-out ever, at 90 minutes. Which explains a lot about how this picture came about.

February 4, 2011

Truck Pack Victory

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 7:25 pm

Here’s what our first truck pack looked like:

Our next one was slightly more efficient, but ended up basically looking the same, as far as everything being piled up right to the doors.

So yesterday, Daniel had a plan. He’s made me truck boss for this tour, and in the morning started talking to me about his ideas for the pack. My brain was still frozen from Brainerd, so I made him draw me a picture of the floor pack, which resulted in this piece of abstract art:

So last night, having not even been present for the load-out from the Guthrie, and having been a pusher/loader for the load-out from Brainerd who spent very little time actually in the truck, I had to make this pack happen.

We were at an IATSE house, and I was given four dedicated truck loaders, who were of the opinion that our 150-lb sections of flooring were nothing to worry about. This is a fantastic thing, but having such an efficient crew made the fact that this was a brand-new pack, and I didn’t even really know the old pack, much more stressful. It was just me and the loaders on the truck, with Meaghan sometimes acting as a runner between the truck and the theatre, and Sara (our new prop supervisor, who also functions as ATD) on radio with me, keeping me informed of what scenery and props were available for the pushers to bring out.

I’m sure we all were on high alert trying not to slow down or demoralize our crack crew with the fact that yes, we have a plan, but basically, we’re pulling this truck pack out of our ass. Actually it went very well. Here Daniel inspects the final result. Look at all that room!

I forget what exactly our time was, but it was somewhere between two-and-a-half and three hours. Which is half the time it took us at the last venue! And I should mention, there were two ramps involved. Had we had a loading dock, I can’t even imagine how fast it could have been, though with dedicated loaders and pushers, we spent very little time on the truck waiting for scenery anyway.

It was a very successful night, and I’m kinda-sorta looking forward to the next one, though we will be hard-pressed to find another crew so willing and capable of doing all the heavy lifting for us.

February 2, 2011

We Will Never Be Warm Again

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:48 pm

Jackie (wardrobe supervisor) regards the truck pack at the start of load-in

The mantra of our day in Brainerd, MN: “We will never be warm again.” Meaghan coined this phrase sometime fairly early in the day, I think.

Long story short, we worked an 18-hour day, about 7 of those hours were spent outdoors loading or unloading the truck, and the rest were spent in a theatre that wasn’t very far removed from the loading door and aside from the dressing rooms, never reached what one would normally think of as an indoor temperature. I’m not sure what the temperature was throughout the day, but when load-out ended it was -30 with the wind chill. After nearly 5 hours of loading the truck, we should have been dead if that was the case, so I think the walls of the building, and the truck, shielded us from some of that, but still. It was well below zero all day.

And what I learned today, because we were short-handed and the show crew had to fully participate in all the loading and unloading, is that the Comedy set is ridiculously heavy. The deck, which is in theoretically 32 pieces (although we only used 24 here), is several layers of plywood and each piece weighs so much that every piece is individually demoralizing. The truck is packed too full with the R&J set to allow all the flooring to be on carts. We have one very high-quality plywood cart, but all the loads except the last one have to be unloaded once they’re in the truck.

There’s no dock, of course, so we had to use the ramp. Oh, and when we arrived the ramp was covered in snow from riding under the truck, which we had to continually try to clear with a broom to keep our stuff from skating down in freefall and killing everyone. Also, if you grabbed onto a several-hundred pound thing and held onto it tight, it would simply pull your entire body along with it as your feet slid on the snow on the ground. But with enough people doing this, I guess we at least created enough resistance to have control of most things. Purposely grinding the castors into the side of the ramp to create friction also helps a lot.

