Monday, February 24, 2014

2014-02-24 RIP Harold Ramis

Who you gonna call?... You know that even if you didn't say it out loud, you said Ghostbusters in your head.  That's a phrase we all learned and became a piece of our childhoods that has lived on.  Sadly, as of today, there is one less Ghostbuster for us to call.  Harold Ramis passed away at age 69.  We have lost Egon Spengler, the brains behind the science and the writer behind the screen.  This news comes shortly after Dan Akroyd said that there were plans for a Ghostbusters 3 in the works and that Ramis would be a part of the project.

In addition to Ghostbuster he is the writer and/or actor behind many amazing films Groundhog Day which has also become part of regular pop culture references along with his other works including Groundhog Day, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, and a slew of other amazing movies that made us laugh until we cried and some of the most surprisingly touching moments shoved into comedies that sometimes made us think.

One of the most touching tributes that I have seen since the announcement of his passing actually took place at the firehouse in New York that was used for the Ghostbusters head quarters in the movie.  His photo, two candles, some flowers and a Twinkie.  You can read the whole article HERE.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dracula Diary: Epilogue

The question I have gotten a lot the past two weeks of my Dracula Diary is why? Why am I okay with doing multiple jobs, 14-18 hour days, not sleeping, wrangling people who don't want to be wrangled, stressing myself out and all of this for a show that will only run 3 times?  It's a labor of love.

The Little 5 Points Rockstar Orchestra and 7 Stages has become my family since I got hired for Dracula almost 2 years ago. It's both hard to believe that it has been almost two years already and also hard to believe that it has only been two years.  I still sometimes feel like the new kid and other times like I've been here forever because it's such a natural fit.  At the last Krampus show Justin Welborn and I were talking and he said, "I remember the interview and now you're an institution." I don't know if I would go that far, but I definitely consider 7 Stages to be my home.  (I mean, they totally gave me a desk, that means I can do whatever I want on it, right?)  It's nice to find that place that you belong and you're happy to be.  That picture up there in the corner, in some cases I hadn't spoken to some of those people in almost a year and it was nothing for me to send a text or a call and it was fine.  I could call anyone of them to go have a drink or help me move a body, that's just how it is now.

What it really boils down to is do you want to be happy?  I used to work at a law firm and I made pretty good money...I do sometimes miss the money, but I wasn't happy.  When I got laid off I cried, I freaked out because what was I going to do and then the very next day I went and sold stuff at a vendor table at TribalCon.  The entire time I was at the law firm I scheduled burlesque shows, traveled and performed, really that job was a soul sucking way for me to get to perform...I was literally living for my weekends.  What kind of life is that?  Spend five days to live for two?  That's terribly disproportional and just seems like a horrible waste of time.  Getting laid off was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I started doing more film work, started teaching burlesque more, started costuming more, starting trying to live a life that was an actual life rather than living for work.  I started the Southern Fried Burlesque Fest, I got Syrens of the South to the next level, I even went back to school so I could get my degree in Technical Theater so I could bump up my game because actors are a dime a dozen, it's a lot harder to find good tech people.  (There is always another actor who will want your part, there is not always another tech person that can do what you do.)

I love my job.  I love when the show works, even if something goes wrong we fix it, and we make it work.  There's so many moving parts that each show is it's own living organism. When it comes together it's just so beautiful.  The end result, the wonderful show and the audience's applause is what makes it all worth while.  Being proud of what you do, working in a place that you are appreciated and doing a job that you love, that's what is most important to me and that's why I do what I do.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 10 - 14

Wednesday, Day 10


Can't leave the house, I spend 12 hours working on video editing for the slide shows for the show.  Timing the pictures for the rehearsal because, ya know, can't leave the house.

Thursday, Day 11

Most of the morning is spent deciding whether or not we should do the show.  I pack a bag, just in case I get iced out, because I HAVE to go to the theater.  I HAVE to check the video. I park at Heidi's, bring in my suit case and we walk from her place to the theater.  At that point we cancel the show, people are freaking out because of the weather, they're not going to come out because of fear even though the roads are mostly cleared.  I am told that the box office spent hours calling everyone to make sure they could exchange their tickets and knew the show was out.  We add a 10:30pm show on Saturday to make up for the show day.

