Monday, July 2, 2007

Back to the USA

Both nights of Poor Tom were successful and well attended. Audiences were appreciative. And the 'Get Out' or strike after the 2nd show went without a hitch.

Its 630am Dublin time as I write this and we get picked up at 745am to go the airport for our return to the USA

Its been a great 3 weeks.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Phylis is in Dublin for Opening Night!

Phylis Ravel surprised the students today ---

During a notes session with Patrick Sutton around 1 PM, Patrick received a phone call on his cell from Phylis. Patrick said what a shame it was for PR to miss the performance, and help up his phone so all could shout "hello". Then a door to the theatre opened and there was Phylis, shouting "Hello!!!!" Quite a surprise!!!!! The students were sort of in shock! We are so excited about tonight.

At least 2 sets of parents are here to see the show. Yesterday in Penney's, shopping for pantyhose (or "tights" as they call them here) a man grabbed me! It was Dr. Steven Franzoi, Amelia's dad, and her mom...they'd just arrived and Amelia was showing them her favorite shopping spots while they were jet lagged and waiting to get into their hotel. I know that Bonnie Auguston's folks are here from Portland Oregon, as well. How cool!

Patrick gave notes to the cast, and we have this afternoon off to prepare for the opening call at 6:30 tonight. It feels weird to have the afternoon off, and not be rehearsing or running around looking for props/costumes.

David & I treated ourselves to a healthy SLOW FOOD (as opposed to Fast Food) lunch of Japanese noodles, then came back to our little flat for a nap.

More later!!! I;m hitting the sack for an hour before getting on the bus back to Smock Alley.


Maisie Saves the Day...or at least some of my hair.

The lighting load in was typical of an older space, semi functioning equipment, eccentric qualities of the theatre, things that just don't make sense, at least to me. Something I haven't had to deal with before.

We faced a challenge Wednesday when we lost a bank of dimmers, essentially eliminating 4 lights. I contacted Maisie, the production manager, for guidance and she started making calls. I made some adjustments to the plot to compensate for the loss of the dimmers, and we were ready to go for tech that evening.

I stroll in the theatre last night for the preview performance, and as we were checking the lights, we discovered that 4 more dimmers weren't working. This was a bit of a problem as our preview was scheduled to begin in an hour.

So I sat myself down at the lightboard with my paperwork and just as I started to think abut how I was going to get out of this jam, Maisie walks in and says she finally heard from the house guy on how to fix the missing dimmer problem. She opened a scary looking panel (it was of many panels, some of which we did open) and flipped a few breakers and we were back in business.


Poor Tom Opening Tonight

At about 2pm Milwaukee time, Poor Tom will receive its world premiere. The kids have worked hard and it should be an exciting event tonight.

The playwright, Martin, seemed genuinely happy, after sitting through the preview last night without pen and paper in hand. Patrick, the director, was pleased, and encouraged the cast to let it all out for tonight's performance.

Around 11am today, we will get together and work some scenes and moments.....then come back for opening night.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The lighting and other stuff....

A pile of lights...a scaffold....only 8 amps per dimmer.... the lighting fun begins Tuesday afternoon......

Rehearsals have resumed in Smock Alley; I am spending my time examining the exisiting light plot to plan what lights to re-use and what additional lights to hang.

The plan is to hang and circuit the lights Tuesday afternoon and evening. We will need to have all the lights focused by Wednesday evening when we start teching the show.

I made the production manager happy by cutting two booms and some cable. The huge step unit will be preset right where I want to put the booms.

The set is looking great, there are huge barrells with planks that Dave built on top of them. The props are outstanding: buckets, sacks, flags, a bathtub....all great stuff.

In rehearsal, the cast is working through the play with Patrick making adjustments. And the composer, Susan, has arrived to help with the music.

Thoughts on Ireland after 2 weeks, from Deb

From Deb:

I have come to accept that if one travels to Ireland in June, one must expect to be wet. All the time. No, strike that. God laughs and allows periods of mere grey in which your clothes dry out (almost), and you walk thru the streets feeling lucky and happy to be alive. And then it rains. RAINS. Sideways and vertically. Feet squish due to sodden shoes. Water soaks up your pants hems to knees. Hair slicks to your head. You are amazed that thru it all, you are sweating and your glasses fog up due to the humidity. Paper shopping bags disintegrate and dump your treasure in puddles. Your umbrella bends inside out in the wind, and the fabric tears off the frame, leaving a spider skeleton of flimsy imported-from-China wires. You wonder how you could have ever thought that an umbrella would be enough protection from the rain, not a rubber suit. You look at other tourists from America, students in their flip flops, middle agers in their golf jackets with zip-on hoods, drenched to the bone with no umbrellas and wonder – what were they thinking?? I wonder if any of them live in Seattle and are used to this? David describes this weather as "torturous". Makes him want to read Sylvia Plath and open a vein.