The first load of flooring we took down had probably 10 people holding onto it, and one brave gentleman tried to get in front of it on the ramp. We got about halfway down when gravity really started to take over and the cart started accelerating beyond our ability to slow it down. I started yelling at the guy to get out of the way, because other than him nobody was going to get hurt if we lost control of it, and the scenery would probably survive too because the base of the ramp was covered in several inches of snow which would stop the cart before it slammed into the wall of the building. We managed not to run him over, in fact nobody got hurt at all except our TD, which was minor and not snow-related, and mainly resulted in him doing the entire day in a pair of pants that became more and more comically ripped as the day went on. Later on, I was stupid and was working in the truck alone, and became trapped for about 5 minutes when the load I was strapping shifted and an 8-foot strip light wanted to tumble down. I had to keep hands on it, but was otherwise fairly secure that the rest of the load would fall the other way if it went, so I waited to be rescued while nobody felt the need to come out to the truck or take a smoke break, or come anywhere near the open loading door for an unusually long time.

Anyway, it was a painful, miserable time on and around the truck, and we all had to take frequent breaks to come inside, where it wasn’t much warmer, since the loading doors were open. To get warm at all you had to spend some time in the dressing room. Towards the end of the night one of the locals gave us a tip: not only go to the dressing room, but turn on the mirror lights and warm your hands by them. Here Meaghan demonstrates the technique:

Note Meaghan’s nice new truck-loading jacket. She says it’s very warm. I’m a little jealous. I don’t have a truck-loading jacket for this kind of weather. When I saw we didn’t have enough crew I just dug out my windbreaker to put it over my sweatshirt, and I was wearing a T-shirt under my turtleneck because I knew it would be cold for load-out. But I’m not, you know, supposed to actually be loading the truck, just pushing and strapping things into place. Actually I’m supposed to be sitting in the bus watching TV while everyone else works, but I’ve never done that.

We finally finished just before 2AM (the show being so short, came down around 9PM), and limped to the bus on our frozen feet. I brought my remaining half-bottle of Ketel One from our stay in Minneapolis onto the bus, planning to pour one out in memory of the unopened $40 bottle that was destroyed in a tragic slide-retracting accident on the bus just before our departure from Brainerd last year. That was easily the saddest day of the tour last year (for me at least), and I hoped to make it right by successfully sharing my vodka with the crew at the end of the day. Little did I know we would need it so badly! So this time I smartly kept it in the cabinet until we were on the bus, and we toasted to our survival.

Our departure was also filled with uncertainty, as we were driving right into a bad snowstorm on our way to Madison, WI. During the show ideas were being tossed around about us staying another night in Brainerd, since we had a day off and the hotel had the rooms. But we left it up to Bart (our driver) and he felt better about pushing on ahead of the storm and stopping mid-way if we needed to. We made it to Madison a few hours later than we should have (it took 8 hours instead of the projected 6), but sometimes after a day like that I prefer arriving late because it means we can sleep longer! I was very grateful when my alarm went off and I cracked an eye open to check my GPS and saw we were nowhere near Madison, and rolled back over. I had slipped a doom-and-gloom note into the report last night about how we were uncertain whether the crew would make it on time, or what would happen to the cast the next day, but we got in almost on time, and the cast arrived early this evening with no problems.

I wasn’t too worried about the drive because Bart can make a bus do pretty much whatever he wants, and several of us commented that if we died in the night, at least we wouldn’t have to unload the truck. I don’t know about them, but I really meant it. Most of us didn’t sleep particularly well because our bodies never really warmed up, no matter how high we had the heat cranked on the bus, or how many layers and blankets we had. We’re all sore in crazy places and our bodies are generally out-of-whack. I didn’t get to do much on the day off because I felt like crap and had to sleep it off for most of the day. I still don’t feel recovered enough to do it all over again in the morning.

The Show

The misery of getting the show in and out pretty much overshadowed the part where the actors and the audience show up, but it was a good show and our cast handled their first new venue with Comedy very well. It was very different from the setup at the Guthrie and the moment they arrived they were proactive in working amongst themselves to plan out how they would do things. They definitely have the right attitude for this kind of touring, where being able to adapt an existing performance to a variety of conditions, without rehearsal, without getting freaked out is a must.