I want a dress rehearsal, I annoy all the cast and crew and we get it scheduled an amour earlier so we can do a proper sound check and get everything taken care of.  Theater is cleaned, floors swept and mopped, lobby is finalized and looks like we're ready for company.   Final dress rehearsal.  Weather still sucks but video is happening, we have a small invite only audience.  It didn't suck, we got through it, these are all good things.  Michael Haverty (Associate Artistic Director of 7 Stages) helps me make the video work as I am still learning how to make my MacBook go.  We get head sets figured out so we can communicate with out having to run all the way around the theater for the booth and back stage to talk.  We prep the hazer, we prep the fog, I fix all the video into one long slideshow...and there we go.

Due to traffic we started about 30 minutes later than we wanted but still 30 minutes earlier than the show was originally scheduled.  We loose Shane and Madeline because they are unable to leave their house as their road is still iced in.  The other singers step up and cover the two missing singers so we can get through.  We blow the mains during the dress rehearsal...we slam through the show, we get done and I send everyone home before it gets bad.  I then spend a good portion of the remainder of the evening working on video, fixing lights, going through notes...  I am working late enough that I realize that I am starving.  We go back to Heidi's house, I eat some food and then keep working on the video timing until 4/4:30am.

Friday, Day 12: Valentine's Day/Showtime!

I force myself to sleep in.  The running joke being that since Holly didn't stay there Heidi just needed to have a Stage Manager on tap at all times.  Christine Orr was kind enough to help me dye my hair so I could have a head of pretty for the opening night.  After almost 2 weeks of feeling gross from crawling around with cables, digging out costumes that haven't been touched in almost 2 years, and generally playing with all the gross things that reside in the was nice to have a private moment to feel pretty.

I then headed down to the theater, met up with Alex and got him to work on sweeping, mopping, cleaning, helping put up Shane's art work in the installation of all the costumes up front that we had finished the day before.  We make the place look like we're ready for an audience and we finally are.  There was one boo boo that probably only the cast and crew noticed and one big boo boo where a gel frame fell from the ceiling and almost hit Jeff (Van Helsing) in the head.  We did find out later that there had been an earthquake, however he still stands by the fact that I was trying to kill him.  Over all the show was amazing, we had a good crowd, and we had a good time.

Saturday, Day 13: Showtime Take 2

I get to the theater around 2pm to make some last minute tweaks to the video.  I haven't done timed video and with the new knowledge I have of when the audience is going to applause and a better grasp at the length of chatter between some of the songs I feel like I have a much better grasp of what is needed.  I spend about 2 hours (this includes many cigarette breaks while the videos were rendering) getting is finalized.  I then go into the theater to adjust some lights (ya know, having to deal with the death gel) and fix a few cues.  I end up flipping through the entire show to take the death lights out of it since I needed to fix some band lights anyway.

By the time I finish going through lights the cast and crew begin showing up.  We start getting ready, we get all hyped up for slut dress Saturday.  (This was a thing we did during the original production so it seemed fun to revive for this.)  We go through the 8pm show, great crowd, video works great, I manage not to kill anyone.  We're worried about the second show, it was last minute, will anyone show up, then we realize that Neil from Stungun Photography is coming and we decide that this isn't a show, it's a photo call!  It makes everyone feel better and we had a way bigger crowd than we thought we would.  Over all it was great.

I took some shots during the show and sent them to Chaz, he asked for them since he couldn't be there.  Afterwards we took a group shot in front of the last group photo we had taken almost 2 years ago.  It was kind of sweet.  Then we drank and got silly and enjoyed our last night as the Drac least until we can get funding and do this all again.

Sunday, Day 14: Strike

We broke it all down today.  It was sad.  Not everyone shows up for strike, but those that do are awesome.  It's that hang over of a day, because deconstruction and cleaning is way more fun that way.    As I thane been typing  this I am actually working on another show that happened in the same space right after strike.  It's kind of poetic, one show ends, another starts.  The show I was working is now done, they're lingering on the stage while Dad's Garage begins loading in their show...seriously, this space never sleeps.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 8 and 9

Monday, Day 8

Paper work.  Sending email to update everyone (and remind everyone) that we were to meet at 7pm and do straight run throughs at 8pm...yeah, that was kind of a fail on Monday, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been since Dad's Garage was finishing up a recording for their show and ran a little late THIS ONE TIME us running late was actually a good thing.