I love Ireland. The people are so wonderfully friendly; there are great places to see and things to do. The culture is rich and the adventures are many. But I think I am growing webs between my toes...

Had another day of props/costume shopping with David. Went to the 2 Euro store (our equivalent, although not monetarily, of the Dollar store) and bought things like paint, brushes, hair clips as cheap as we can. We can't find blankets ANYWHERE! They all use duvets and covers, mucho euros. And we need 3 small ones for show. So we went to the good folks at Murphy Sheehey fabric shop, where we've been about 4 times now for other needs, and bought the remains of a moth eaten bolt of fabulous hounds tooth checked wool at a discount to make our own. I bought the 3rd pair of boots to try for Ashlea - a used pair of Eastern European combat boots that I pray will fit her. Lots of interesting conversion tables consulted between the clerk and myself to determine her size in Communist codes. Shop keepers here are all so nice - let you return things. Antique dealers here rent to theatre companies and films on a regular basis, and seem happy to do it. Folks all say thank you many times over, and are glad to put some show fliers on their counter. Even the semi-porn JOKE SHOP where we found stage blood and liquid latex right next to the fake penises!!

We are almost on first name basis with folks at Lonegan's hardware store. Been to the charity shops on almost a daily basis - and we know certain parts of town quite well now. It's fun to have a mission, but we are really ready to get into Smock Alley and get this sucker mounted! Know we will have more problems to solve this coming week.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Behind the scenes (in our flat)

When you are on the road, you have to improvise the best you can. Here I am sewing up some prop bags for the show. It's a cute little battery powered sewing machine we bought at Target before we left Milwaukee. Tonight, David will be creating a fake tongue! All in the comfort of our little flat on Lower Baggot Street.

It's amazing that so much great theatre happens in this town without many resources. There is only one theatrical supply store and they don't really carry much. We've only found one good fabric store. And while we can find tons of stuff we can't get in the states, we can't find some really basic things. One thing is craft supplies. For instance, we can't seem to find styrofoam balls (or any other styrofoam product). A hot glue gun costs about 15 Euro (about $18US). We need a fake bird for the show and I think we wore out about an inch of shoe leather looking for it.
One thing that the government has instituted is a mandatory fee for plastic bags to take your purchases home. Not a bad way to cut down litter. In fact, when you get money from an ATM you have to ask for a receipt. So many people were simply discarding them on the ground that it became a litter problem.

On the other hand, the fabrics that you CAN get here are fabulous! The wools are real and not blended and many different weights. The hardware you can get for your front door is great, too! Great knockers (no jokes), latches, hinges, knobs, etc. that are copies of Georgian era hardware. Not exactly cheap, but at least it is available here. Even Renovators Supply doesn't carry what we see every where. And keys! Who knew there were so many different types, sizes and styles of skeleton keys. Great props!

Almost any restaurant sells food to go (They call it "take away" over here). And the variety is extraordinary. Lots of Italian, Chinese, Japanese (Yes, we had sushi!), Thai, African, Persian, Polish, oh, and Irish. Yes, they have McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King. They even have Quizno's! Panini's, perogi's and pretzels - you can get it all here.

Well, got to get back to work. Here's a shout out to Tim and the Krajec clan.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Getting Around

You couldn't pay me $5 million to drive a car in this town. The traffic patterns make little sense to me. I would get in an accident for sure.

Our primary mode of transport is the bus which we have vaguely figured out. It costs 1euro to get from our hotel to the theatre. Deb and Dave have purchased a weekly pass for unlimited riding.

What I find amazing are the bus drivers here. They are able to maneuver their large vehicles in the tiniest of roads. This photo is from Galway, note the buses on the narrow streets.

Technical Production Update

Deb and Dave have been scurrying around town gathering more props. We thought we would be able to get into the theatre this Saturday to do some prep work, but we were given incorrect information. So we will start sometime Sunday morning, starting with getting the set in place and prepping whatever lighting we can. Then rehearsals resume in the space. We don't start rigging the lighting until Tuesday.