I called the show from backstage, which was a lot of fun. I was in front of the masking, so I had a good view even without a camera, and it was cool to be backstage and see what else goes on that you can’t see from the front. R&J from backstage doesn’t reveal that much more, but Comedy is all about layers and concealing things, so seeing it from the wings was fun. I was also in the corner where a lot of our live offstage sound (which consists largely of banging loudly on pots and pans) is performed, so I was ducking and covering a lot, but it was cool to see the actors as they watch the onstage action. We also did our first show without a front curtain, and the alternate cues worked perfectly and as expected. I appreciated that towards the end of our tech at the Guthrie, we took about 15 minutes to tech the alternate version (without actors), but until you try it for real, you never know!

Other than the weather conditions, and our set being constructed from plywood, steel and pure evil, it would have been a good day. The folks in Brainerd were very nice again, and provided us with a great breakfast (best bacon ever, we all agreed), and ordered some pizza for lunch, since there’s no food we could walk to. For our first load-in of Comedy, even with the extended time it took to unload the truck, we weren’t rushing to prepare for the cast’s arrival, which is a great sign. And it was the first time our crew could run the show (they’re not allowed to at the Guthrie, so they have to jump in at the first tour stop, having only trailed their Guthrie counterparts), and they all did a great job.

March 22, 2010

Loading Out

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 2:51 pm

Today we played our last performance in West Palm Beach. We went up 25 minutes late because a school of 200 (out of 300 seats) was late, but they ended up being a really great audience — very much like what the “groundlings” of Shakespeare’s time are assumed to have been like: rowdy, fans of the bawdy humor, talking back to the stage at times, but completely engrossed in the story. It was a great way to end our run here. It’s a shame we were so late, as it would have been fun to have a talkback with that group.

After the show we began our load-out, which took a little longer than it otherwise would have with such a good crew, because of how tight the stage is, but we could hardly complain on the truck crew because the rain had stopped and the dock was equipped with a couple benches and the most beautiful weather one could ever want while being forced to be outside doing nothing.

Emotional Bus Rollercoaster

Pioneer Coach has been toying with our emotions this past week. On our drive to West Palm we found out that our current bus, which we love about as much as one could love a bus, will not be back with us on the next leg. Despite the initial rumor that it was going on the Jay-Z tour, the current story is that it’s going to some boy band none of us are pre-teeny enough to have heard of. We also haven’t been sure if we’re keeping our driver, Jim. Jim and the bus are not a permanent pair, but when the tour goes on hiatus, there is always a chance that driver or bus could be sent out on a different tour.

Anyway, that has been something of a black cloud hanging over our stay here, knowing that it’s our last week with the bus, and presumably our next bus will not be as cool, or else the boy band wouldn’t be taking ours, right? See the thing is, Pioneer is really nice to The Acting Company, and generally will give us nice buses if they can (especially for the crew, as we really live on the bus), but if somebody with deeper pockets really wants the bus, any time the bus goes home we are at risk of losing it. So it was really no surprise to hear that when we go on vacation we’re losing the bus that’s really better than we deserve.

Today when the show ended — I swear to God, this is how it went:

ME: Electrics 135 and the house lights… Go.

(Booth door bursts open)

DEVON: We’re keeping Jim, and we’re getting a brand new bus!

ME: What? You’re bullshitting me.


ME: Seriously.

DEVON: Bobby just heard it from Jim.

ME: Then Bobby’s bullshitting you.

DEVON: I don’t think so.

ME: I refuse to let myself get excited until I hear it from another source.

Well out on the dock, Jim was hanging out waiting for us to load out, and while we were waiting to load the truck, he confirmed that it was true. The bus is a 2009 model with a slide. I asked what color it is, and he said brown. We later went on the Pioneer site on my iPhone and looked up the pictures and specs of the brown 2009 bus, and found that the interior layout looked very much like ours. The color scheme wasn’t as cozy as ours, but we were very happy. We flipped through the pictures of a couple of the other new buses, including one Devon really liked that had a granite floor in the front lounge.