We put in the fog machine and the hazer but we didn't test it just yet.  Still playing as I spent a good couple hours during the day adding in the foot lights, refocusing the lights for the band (I'm still not totally happy about it.) and fixed the missing purple Fresnel and decided the back row of green Fresnels not being there was a choice.  When you don't have the time, sometimes you just gotta own that and make it a choice rather than failure.

We got through the Opus with all the versus which made me happy.  Why rhyming mania and Transylvania brings me such joy I will never understand, but it totally does and I sing along like a crazy person.  I love Dracula so much.  I mean, it's been a long love affair since I was around 8, but still, working on this show makes my inner pre-teen fan girl so happy.

Tuesday, Day 9: Looming Snowpocolypse

I got to start my day by picking up Shane, seriously, Morton Manor is the house that every horror kid wanted to have in high school with all the posters, art work, toys, sculptures, awesome castle treatments on the walls in the kitchen, etc...  I see something new there every time I swing by.  We ran by the theater, grabbed coffee before we borrowed Heidi's truck so we could go to AZA and pick up the coffins.  Being at AZA during the day in the off season is so strange.  The lab looks the same, but we had to go grab some props and asking around in the day light with the windows uncovered is just super strange.  All those times I got used to wandering around in the dark and just trusting I knew the way replaced by blinding light.  So strange...  We got the coffin and the big lid in the truck and had the discussion of which way do we put them in the truck to make sure the corpse in the back doesn't fly out so I don't get pulled over by the cops.

So I was super lucky that people were freaking out before the snow actually started, that means that I got Alex all day yesterday since school was cancelled.  After we unloaded the truck we knocked out all the dead hangs, cleaned up the cables, soft focused everything that was looking kind of rough and got the band lights more focused since I needed to move the light trees around where the amps ended up.  We got a lot done in the lobby after Heidi figured out the best way to deal with the art work that was hanging out there.  Trying to find the balance between the more permanent installations and the ones specifically for the show as well as the posters and advertising for Dad's Garage.  It's a mad house out there.

Rehearsal we pretty much just tried to plow through so we could get everyone out at a decent time.  Everyone was supposed to bring their costumes.  One said they left it at work, one informed me they don't have outfits so I grabbed him a suit jacket from the Secret Room.  Rob and Jed get a shout out for bringing in their costumes as did the ladies.  You can pretty much almost always count on the ladies to bring in their clothing options.

Afterwards Alex knocked out painting the platforms so they could dry over night, we tweaked a few lights and then shut down so we could get out of there ASAP.  By midnight freezing rain started coming down so it was time to go home.  We all were crossing our fingers for our Wednesday night rehearsal to be possible...except I apparently told everyone to ice the parking lot rather than salt it because I was tired.  So if you see Rob and the guys out there trying to make the parking lot freeze that's totally my bad.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 7

Day 7: Tech Rehearsal 1

So after my tragic fall and being unable to finish the rough lighting cues I had to play a little catch up on  those when I came in Sunday at 1pm.  Did I mention I didn't get home and go to bed until 4am Saturday night?  Yeah, so that happened.

Luckily, with the lights up and my knowing the material I was able to knock it out fairly quickly.  We got going at 3pm in full swing and ran through all of the songs in order.  Luckily I am fast on the board so I didn't have to call any holds while I was making cue corrections.  So, you may or may not care but here's everything that went wrong or needs to be fixed:

1) the entire back row of green Fresnels said no and wouldn't come on.
2) the far down stage left purple Fresnel also said no, the rest of the row is fine.
3) Need better chases than what is programed in board right now, I haven't programed a chase in forever, Mack and I are going to do a crash corse in remembering.
4) We decided on Amber gels for the one will notice but me and Heidi but it will make us happy.
5) Need to refocus the band lights a smidge since we moved the band a smidge.
6) adding foot lights
7) add hazer to go along with fog machine added before yesterdays rehearsal (ALL THE SMOKE!)

Surprisingly a small list considering everything that could have gone wrong.  Honestly, that is what I should be working on right now, but I had to send out an email to the cast and crew anyway and I type fast.

