Tuesday, January 29, 2013

End of January

It has been a really crazy week and a half for me here in Boston. I meant to write at the end of last week, to try and start writing more often, but I was busy from 7am to 11pm almost every day.

At the Huntington last week, we finished up set pieces for the next show-- A Raisin in the Sun-- and stayed busy with projects in the shop. The set for the next mainstage is a big turntable with slatted walls forming a few different locations. We framed the walls and then spent several days working with lathe, a shitty, splintery type of wood sold in moldy strips. We bleached the lathe and dried it for a few days before attaching it in carefully spaced intervals on the walls.

assembling and test-fitting walls in the shop for Raisin
We also built and installed a new rack to store different types of molding; cleaned and organized; all the things that pass time until we have drawings to build or a show is ready to be taken down. Mostly, I worked on replacing and repairing house seats...a process involving taking part of the seat off (seat back or seat bottom) that is ripped or very worn; tearing off all the old coverings; and then reupholstering it with a layer of flame retardant material under the velour. Luckily the costume department helps us out with any sewing, so we mostly fit and staple the pieces all on.

At night, I drove about an hour to Marlborough, MA to start working at Bent Productions, a contractor shop run by a young couple. They had built the set for Of Mice and Men, for which I was an electrician, but sent them my resume anyway, and lo and behold they needed the help. So I started work out there last week, and worked all this weekend, making for some very long hours on The Turn of the Screw, performing at the Majestic Theater in Boston.

The week wasn't all work and no play, however! I was lucky enough to see some friends Friday and Saturday nights. My friend from Vermont was visiting Friday, and her jacket and jewelry were stolen at a bar that night :( but it was so good to see her. I also visited a liquor store not far from me, Joe's Liquors in Somerville, and they not only often have my new favorite beer in stock (Corsendonk) but gave me a bunch of suggestions to similar beers and pointed out that their "Make Your Own 6 Pack" is cheaper than buying a 6 pack of one type. Win!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The hard part about being a stagehand in New England is not the long commutes through rural areas. It isn't the cold, though we often have to deal with winter weather. It isn't the people we see every day; it isn't the small stages we have to work with. It isn't even the remarkable lack of theater in many places around here.

No, the hardest part about being a technician is the liquor laws.

This past weekend, I was home in VT to visit and got an electrics call with my local union, starting at 10pm. Awesome! What I forgot to take into account is that the bars stop serving around 1am on weekends in the VT/NH area...and any convenience/gas stations open at that time can't sell past 11pm (or often earlier). How silly is that! All we wanted was a beer.

Lesson learned: buy in advance.

Monday, January 14, 2013

12 Things I've Learned About Post Grad Life

It's been 8 months since I graduated from college, and here are some things I have discovered about life after undergrad:

1. Leaving home is really freakin' hard.

2. But it's the best possible choice to make, as soon as you possibly can afford it.

3. You can make anything edible with a broiler and some garlic salt.

4. You'll meet more people (interesting people, funny people, strange people, friendly people, unfriendly people, boring people, talkative people, annoying people) than you had met in all 20-something years of life in school.

5. And sometimes, doing something nice, bringing a smile to someone's face, or helping other people is an amazing feeling...especially when you're in a city.

6. Getting a drying rack for clothing is a fabulous way to save money overall and spend less time at the laundromat if it's a sketchy place like mine.

7. A roommate who isn't your best friend and who doesn't interact with you much can be an awesome thing.

8. Loneliness is, ironically, one of the most universal human experiences.

9. Picking out mousetraps for the first time is almost as bad as picking out makeup-- there are just as many choices, but in the end the basic familiar trap is the way to go.

10. Settling for the first job offer you get is not always the way to go.

11. Keeping #10 in mind...you CAN survive on an air mattress and/or living out of your car, if it means doing what you love or even just doing what you need to do. And you'll have a much different perspective on life once you do it.

12. And my favorite thing I've learned so far...I don't miss classes and homework! It is SO nice to work and then go home and enjoy a beer and be done for the day. (With my crazy jobs it doesn't always work out that way but it didn't during college either...and after a 14-hour barely paid day there would be homework to come home to...no thanks!) I like learning...and I learn new stuff every day at work. It's a win-win situation!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012 Review

It's funny, looking back every year I always remember things by what show I was working on/which theater I was in. #nerd. I worked on a LOT of shows this year, so we'll see how many I actually can put in order.

