Friday, March 18, 2011

Frankenstein via National Theatre Live: FLAILZ

Drove an hour an a half to see two hours of theatre today. There's a quirky, utterly adorable little theatre that's on the NTLive roster not horribly far away, so today I got to see Danny Boyle's Frankenstein.


I made a list of things to think about when I was capable of doing more than flailing my hands around, but after an hour and a half car ride home and a leisurely family dinner, I STILL haven't managed to come down yet. You can't see me as I type, but I keep stopping to flail.

I don't have much attachment to the Frankenstein myth and even less to Shelly's book, so narrative changes didn't faze me at all. Though I do want to reread the book now.

All star cast, all star production team. The set/lights/costumes/makeup/FX/sound designs were all fantastic. Clear, purposeful, non-distracting, and lovely. Not a show about design, but a show VERY well supported by its design. Also, I would like to wear Frankenstein's first coat. THOSE SLEEVES WERE BEAUTIFUL.

HOLY CRAP PHYSICALITY! I swear, Benedict Cumberbatch controls every single tendon in his body. The first twenty minutes of the show, especially, awed me. The show's definitely at risk of alienating the audience (and theatre gods help you if you don't know the Frankenstein story!) for that first chunk, but it worked SO WELL.

Aaaand there was definitely a point towards the end of the show that the Monster (Cumberbatch) was in breeches and an open jacket. My fangirl brain hijacked the rest of me and I COULDN'T STOP STARING AT THE ABS. WTF, self? I'm not a abs gal, AND the scene was engaging. Attack of shallow me!

Seeing live theatre that wasn't live! Was totally fine and unbothered by the "this is recorded" fact until curtain call, when my need to show my appreciation to cast and crew was at war with the "across the pond and only seeing this via some very lovely cameras" thing. Academic brain noted that there were a few beats that got considerably larger laughs from the UK audience; likewise, others clicked with the US audience. Lost a couple lines because we laughed when the UK audience didn't (so there was no laughter pause from the actors).

Other thinky things about US vs UK theatre, with regards to little fixes. Noticed a few small things (namely, a bald cap that just wanted to be freeeeeeeeee!) that, in the US, would have had techies flying around backstage in an attempt to fix with whatever means necessary. Less so in the UK?

There were a few interview clips before the show started; in one Johnny Lee Miller talked about finding his Monster in his Frankenstein. Was mildly disappointed that we had it spelled out pre-show, as I'd like to have discovered that for myself. He had some vocal quirks early on that I think would have clued me in. But I didn't get to make that discovery, sadly.

Definitely some changes from the previews; notably, FAR less nudity than I expected. Wondering if it was a change made in previews or a change made for this show (which would make me sadfaced).

It's HOURS later and I'm still SO FLAILY.

I say it often when I see a show that rocks me, but THAT is what theatre is supposed to do. Alas, I have now used up the few words I had remaining. AM RELIANT ON CAPSLOCK TO EXPRESS MYSELF.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time Compressed Pt 2

The insanity isn't over yet! Thursday had just as much crazyness to offer, though with decidedly less email marathoning.

Thursday, October 14, also hidden behind a wackily formated link to

Time Compressed Pt 1

The last five days have gone on FOREVER. "Whirlwind" doesn't even begin to cover it. Here's the basics starting Wednesday, as that's when the crazy took off.

Wednesday, October 13, hidden behind a wackily formated link to

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tech, Incomplete

Unphotography images of the week:

The Historic theatre is getting ready to receive the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. The stage is matte black, three electrics are dropped and fully hung. There's a cream canvas crate downstage center with a stack of large printouts (they're light plots and associated paperwork for the hang, but the camera can't see so closely). There's a single work light on and it's focused downstage center, perfectly illuminating the canvas crate and paperwork. Anticipation.

Costume shop, a wooden table with an off-white sewing machine and various accoutrement including 2 seam rippers and a curved razor. On the right side of the table is a pile of white lace that the observing viewer might recognize as Hesione's final dress in Triumph. On the left side of the table is a pile of pink, white, and grey fabrics all swirled together. These were once the flowers that decorated the dress. Now the dress is a pile of lace and the flowers are just scraps. Cessation.

Just Working Through Things

ETA: I didn't actually manage to cross post this entry when I wrote it this past weekend. Better late than never?

Tomorrow is the final performance of Triumph of Love. I haven't really processed that yet.

For someone who has had many of the same friends since 1st grade, the fleeting nature of theatre is sometimes really scary. In less than 24 hours, Triumph will be a collection of memories.

Part of me is looking forward to the time I'll have to myself. By working standard shop hours (10-6 Monday through Saturday) I'll have a chance to see more theatre in the community. I haven't seen anything other than my own show in either May or April, so I'm looking forward to remedying that.

My body is also tired. My back is sore from doing the hand laundry in an unfortunately low and deep sink. My head is tired of my ClearCom headset and the associated brain squeezing. And I have bruises in the shape of Hubert's heels on my knee thanks to the quickchange.


This cast is amazing. The show is fantastic fun both to watch and to work. I have lots of quick and fast changes for lots of people (six out of seven cast members have at least one quick or fast change). I get to hang out in the traps and hand props up to an actor. I get to release spring-loaded poppies. I get to be regaled with stories from my actors' youths. And I get to watch this amazing show night after night.

I'm not ready to say goodbye!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Unphotography, Part The First

In a universe parallel to this one, there is a version of me experiencing the same year as a theatre intern, living in the same theatre, wandering through the same sets of wings. The significant difference between the two of us is that she has, somewhere along the way, picked up an amateur photography habit and isn't too shabby. She uses that skill to document her (my? our?) life in a series of snapshots highlighting the surreal, unexpected, and downright wacky juxtapositions that come with living in a theatre.

The first focuses on a pair of beslippered feet standing at the edge of a stage. The feet are attached to a pair of pajama-wearing legs, behind which the seats of a darkened theatre are visible.

The second is a long shot of those same feet and PJ pants, now with the rest of the human attached. She's pictured from the back, walking across the stage (now farther upstage, not far from a dropped electric hanging a few feet from the ground). She's surrounded by the stillness a recently darkened theatre; there are bits of spike tape on the black stage, piles of scenery in the wings beside her, an RP screen hanging but not fully adjusted, and various lighting instruments waiting to be hung. And she's carrying an overstuffed basket of laundry.

Another photo shows five people, all dressed in black pants, black long sleeve shirts, black socks, and black shoes enjoying the air with upturned faces in a patch of dandelion-filled grass while the sun beats down with fresh spring intensity.

The final shot from today is a look at the matte black floor of the stage right wing space. At right the bottom of a boom and the lighting instrument attached to it are visible. At left there's the base for the upstage leg pulley. The focus of the shot is a giant yellow spike tape X labeled "Magical Spot of Quick Change Awesomeness."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Life: Awesome

Working late in the shop for Triumph. It's a... sizable show. We're not at the point that we're scheduling 16 hour days yet, but the costummiere and I are goofing around and sewing things well into the night.

I have nearly, as predicted on Tuesday, built a hat. I'm tacking the lining in, and have about another hour of work. And then it will be a hat! Hooray! Hat!

Buuuuuut the reason I started this entry (while in the shop, rocking out to Pandora's Owl City channel) was to share a moment of awesome.

James (a former intern, now employee) just brought us eggplant parmesan. That he'd made from scratch. And just pulled out of the oven. Because he could.

He knew we were working late, so he brought us steaming plates of nommy nommy awesome.

How cool is that?