I did feel a little bad for Rob Thompson, one of the composers and the actor that played Dracula.  So as I mentioned earlier, Chaz, our dear Dr. Seward couldn't make it because of another show he was cast in and Rob was going to be singing both the Dracula and the Dr. Seward parts for this concert.  Yesterday Shane Morton (who plays Quincey) was at Days of the Dead Con so Rob also sang the Quincey parts.  (Seriously, look Shane up, he runs AZA and does a lot of special effects make-up for movies and TV shows, you'll be all super impressed.)  We knew Shane was going to be out so cool, we got this.  However, then Jeff (who plays Van Helsing) was having car trouble so he wasn't able to come to rehearsal so Rob sang all of the Van Helsing parts as well.  It was a lot for anyone person to cover, luckily Rob did that on the original rehearsal recordings so he's no stranger to it, but still a lot for a voice to deal with in that kind of rehearsal we're running straight through setting.  Yesterday was totally Dracula: The Rob Opera!  Naomi Lavender (one of composers, one of the wives and Mina) was covering Madeline (who was also at Days of the Dead) so she had to cover a second wife as well as Lucy's mom.  I am pretty sure Naomi was managing to harmonize with her self during the wives parts.

We got through relatively unscathed.  We picked up the Quincy and wife parts again once Shane and Madeline got there.  And then we may or may not have worked on a super secret encore song just in case the crowd demands it...maybe.  Tonight techy goodness!  Tomorrow we add in the video (Did I mention Heidi and I are making the video?) and Wednesday is final dress.  Hope to see you all on Thursday!


Dracula Diary: Day 6

Saturday, Day 6

I started the day teaching at 11am at The Atlanta School of Burlesque.  Was done with my super awesome class and then ran over to Barbizon to pick up black and white gaff tape.  Then picked up Heidi and was at the theater by around 1:15pm.  Justin got there shortly after so it was time to get started.

Lighting.  For those that don't know I've been doing lighting for a few years now in addition to stage managing.  With the nature of this show and staffing/time I am doing both for the CD release concert.  I know all the songs, I know what the show looked like and there is no one that saw the show more than I did between rehearsals and then the actually show run.  As we only had one week of rehearsals before we went to tech it made sense to have someone who is already familiar do it rather than bring in someone new.  Same reason we didn't replace the cast members that couldn't be here with new people, same reason I was thrilled that Joe Davis who ran sound in 2012 came back for this run.  This is why I am glad that Edi and Maya who were crew before came back.  We already know how we all work, we've made it happen successfully before and we all work really well together.  Seriously, we got this better than ANYONE. Original cast and crew for the win!

So lights.  Normally I would have sat down with the director (in this case it would have been Heidi S. Howard, the artistic director of 7 Stages) and talked about what the wants and needs are for the show. We'd pick a color palette, talk about any specialty lighting, get with the set designer and then I would sit down and draw out (yes, literally draw as I don't have Vectorworks yet) a lighting plot.  That's how I normally actually do things and that is the proper way.   That being said, it has NOTHING to do with how I am doing the lighting for this show.

Walk into the theater and look up...what do I already have hanging in the air?  Right, two rows of Fresnels, the upstage row has been unplugged, recircuit it and get it back on.  We have a second row of strip lights that has been added, get that circuited in.  Fresnels will be two rows of wash, one set green and one set purple, strips will cover my blue and red needs along with the alternating front lights so I have 4 different wash colors...done, next!  I have some Source 4s already kind of in the right place for the band, refocus and move one to be in the right place, BOOM! Done!  Two upstage booms, one red and one blue for some back lighting and for on the band and done.  That's how it should have gone.  All of those things are now up, but what actually happened is that we found every bad dimmer, every bad cable, had a spark pop while he was plugging something in that was big enough I saw it from the booth and we had to go flip the breakers back.  We had to run one cable 3 different times just to get it to a dimmer that would work.  We were focusing lights from 1:30pm to around 11:30pm with a 1 hour dinner break and a brief period where Justin was making a D gobo while I tried to get a little bit ahead on the light cues.

I wrote light cues until around 2am and would have kept going if I had not fell.  I was coming back on stage (let's face it, I was very tired at this point) and tripped on something on the stairs from the dressing room and started to fall.  However, I was falling in the direction of the scrim and one of the legs...two very expensive things that I cannot afford to fuck up so I had to stop myself from grabbing them which means I didn't have enough time with the change in plan to catch myself on the floor so I landed on my nose.  I was stunned for a minute, walked into Java Lords and told Jed and Heidi what happened and that I was feeling nauseous.  To make sure I didn't have a concussion they sat there with me for an hour just to be safe before I drove home.  I may or may not end up with a black eye.  It usually takes a couple of days for them to show up on me.  If I do get one, I'm just going to tell everyone that Heidi smacked me around for not getting the rest of the lighting cues written that night.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 5

Friday, rehearsal off day.  So let's go over everything that I did while they enjoyed some time off, shall we?