Kicking off the year, I was at St. Mike's as a senior, working on my lighting design thesis (Appetite) and a scenic design for a classmate's thesis show, Notes. I also completed an independent study on Shakespeare, a survey connecting tech elements to his stories, especially Hamlet. I did random overhire work in the Burlington, VT area, including work with the Vermont Stage Company on The Clean House, Shirley Valentine, and As You Like It, and work at the Flynn Theater with the local I.A.T.S.E. 919 (stagehand's union) on a bunch of tours that came through, like Mamma Mia! and the Alvin Ailey dance show and more. I saw some good theater in various places, enjoyed the end of my senior year with my friends, took a trip to Florida with my parents which was awesome, watched my brother Andrew marry the love of his life, and in May, I graduated from Saint Michael's College with a Bachelor of the Arts, Theater Major, Spanish Minor.

I spent the summer at the Hangar theater as a scenic carpenter, which had its good times and its hard times, but overall was one of the best summer stock experiences I've had to date. We produced 5 mainstage shows, 5 children's shows, and a series of experimental shows called the Wedge. It was a crazy time, but I met some amazing people and realized how much I love building stuff.

Come September when the summer season ended, I went home to Vermont and worked a little at the Flynn and the Barre Opera House and Vermont Stage Company some more. It was nice living at home, but there is not enough work in Vermont for a freelancer like me to thrive. I considered joining the stagehand's union, but with no guarantee of liveable earnings, I decided I'd rather take my chances elsewhere.

So I eventually packed up Tiny Tim and drove down to Boston, where, thanks to my awesome contacts, I scooped up some overhire gigs in big scene shops and some side work at other places. I slept on couches and floors for a bit-- my air mattress and I became good friends-- and I want to put out a big shout out to my friends and relatives who let me stay night after night while I was apartment hunting and working all day!

I started at the American Repertory Theater working on the set for Pippin, which was recently announced to be going to Broadway later this year. I also worked electrics at Central Square Theater for The How and the Why and The Mountaintop, and with Moonbox Productions on Of Mice and Men, and finally started at the Huntington Theater in the scene shop in December. I am very excited about those last two companies: Moonbox is up and coming, but already incredibly successful in producing high-quality theater, and I am excited to be working with them in the future as well as for their partnership with non-profit organizations. I have found the Hunt an enjoyable place to work and hope to continue there for the spring and potentially in the fall for next season. So far I have worked on Our Town and Invisible Man with them, and am currently working on the set for Raisin in the Sun.

Other than work, the end of 2012 was jam packed with fun stuff. I was the maid of honor at my best friend's wedding; learned I am going to be an aunt by summer 2013; and found a great apartment in Somerville that I moved into with lots of help from my family! I've made some friends at my various workplaces, been out on a few dates, settling in well. I still go home often-- especially over the holidays at the end of the year there-- and can't imagine traveling as much as I used to want to because of my family ties in Vermont. And that is OK :)

Overall....Wow! What a year! I learned a lot. A lot of bad things happened in the world in 2012, but we're still here, and personally my first year out of school was a good one. Here's to hoping the luck carries on....and spreads to as many other people as possible!

Thanks for reading

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow, has time been flying or what? I haven't posted in a month or so, as my Dad pointed out to me over the holidays.

December was a pretty awesome month, involving lots of work on scenery at the Huntington Theater in Boston on Our Town and Invisible Man; snow; visits home for my Grandma's 80th birthday and again for Christmas; electrics work with an awesome company called Moonbox Productions; fun times with my friend Meg from the summer in Ithaca; and New Year's with Anna & Steve, my friends who got married recently and are living in Norwood.

Some of the work I did on Our Town (being, y'know, the woods expert around here)

A fun piece of Invisible Man for the electricians... we did a lot of rigging on this ceiling beast

Walls, beams, flooring, and more going in for Invisible Man
I was very happy to be working with the Hunt, and hope to continue to work with them during the winter and spring. Our Town has been extended until January 27th; Invisible Man opens this week and shows through February 3rd. For more information, visit the Hunt's website.

I was also pleased to work with Moonbox Productions on their recent show Of Mice and Men, which was a hit. Their next show will be A New Brain in March, and I am very excited to be working with them again. Moonbox partners with local non-profit organizations for each production they do to raise awareness, which is an awesome use of great theater.

January will be an interesting month of networking and planning for me. I would like to get out of Boston for the summer this year, but the logistics of my apartment and returning to the city and such are TBD. (Not to mention getting a job for the summer!) The month has kicked off well, however, with a few days of work at the Hunt and also at Central Square Theater, and with a quick trip home to visit (and do laundry). Some things don't change...
Me & my cousins <3 br="br">
Thanks for reading!