Thursday, September 26, 2013

Road Trip Adventures

In August, my friend Krissy wrote to me to tell me that she had decided to move to San Francisco to join the local IATSE 16, and asked me to drive out with her. Although I was really worried about money, I decided to go! I had never driven across the country before or seen very much of it beyond the east coast, and I also wanted to make contacts with the many people she knows in the technical theater business.

The first day, we left from Burlington, VT in Krissy's Subaru with her stuff, my bag, and her dog River.

We had a beautiful day of driving through the Adirondacks and the rest of New York until we stopped for the night in Erie, PA and found this gem of a burger joint for dinner:

Day 2 we drove for a while: we went through Pennsylvania and Ohio, and on down through St. Louis until we stopped at Krissy's friend's house in St.Charles. I don't think I took any pictures this day, other than a blurry, bug-smeared windshield shot of the arch in St. Louis as we rushed through. Krissy wanted to arrive in 5 days to start working, so we didn't stop very much to sightsee, though I started a pretty extensive list of things I want to see in this big country of ours.

Our third day on the road was pretty exciting. We saw a lot of corn fields in Kansas...and the car broke down (the first time). We called AAA and had an awesome tow truck driver and shop take care of us: an air conditioner fan had scraped through a radiator hose in her Subaru, a relatively easy fix.

Look at this beauty...
 We saw some pretty amazing sights the rest of that third day. For two girls from Vermont, this was a lot of open space and sky to take in.

 That night we had some more car problems. We limped it to a small city in Colorado and spent the night at a hotel, waiting to get the car checked out in the morning. Day 4 we made it to first view of the mountains out west:

We spent a day and a half in Denver with a friends' parents, while Oleg at the Subaru Clinic tore the car apart to help us get on our way. 

He eventually discovered that the fuel pump needed replacing and made it happen by the evening of our 5th day. We hit the road that night and drove into Utah.

 Our 6th day was the longest. Krissy wanted to be in California that day, so we drove for 14 hours out of Utah, through Nevada, and into CA. We avoided the wildfires around route 80 by taking route 50, The Loneliest Road in America.

It was amazing to watch the landscape change. The day started in high elevations surrounded by that red rocky terrain; we slowly descended between mountain ranges. They just kept coming between plains, and they seemed to be bigger and bigger each time. It got drier out and the land turned more brown than red, with scrubby little plants covering everything. Route 50 was really quiet-- a beautiful drive. I was really glad we got the car 100% fixed before attempting that road though. It started getting very hazy, and you could just see the outlines of approaching mountains until you were right on top of them.

The cross into California was beautiful and dramatic. We hopped on route 80 (I think?) at that point, and it wound across mountains that had deep ravines and very tall, pointy evergreens all around.

We made it to San Francisco just after sunset, with the fog rolling in.

More to come on my time in San Francisco!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

End of the Summer

After the flood at the Hangar, we opened our last show, Clybourne Park. The end of the summer was a strange time because of the clean up and also the excessive amount of time I spent wallpapering for Clybourne. The show had a pristine house for Act I but for Act II, the house was sold and stripped, resulting in a very different sort of setting. This was a big challenge for us.

Act I. Scenic Design by Steve Teneyck. Photo: Meg Hurley.

Act II. Scenic Design by Steve Teneyck. Photo: Meg Hurley.
 We made panels of foam covered in wallpaper that velcro-ed to the walls and were removed by stage management at Intermission during part of their big change. These took a lot of maintenance; I would have preferred to use something more durable, like lauan or masonite, but alas.

We had some fun projects on this show as well: a staircase, a series of window boxes that lit up all around the set and into the audience. 

I realize that I've totally skipped over our third show of the summer, 4000 Miles. That show also had an interior set, meaning lots of walls and doors and molding for us in the shop. This show was unusual in that it had a ceiling piece. Ceilings onstage are hard because the lighting designer has added shadows and obstacles to deal with; they make the space seem smaller.

In progress. Scenic design by Tom Burch. Photo: Meg Hurley
This set also has some fun projects for us, including the windowseat stage left I built; the kitchen stage right that was complete with a pantry and wallpaper; a door center stage that our intern had fun making creak.

The summer ended with a sort of frantic note for a lot of us. Some people stayed longer to work on the final kids show, but most of the staff was gone by the second week of August. I had the pleasure of staying a few extra days to see the shop off and rest up before my drive back to Boston. Although we go through a lot every summer and never know where or when the money is coming to fund these shows, it's hard to not want to go back! Ithaca is a pretty awesome place, and it doesn't hurt that I've made some close friends at the Hangar. We will see what next summer has in store for me.

Thanks for reading!