Email to everyone updating the notes from last night's run through as well as the now, yet again, up dated tech rehearsal schedule for Sunday.  The bigger the cast the harder it is to coordinate schedules, especially with Days of the Dead Con this weekend and so many of the performers wanted to go check it out (or are working there) for obvious reasons.  Also, Walking Dead comes back on this weekend and if you think this crowd isn't addicted to that show then you're crazy!  These are all things on top of work schedules and other shows they're all in that I have to work around.  It's a practice in time management.

So after following up with what inputs does Haverty's camera has for sound?  How many more slots on the snake do we have for microphones?  What notes from the composers about the songs do I need to pass on?  Do we need to be prepared to have an encore song ready?  (See the show, scream real loud at the end and see what we decided.)  How do we split the lobby with Dad's Garage so we all get maximum exposure for both shows?  How do we schedule who uses the lift when for both our tech needs and Dad's tech needs? (Seriously, sharing a space with Dad's is way easier than it sounds, we work together great and they're all awesome, ALL THE LOVE!)

I'm bouncing back and forth between people with all of these questions while Alex, who is a 7 Stages intern, is being awesome.  I taught Alex how to condense the lighting instruments and take them off the booms, which was kind awesome.  Not that it's super hard but that I got to teach someone something is awesome because I love to teach!  So Alex was stripping the lights and cables off the booms (I stepped in when there were any issues) and painted the mic stand bases black so they would all look pretty and be uniform.  Vi was also kind enough to bring by a male torso for us to use for Dracula's costume.  Again no legs so we had to find a pole to shove up it as a stand again (this is the 3rd one so far we've done like this) which meant some scrounging around under the seats in the black box.  Luckily Alex is a rock climber and has a small build to climb up and fit in the weird shelves that all the poles were stored in.

Now if only we can find a decent black wig to put on it.  Seriously, Dracula can't be bald.  Based on what we found in straight black wigs in the Secret Room Dracula will have a a Prince Valiant hair cut, a pony fall that kind of covers enough to look like a full wig (seriously, right now this is the best option) or a 3 foot long Vampira looking wig with two white streaks, one on either side.  So the options are mullet; like a thin, not quite enough hair; or Dracula as a pretty pretty princess!  Alex and I both will be looking to see if either of us has one at home that might work better.

Dad's had a show in the black box, I didn't feel like moving the lift since it needs to go back into the black box tomorrow anyway, I ended up calling it an early night and decided to leave around 8pm.  B came by to drop off some mics and cables of his that we're going to borrow for the show.  It being our 9 year anniversary today and the fact that we haven't seen each other all week seemed like as good a reason as any to decide that maybe I deserved a night off as well.  (Okay, so he totally bribed me with fried chicken)  I'm actually pretty excited to be home, showered, fed and about to go to bed at a semi-reasonable hour.  I have to teach in the morning so maybe going to bed early means I won't sleep through my class tomorrow.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 4

Thursday, Day 4.  During the day was spent sending out emails, updating the set list and then diving back into the lobby installation.

Our last female mannequin that Brigette loaned us had not yet dressed since it didn't have a stand, so how do we get it dressed and able to stay standing.  The plan, which surprisingly worked, was to dress it up in the Mina costume which happened to come with shoes that had rubber soles which would give the mannequin a non slip base to help hold it up as it is leaned against the wall.  We did choose to put the Mina mannequin on the far side so it's less likely to end up being touched or knocked over.

Luckily Dee Dee found a good sturdy mannequin at her house, the only problem is that it had no arms or legs, but it did have a head which was a step in the right direction.  I sent Jeff a text to find out how tall he was, 6'1".  We managed to find a 6' pole to use as the base and slide the mannequin torso onto the pole and boom we had one the right height for Van Helsing.  (Side note, in prep for the Dracula mannequin I also had to ask Rob his height, also 6'1".  Talk about balance.)  Dressing this one was actually easier than dressing the full bodied mannequins so it went pretty fast, unfortunately we can't find the hat.  We know the hat was here and packed up but it was not in the box with all the others.  Sadly, I can't blame Jeff for loosing it as I was the last one to wear it along with most of the rest of costume for the photo shoot I did with all the Dracula heads.  It really sucks not being able to pass the blame, but oh well, it happens.

