Monday, June 21, 2010

Spelling Bee

So almost 3 weeks into Playhouse, and here we are with another day off under our belts (1 every 14 days!) ready to face another week of Spelling Bee performances! The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a hilarious musical that will make you think, laugh, and possibly shed a tear or two as we follow these quirky kids through their spelling bee. Starring 9 fabulous actors and actresses, two of whom are actually students/recent graduates at Saint Michael's College, Spelling Bee opens our eyes to a lot of things that kids have to deal with in this day and age. Performances are 8pm Tuesday-Saturday this week, with a Saturday matinee at 2pm as well. The last week of shows went very well! It is nice for those of us who have the whole thing memorized to get a little variety every day with some new audience faces and reactions.

After Saturday's last show, we will start changeover into our next play: Around the World in 80 Days, a play based on the book by Jules Verne. In 68 hours before NEXT tuesday's opening for that play, we will have struck the Spelling Bee set entirely and assembled the 80 Days set, lights, sound, and had at least 15 hours of rehearsal with actors onstage. It is a crazy, fabulous time.

As for me, I will not actually be on the run crew for 80 Days. Having a wedding to be in in early July, it would be hard to train me backstage and then need someone to take my jobs over for two performances. So I will be off in the evenings for the two-week run of 80 Days (June 29th-July 10th) and then be back on board for the rest of the season, perhaps allowing another intern a break for one of the final two plays this summer. Right now I'm working in the scene shop, which is a nice change from photocopying and being on book in rehearsal all day : ) Having just gone through a break-up, I find myself relishing the summer stock schedule, as there is no time to think and be confused or upset; the show must go on and I'm learning that that is going to be a way of life that I have chosen, at least for a while before I ever think about settling down with a family.

Speaking of which...time to get back to work. Another update (maybe someday I'll get those pictures in...) to come.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Looking good so far!

So we're in our second week in at Saint Michael's Playhouse, and the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is running way ahead of schedule, both in rehearsal and in terms of getting the set built! Things are pulling together nicely for the start of the summer stock season here. The most complex aspect so far seems to be lighting, since the show involves plenty of dream-like moments and flashbacks and isolated moments, and even electrics is right on track with things getting done. We open on Tuesday, which leaves just enough time to get everything in working order. Better get your tickets now if you haven't already!

I think my favorite time of the rehearsal day is after the actors break for dinner and after Hannah and I move all our props onstage to set up for the evening's rehearsal; then I might go up to the booth to chat with John Devlin, or into the shop to see what's happening today. The shop is miles ahead of schedule. They started building for the next play, Around the World in 80 Days, several days ago. It's nice to be a stage management intern and sit in on production meetings and get an overall view of how things work.

Yesterday I ran into Chuck Tobin, the producing artistic director for the Playhouse, in the lobby looking concerned. We chatted for a little while and determined that no one was yet avaliable to run lights for the children's theater performances this summer. There are 2 children's shows each summer (this summer is The Wizard of Oz and then Pinkalicious) and usually interns or staff cover the technical needs as best as possible. The set and lights for the larger Playhouse shows are used and might be added to to make the set for the children's plays. It will definitely be interesting to manipulate John's complicated plot into a Wizard of Oz mood : )

The one downer so far this summer is the weather! It's bee rainy and about 60 degrees every day for a week... although the theater building is pretty frigid no matter what it's like outside, it is nice to escape into a sunny world when we break, and that just hasn't happened lately. At least the social life is pretty fun; the other interns and I hang out often after rehearsal (Molly, one of the administrative interns, an actress in our third show this season, and Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, is a close friend of mine from SMC, also blogging this summer) and we see the cast and staff out and about sometimes as well.

Tonight, however, is my brother's fiance's bachlorette party, and thank God we don't start tech till Sunday because it means I can meet them in Burlington tonight after rehearsal! Exciting! I can't believe Dan and Kate are getting married in under a month. I really need to buy some shoes for the wedding... maybe I'll find time before then to do so. Molly and I took the 3 guy interns shopping on our day off (we were going to show them Church street, but it was raining of course so we went to the mall) and they were pretty funny. They came into all the stores with us and gave us advice about which shoes looked cute and which ones were ugly.