Then a while later Devon came back to the truck and mentioned the bus number — 9616. I said, “Wait a minute, 9616 isn’t the brown one — that’s the red one with the granite floor!” Well apparently that’s the number, so once again I’m not letting myself get too excited (there’s still two weeks for them to change their minds), but if true, that’s the absolute newest bus. Some pics:

This view looks almost identical to our current bus, except that it doesn’t look like the couch has fold-down armrests (with cupholders), which is a shame. You can never have too many cupholders.

Fancy sink in the kitchen! Our current kitchen is more practical.

Fancy floor! Devon also has learned a little something about the bunks on these newer buses, which you can kind of see in this photo: they apparently curve out at the upper-body end, so you have more room by your head/arms and it narrows by your feet. We’re not sure what we think of this idea, but I’m excited to try it.

Anyway, we’re spending one more night in the hotel in West Palm (Per Diem Vortex: activate!) and then tomorrow evening we’ll be doing a 13-hour drive straight to Chattanooga. It’s been great to be able to settle into a hotel for more than two days, but tonight I packed up (not that I really unpacked anything more than I usually do). In the time between when we check out and when we leave, I may go for a walk around to see the parts of town (like the beach) that I never got to, just to say I’ve seen more than the theatre and the City Place shopping area. There’s a commuter train that goes right past our hotel that goes to cities all along the coast for dirt cheap — I thought about taking a ride just to see some more of Florida, but not sure I’ll have time or energy. Anyway it’s been fun being here, but now it’s time to move on and get even closer to our vacation!

February 16, 2010

On the Bright Side, I Didn’t Die Last Night

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 4:48 pm

OK I’m going to follow up the death of Sadie with a funny story from last night.

We were loading out from Morgantown, WV. Our truck was at the dock, and next to it was parked a little box truck with some sound equipment in it. I’m not sure if it was gear rented by the venue for our show, or a totally unrelated show also going on at the school. Anyway, the point is it was not our stuff.

Shortly after they began loading this other truck, Olivia came back to our truck with some snacks — these things that were kind of like pigs in blankets, but with slices of sausage instead of hotdogs. While we were waiting for the next load to come from the theatre, we began eating.

I had taken one bite, when around the corner comes a giant speaker on a cart. Now to summarize in brief what our duties are on the truck crew, Olivia is the truck boss and calls the items onto the truck. I direct the items to the proper place and orientation according to our truck pack, which ensures that everything will fit. If something comes onto the truck that’s not what I’m expecting, or with different dimensions than usual, it’s potentially a big problem. Not being used to loading the truck alongside another one that didn’t belong to us, I was so startled to see this huge thing I’d never seen before that I inhaled a piece of sausage! After much coughing, and a trip to the hospitality table for water, I recovered.

Everyone was very glad that I didn’t choke on the sausage, because that would have been a really stupid reason to die.

February 4, 2010

Tour Week 1

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 5:47 pm

We are now halfway through Week 1 of our actual touring schedule. Apparently, unless my dashboard widget is lying to me, it’s Thursday. Before I looked at it, I thought it was Saturday, but felt that was probably just my imagination and it’s really Friday. But no, I guess it’s Thursday.

Our last venue was in Grand Rapids, MN. The venue was in a high school, but gets a lot of touring shows. It was a very nice, intimate theatre with a semi-thrust stage. Unfortunately our show is designed for a proscenium, so due to the lighting needs, the first electric has to be over the edge of our marley deck, so we couldn’t use the apron as a playing space.

We’re in Appleton, Wisconsin. Last night during load-out in Grand Rapids, MN, a bunch of us were sitting in the green room finishing up paperwork, and I pulled up my venue database, which has many features, including that it automatically pulls up the Wikipedia page of the city in question. We learned many things about Appleton. Apparently in the late 1800s it was kind of a big deal — it had a large paper industry, which spurred development of electricity far ahead of most cities. We also found this interesting because our show takes place in 1912, and has a little throughline about how excited the Capulets are to have electric lights at their party. As I said to the assembled crew in the greenroom, “Appleton’s gaslit streets were replaced with electric lights in the year…” and everyone said, “1912!”