After getting the two additional costumes up (we're still waiting on more mannequins to borrow) it was about time to get ready for rehearsal.  Just enough time to get a coke, buy a pack of smokes and get ready for the barrage of text messages letting me know people were late...and then it started snowing.  My first thought was "Oh god, I haven't slept at the theater yet and I'm not going to start now."  That probably seems like a weird first thought, but if you knew how many times people had crashed here when we've been working on tech until the wee hours of the morning you would be less surprised.  Luckily it was just a slight flurry, but I guess if we had gotten trapped there are worse fates.  At least we're all friends and like each other.

Rehearsal was a power through type of thing.  We needed to time the length of the song set to help us determine how much talking would be mixed in. (No, I'm not going to tell you our run time, come see the show.)  We made it through all of the songs, no major train wrecks which means we didn't have to just stop and fix anything right then.  It was the first time we haven't really had any stops and starts other than tag ins since Jed and Jessika both work at Java Lords and have been tagging out for their songs to make sure the bar is covered during rehearsal.

During rehearsal we were getting some silly messages from Chaz, who played Dr. Seward.  Sadly, he was booked for another play already so he can't be here, but he's missed.  He was sending us pictures from back stage at his show so we decided to send him a little love from our rehearsal as well...BUTTS!  Yup, we sent him pictures of two of the cast ad crews butts.  I think we're just going to make this a thing and send butt pics every day we have rehearsal.  We're in tech for Friday and Saturday so Sunday is the next time we'll have butt pics.  A similar thread of butt pics happened when we worked on Lady Lay in Spring of 2013.  This is apparently how we express our love at 7 Stages!  BUTTS!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 3

I'm writing this on Thursday at 2:16am.  Why on Earth am I up this late on a week night?  Well, the answer is because I just got home after being at the theater since around 2pm, got some food in my stomach and thought this is probably a thing that should be known and honest about the hours.  I'm really tired, it doesn't get much more honest than this.

Today...oh today.  It wasn't as much labor as the wrangling, the meetings, the dressing of mannequins, etc...  It was a labor of trust.  Got the set list together based on the notes last night.  Text those who were not there last night about our new start time tonight.  Making sure that those that needed to be reminded that there was a press interview tonight.  Sending out the updated schedule along with the set list to everyone, etc...  setting up the time for the sound guy to come in, talk to the higher ups about some of the issues we were having and got all of that squared away.

During the day, between my getting ready to go to the theater and such I was texting with Chris Love.  Chris is one of the composers of the show who will unfortunately be unable to be at the show.  I wanted him to know that he was missed and being thought of, it felt kind of like calling a grandmother who is surprised you remembered their birthday.  It was both sad because of his being unable to be with us for this show (he played Harker in the production) but also kind of sweet that he had me send his love to the cast and crew and tell them how much he missed them.  I understand why he's unable to be with us, but it does feel weird to hear his songs sung by someone else.  Jed is kicking ass and taking names with it, but it's not the same since those songs were written for Chris.  It's a bitter sweet thing, but I do miss him.  Regardless of the fact that he is one of of the writers, and that he played Jonathan, he was also my chorale director.  With the harmonies, he took the lead, he made them work and got everyone through it with out drama... It was a skill to be admired.

Between day work and rehearsal I had a moment of time which was perfect as I needed to go and teach my Burlesque Fundamentals Class over at The Atlanta School of Burlesque.  Switching gears back and forth is making me kind of crazy, but bills don't care about my sanity, they just care if I pay them so I gotta work.  Got back in time for the start of the press interview, the arrival of everyone and getting ready for go time.

Tonight was so much fun.  It's the first night we had everyone.  Well, kinda, Rick came late because of work and Jess was working at Java Lords so there was running back and forth, but ya's the little victories of getting to do all of the songs in one rehearsal.  So we went through the entire set list tonight.  Discovered a lot of what we needed to work on and what was awesome, what worked as far as stories between songs and what was just getting out of control.  It was a fun time with the music and touching on all those funny stories.  Not just the funny stories the cast had, but the funny stories that we had on the crew side as well.