Anyway, hopefully I will actually take some pictures and put them up...I know the last few posts have been only writing which is getting a little boring! If it ever stops raining maybe I can get some good ones of the beautiful campus at St. Mike's, or of the friends I'm making here : ) Maybe even of my 3 room mates (Abby, Em, and the dog). The apartment was a good choice for this summer, even if it does mean driving back and forth in the rain to rehearsal and to hang out with everyone. More later, with pictures and news on our first show opening!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Week 1

The first week of Playhouse is coming to a close! It seems like we have been here much longer than a rehearsal we are halfway through staging the second act of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which is pretty awesome. Hannah, the other SM intern, and I are keeping somewhat busy during rehearsals so far. She keeps track of props, I run random tasks, and we both make coffee and chalk the set groundplan out on the floor of the rehearsal room when it fades, set up props, all the good stuff. Sometimes it's hard, like last night, when the actors were working on choreography, and there was nothing for us to do for most of the time.

The other interns have different schedules than we do as well; the production interns go in at 9am and build sets till 5pm, and while later in the summer we'll all be running shows at night, these first two weeks they have evenings off. The box office interns are all acting in various shows this summer and so they work when they can outside of rehearsals. It's nice to be able to get out of rehearsal and hang out with everyone though; we watched a movie the other night, and went to watch karaoke at Unwinder's, the local sketch-fest bar, with the rest of the staff and company.

Otherwise, things are moving along, I guess! I am enjoying the atmosphere this summer a little more than last year; maybe its because I know how things work now, or because I know more people this summer, but it feels more relaxed and less like I'm seen as a child about to run away from work at the slightest chance. Perhaps everyone is more confident with the supervision of John Devlin this summer, as McCarthy IS his turf; who can tell?

I have barely seen my roommates since moving in to the apartment! How strange it is...and also nice, since they aren't demanding in any way : ) side note to self: when making cheesy scrambled eggs ALWAYS use sharp cheddar, and NEVER taco-blend seasoned cheese. Yuckk. Day off tomorrow, our first of few for the summer! I need to go shoe shopping (black flats) and grocery shopping...and maybe Molly and I will take some of the other interns into town. More in a week or so; when Spelling Bee opens and we start building for Around the World in 80 days, and plus when I finally get some pictures!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Start of the Summer Stock Season!

Today was the first (official) day of work at Saint Michael's Playhouse! All of the interns moved in and settled on Saturday, then yesterday was spent readying the space and helping the actors for the first show move in. We had a BBQ where we met everyone last night and then had the evening to ourselves, which was nice. Molly, a friend from Saint Mike's, an administrative intern for the summer, AND an actress in the third show of the season (she's just that awesome!), hung out with me after we jump-started her car (only to have it die again!). She's studying abroad in London next semester so we are super excited to have the summer together before that!

Then, the staff and interns met at 8:50 today for a morning meeting, allowing the work day to start at 9am. The morning meeting is kind of funny: it really shows how deep into the theater world we can get during summer stock. John Devlin, our production manager, tells us the date and day of the week and some news from the outside world before telling us assignments and goals for the day.

Today was, however, my first and last morning meeting for the next two weeks- stage management interns work on a different schedule from both the administrative interns and the interns working in the shop or on electrics or sound. Hannah (the other SM intern for the season) and I set up for a production meeting before joining the others in safety training and starting to prep some of the walls for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, our first show this season. Then we went to the production meeting to take notes and spent the rest of the day in rehearsal, taking notes, making coffee and making props lists and all sorts of things. Today the actors just worked on music (of course the songs will be stuck in my head for months to come! At least they're pretty awesome tunes) so while Hannah made a props list and will be tracking that, I made an entrance-exit plot that helps with costume changes and body-mic repairs, if needed. It turns out we'll be called a little later in the morning for rehearsals for this first show- but we have rehearsal till 9:30pm at least for the first two weeks, when there isn't a show onstage at night.

It's kind of funny how the world in Burlington, Vermont halts on holidays. Stores may or may not be open- the library, print services, and human resource office at St. Mike's were all closed for Memorial day, which made it really hard for the stage management and administrative interns who needed to make copies and have things printed for the first day of rehearsal. Unfortunately the McCarthy Arts Center doesn't have a large copier or a reliable computer-printer setup; in fact, there are 2 computers in the whole building avaliable for students and interns to use, one of which crashed today. But the world turns on and tomorrow we will have plenty of time to copy scripts and everything. At least now I know that I'll be working later in the day and can be flexible about coming and staying late as opposed to arriving and leaving early.

I'm exhausted already. Time for a good night's sleep and a big breakfast in the morning! More later, when there is more to report :)