Today, Liam and I met with Mazzie (the production manager) and a guy named Steven. Apparently, he has worked in the space and he was able to answer our questions and gave us some tips. Most importantly, he told us each dimmer (there are 48) can hold 8 amps. With 220 v0lts in Ireland, that means we can plug 1760 watts in each dimmer.

Steven will be with us Tuesday afternoon for the 'get in' as they call it here (We call it a load in. ), so we should be in good shape. The strike is called the 'get out'.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Live Post: New Pictures and Rehearsal

Students rehearsing at the Gaiety School of Acting around 12:00 GMT on June 20th.

I have uploaded pictures up to today's rehearsal to the album. We are currently in rehearsal in a studio space at the Gaiety School of Acting. Our rehearsal space changes because of the many productions going on at the Gaiety. It is difficult to have to work some of the blocking in such a small space; but the actors are versatile and will, no doubt, have little trouble adapting to each space until we settle in to Smock Alley.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Link For Pictures

To better organize the photos, I have put them in seperate albums on my webshots page. The link directly to my page is below. I also updated the link in the links menu.

I will be putting about 2 days of pictures per album. Enjoy!

A heron outside a window in Galway.

Live blogging tuesday rehearsal

Rehearsal in Smock Alley Theatre.
Got a connection with my Palm.

We are now running thru a 2nd time, this time in the theatre as it was locked when we started at 10am. We started rehearsal in a large room next to the theatre. Eventually, we moved into the theatre space.

New photos and rehearsals resume

Nicole Farmerie (left) and Jenni Shine (right) rehearsing a song.

Scott has posted more photos on the Web Album. The pictures start on page 7. They are from the 1st day of rehearsal.

We have begun week 2 of rehearsals, with more rehearsal time this week the day. Deb and Dave have been scouring the town looking for props and having good success. I have to present our lighting needs by our production meeting today at 1pm.

The show is taking good shape, and we will stage the ending today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Galway: A First Impression

We have just arrived in Galway and, despite the cold oceanfront weather, it feels like the place to be. It is a bit smaller and just more relaxed than Galway. To put it in easier terms: If Dublin was Chicago, then Galway would be Lake Geneva. It is very hard for me to ignore the extreme similarities between this town and many small lake communities throughout Wisconsin. The only difference is that when an old fisherman approaches you on the street here, you do not get scared for your life, because his foreign accent makes him sound, as the girls in the group say, cute.

Well, those are my first impressions of Galway. I look forward to taking in this new side of the country. Tomorrow I have a trip planned up north to Swinford, in County Mayo, to meet with some Irish relatives of mine that I have never met and know nothing about. I am excited for it and will be sure to keep you all posted after the trip.

Overall, we have had a very good week and I am happy with the progress we are making on the show. I also really like the part I have been given and hope that I`ll be able to flesh it out the way I see it in my head. As far as our cultural visits have gone, I feel that we have truly seen a lot already. The shows we saw were interesting, Sweeney Todd was very well performed and had to be one of the best staged shows I have ever seen due to its creepiness and Barefoot in the Park brought me my first experience seeing Irish actors attempt American accents. It was weird to be on the other side of this. It was a little rough. They had a talk-back for us afterwards and lets just say that they thought they nailed the American accent. We were also brought on a general walking tour of Dublin where we saw many landmarks and got just a general history of Ireland and the city. Trinity College`s campus sadly put Marquette to shame. The Ghost Bus Tour was not very funny (although the Borat-quoting guide thought so) but was very worth it for the stops and actual stories.

Our trip to the Art Museum was also very interesting, seeing things from paintings, to stained-glass windows, to Francis Bacon`s very own, intact art studio, to short films. I spent a lot of time in the last mentioned. But, overall, the most interesting visit for me was to the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. Aside from the many elaborate objects on display, the museum had a recently opened, huge exhibition about the history of the Irish military from the Middle-Ages through the fighting for Irish Independence and then to the present. Some of us spent a lot of time in this exhibit, myself and Liam personally staying for over an hour. It just really drew me in. I can`t get over just how much history there is to learn about this country as a whole. I think its just shocking coming to a country with so much more recorded history than we have, as the Europeans did not discover America until 500 years ago.

Well, I`ll spare you any more rambling for today. I`m off to take in Galway and will hopefully be able to write again soon.

Rehearsals June 14,15

The company blocked through about page 50 of the show. In addition, they rehearsed some original music.

Patrick was happy with the company's progress because he feels they have captured the 'soul' of the play.

The cast will begin memorizing their lines this weekend.

Rehearsals resume Monday June 18 at 1pm.