My mini-me, Edi, came to rehearsal tonight.  She was a spot light op when we did the show back in 2012.  She was a member of 7 Stages Youth Creates program and has grown into a wonderful actress in her own right.  (You know this if you came and saw Krampus)  However, she's been at 7 Stages since she was 12 for their production of Hair...she'll be 20 this year.  During the run we had our own jokes with being stuck far from the action on head sets making sure everything looked amazing.  We rated the "rapeyness" of the scenes. Mina feeding on Dracula always won during Mina's Bites, the brides on Harker second and the Lucy scenes 3rd.  It sounds like a TERRIBLE thing to make a joke about, but you end up with a lot of gallows humor with the crew.  You don't want to know about the snow...  We also judged each night the "Dance Off" during Van Helsing Teaches to see who rocked it during the instrumental part.  Jed, who played Arthur was almost undefeated, one night Chaz won as Dr. Seward.  We also had alternate lyrics to many of the songs.  Heidi and I became theater wives because of Oh, Johnathan.  Edi and I had a decent amount of involuntary giggling tonight just thinking about all of this.  We were also calling the cues under our breath, seriously, we still remember them all.  I love that she's going to be there working with me on this concert version, it just makes it seem that much more like a home coming.

The show was two acts and therefore the CDs for sale are two disc sets.  On the way home I listened to the first disc from the show.  I am a huge Dracula nerd.  I spent my high school years obsessed with Dracula and vampires be it in books, in movies, television shows, magazines, seriously anything I could get my hands on.  I actually had one wall of my room covered in articles about vampires from the Weekly World News.  However, Dracula has always been my kind of love story.  Think about it.  Mina and Harker, Lucy and her suitors, etc...  all this love and all the obstacles.  Real love is like that with all of the obstacles and you might get the story book ending.  Much like the first half of the book; the first disc is a dark, raw, animalistic kind of twisted sexy and the second half/disc is more of a bitter sweet awe, love is awesome, good triumphs and we can leave all the dark twisted stuff behind.

I'm a little sad that more of my favorites from the first act aren't in the show.  This His Blood is one that I was sad to see go.  Really most of the first act is a much harder driving beat of evilly goodness with the second act having some much sappier songs that, though good, don't speak to me as much personally.  I guess all those years of hanging out in goth clubs warped what I'm attracted to, evil is sexy.  The hottest songs in the second act are about killing things so I guess I don't stray that far from point.  Alone in Transylvania, however, is beautiful.  There is something about that one and Mina's Hypnotism that just gives me goose bumps.  They're like these amazing melodic kind of fairy tales, but not the Disney versions, the originals that were dark and haunting and actually meant something.  Good doesn't always win, but it tries and sometimes being strong enough to try is enough.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 2

So my day started with emails...all the emails.  After each rehearsal during which I take a bunch of notes I send updates to the cast and crew to make sure we're all on the same page and give anyone any schedule updates, etc...  As we get everyone's info as far as scheduling we adjust the calendar to make the best use of everyone's time and efforts.  We obviously don't want to just have people sitting around doing nothing making them unhappy and there for not wanting to work when everyone is there.  I did mention before my job is to try to keep everyone happy and on schedule, right?

Yesterday we started working on the lobby installation.  This meant pulling out the mannequins from the basement which had been buried under a bunch of stairs from a quick hide and dash that had to be done during a previous production.  After we dug out the door we found out we only had four-ish mannequins (one was missing legs).  The hope is to have all of the amazing Dracula costumes that Dee Dee made for the run on display in the lobby, so obviously we're going to need more than four.  A few phone calls, a few texts of begging goodness, we're starting to get a few more to borrow.  So as of right now Dracula's wives, Mina and Lucy are set.  (I'm not going to go into the adventure of tracking down some of the costumes that had been messed with since our last showing) Working on the Dracula and Van Helsing costumes next, really sad we don't have boy mannequins right now.  I'm either going to have to pad out female mannequins or Dracula and Van Helsing are going to have tits.