In addition to having been a pretty big deal back in the day, Appleton also has a very new, very fancy theatre, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The theatre seats almost 2,000 and has three balconies, in a horseshoe configuration.

We’ve had some young and eager student crews (I have no idea what has happened to the poor high school kids we kept up till 3AM last night, but their parents must be pissed at us!), but today we have an honest-to-goodness IATSE crew. Sometimes that can be a mixed blessing, because a non-union crew can be used more flexibly, and we can pitch in to do more of the work ourselves if necessary. But at one point today a few of us were standing around watching a group of about six or seven stagehand-looking stagehands (men and women) putting up the walls and platforms of the set, and we remarked to each other how exciting it was to have an IATSE crew. It’s really a completely different energy.

Here’s a picture of our set facing out towards the house.

Last night at some point late in the day, our lighting director, Devon, mentioned that to speed things along, he would like me to call focus. Now, I am well aware that in the “real world” of touring, one of the stage managers generally does so. I have hung out with friends doing focus on the Phantom tour, but I am a bit embarrassed to confess I’d never had to do it myself. So when I was asked, I was rather excited because it’s something I need to get experience doing, so that I don’t make an ass of myself when Broadway calls, now that I supposedly have “touring experience.” Then I realized where we were going today, and I was kind of mortified. I told Devon, “You couldn’t have asked me to call focus with the high school kids? I would have been perfectly confident to do it with a high school or college crew. But I have to do it for the first time with an IATSE crew?”

It actually went really well. We only had one or two guys focusing at once, which was a relatively easy way to get into it. I also had no familiarity with the lighting channels used in our show and what they do, and now that I’ve seen it once, the order in which one would want to focus makes logical sense. We aren’t completely done at this point — we had to skip the lights that need to be focused on the balcony, because it’s not assembled yet.

For once, we don’t have a show tonight — but we do have a 9:30AM show in the morning, so all our work has to be done. It’s good that we have some flexibility because we got here late. The driving time between our load-out last night and this morning’s supposed 8AM load-in was far longer than the time we had. Once load-in is done we will get to check into our hotel and have a shower for the first time in a few days. Then we’ll do the early show and have the rest of the day to spend in Appleton.

For additional reading, I suggest the following of Nick’s blog posts. He has already said pretty much exactly what I would say if I went into detail about our first two venues:
Moorhead, MN
Grand Rapids, MN

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.

February 1, 2010

On the Road

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 5:15 pm

This morning was our first load-in. We finished load-out from the Guthrie around 2:30am, and after saying goodbye to our local crew, were on the road and in bed by around 3:30.

At around 7:45am I was greeted by a voice outside the curtain of my bunk saying, “Good morning! Happy first load-in! It’s one degree outside!”

In some sort of tour-booking cruelty, after two months in Minneapolis we’re going north, to Moorhead, MN. It’s right next to Fargo, if that helps you place it on the scale of places-you-know-are-generally-cold-in-February.

It is indeed cold, but not as windy as Minneapolis tends to be. The entire surface of the ground is covered in about a half-inch sheet of ice, and it’s been snowing all day. To add to this, our bus could not park near the theatre, so it’s either a long walk or a short drive away. Nick and I searched for it for an hour, missing it by just a few yards at one point, but we did get to see the four corners of the campus of the University of Minnesota at Moorhead while looking. That was hours ago, and my feet are still frozen.

We’ve been working on our signage today, and once we leave the bus, we’ll be hanging it up, and then getting ready for the arrival of the cast. The crew here seems great — very eager and friendly, so I think it will be a fun show.

I already miss our Guthrie friends a lot, but I’m also excited to see who we’ll meet in all our other cities.

Older Posts »