While all of this is going on I'm getting called into the theater to answer questions.  Are we keeping the lighting trees that are currently on the stage?  Is this a good place for the for the speakers/monitors?  Where do you want the strip lights to go?  Are they going to be circuited?  Where do we want to fog machine?  Front lights?  What video/photos will we be projecting?  How many microphones and where so we want them?  Where do the band platforms need to go?  Which severed heads should go on the stage and which one at box office?  Seriously, these are things I get asked.

Call was 7pm, I had to jet at 7:30pm to run to the Atlanta School of Burlesque and go teach History of Burlesque.  So I left everything they would need for rehearsal, scampered off to go teach, taught for two hours and then scampered back to the theater to finish up the rehearsal I had abandoned due to having to work my other job as well.  I got there in time for the last few songs, the closing meeting and to discuss and go over the notes that came up while they were being allowed to play and such so they could really reconnect with the music again.  The whole point is for everyone to have fun with it all again and they looked like they were and that's what's important.

Right, I need to go do today's email and paper work.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dracula Diary: Day 1

So Day 1 is actually a total lie.  I'm not talking about the fact that I was hired to Stage Manage this show in June of 2012, or the fact that we started rehearsals in Aug of that year and then ran the show through Oct.  I'm not even talking about helping wrangle schedules for the CD recording or the smaller concert shows that we have had in the past year an a half since the show closed.  Just talking about this one production Day 1 is a lie because we've had meetings.  We picked the songs, decided costumes, talked about lighting, worked on schedules, etc... I have know I was working on this concert since May 2013 and have been actively working on it since yeah, Day 1 is a lie, but it was our first day of scheduled rehearsal so we'll go with that.

I keep getting asked what I do, so here's your chance to read all about what a day is like for me when I'm working on a show, especially one where I am wearing many hats.  Technically I'm the stage manager, but with the nature of this particular production I am working on a lot of the production aspects as well like helping with sound stuff (literally just helping pull stuff, I suck at sound), I will be working on a lighting design for this show, helping with video, as well as whatever other crap pops up.  As Stage Manager I'm supposed to run the rehearsals.  Make sure we start on time and then stick to a schedule and that everyone gets all the information that they need in order to make the show happen.

Last night we had our first rehearsal.  Started with a meeting at 6pm to go over all the preproduction discussion.  Song list double check, costume discussion, how we wanted things to look, how we wanted it narrated, etc...  At 8pm everyone else began arriving.  Setting up mic stands, setting up the band, giving everyone the information they needed from all the decisions that we made in the meeting right before that one.  After all of that, all the sitting around and talking about how we're going to have fun, we actually get to have fun.

It's our first day, we haven't done this music since Monster Bash back in June, we're going to need to get reacquainted with it all.  I hand out the libretto with the lyrics for all the songs we've chosen for this show.  It's about half so we can make sure to have a good show with leaving the audience wanting more so they'll go buy the CD, there's a method to the madness.  The band starts playing, the singers share a mic because we haven't gotten all of the mice set up and ran to the snake yet.  It's like a jam session with a set list.  It's fun, it's easy going, it's getting everyone a chance to remember how much fun this is...and to also show them that it's been almost a year, we need to relearn the music.  We're laughing at the mistakes and moving on because that's what last night was about.  Seeing what we needed to work on in addition to having fun with it.  Reconnecting with something that was a part of our every day life for months and has been a back burner in our mind since the show closed, since the recording finished, since the last concert...

While all of this is happening I'm creeping around, taking notes, having snippets of conversation about what each person is individually concerned about because they want me to know because I will compile these and present them to those who make the decisions.  I just run the show, I have bosses just like everyone else.  So all these little seemingly back hall meetings are actually just how I get a consensus and a feel for where everyone is in the process.  What are they worried about, what can be fixed and how do we make everyone happy in addition to making the show happen.  At the end of the day he show has to happen and ideally everyone is happy about it.  We will close the show friends and glad we got to go on this journey together.  That's my job.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 30

Day 30: Your hopes for your blog

I dunno, that someone will read it?  That some how bearing my soul for 30 days helped me be better about opening up to the people I care about.  That maybe I got better into the habit of writing so I'll be better about posting things.  And maybe, just maybe I got a little better at writing as well.

So if you enjoyed it, cool.  If you didn't, then I have no idea why you're even reading this any way.

So yeah, back to the normal grind of everything and hopefully I'll be better about updating.  I am pretty sure I have written more entries in the past 30 days then I did all of last year.