The last couple weeks have been busy. I spent about a week and a half backstage for the tech of The Liquid Plain; a new work by Naomi Wallace. It’s a beautiful piece that takes place during the years of the transatlantic slave trade. It also has some of the best use of projections I’ve seen to date. It was good to see that tech is tech wherever you go. There are some problems, some challenges, some very creative problem solving, and in the end, the product is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Being a part of this world premier was a truly rewarding experience.
I also discovered my new favorite piece of stage equipment. The OSF stage crew calls it an “Uncle Buddy” and it’s used to pinch off linesets to keep them from running or slipping. They work great on a double purchase lineset that has been rigged for a specific function and doesn’t operate within the fly rail. For The Liquid Plain, a cage had to fly in and an actor had to get inside. Since the system had been rigged for just this purpose, there was no brake on the operating lines so when the cage was flown into its proper height, the flyman would apply the “Uncle Buddy” to the lineset, which locked the ropes so the cage wouldn’t move once the actor got into it. Here’s a picture of what it looks like when the lineset is locked off:
The biggest difference about tech at OSF was that other shows had to perform in the space as well. So before we had finished teching the show, we needed to shift into another set. Since these were the first shifts in and out of The Liquid Plain they took a bit more time and required a bit more trial and error. Space had to be divvied up and the order of set pieces had to be established. This is something I’ve never had to deal with in a tech process and it was really impressive too see how well the stage hands take all these things into account and make it work.
Outside of tech, I got to see some pretty amazing things over the past two weeks. I drove out to Crater Lake one day and I have to admit, it kind of takes your breath away. The Rim Drive circles the lake but the entirety of the road isn’t open all year round so unfortunately I didn’t get to drive around the whole thing. What was really crazy was that there were still many feet of snow on the ground. It was a beautiful, sunny 90 degree day and I stood next to a snow drift that was almost as tall as I was. That’s not something you see every day. Here’s a picture from one of the overlooks:
I also spent the 4th of July in Ashland and saw an awesome parade and pretty good firework display. I also caught the live broadcast from DC and saw some familiar sights so it was kind of like having two 4th of Julys on two coasts. Ashland explodes for the holiday. People came into downtown the evening before and staked out space along the parade route with duct tape and signs. What was cool to me was that these reservations were honored. In DC, tape on the sidewalk wouldn’t mean anything, but that’s the difference between a big city and a small town. What was also cool about Ashland on the 4th was that they set up a craft and food fair in Lithia Park where local vendors came out and set up booths. It reminded me a bit of Eastern Market in DC.
I got a couple days in a row off so I took a road trip down to San Francisco to see some friends. On the way down I took a side trip out to Muir Beach and got to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. As someone who has lived on the East Coast her entire life, that was exciting. In San Francisco, if you’re ever in the Union Square area, there’s an awesome bar called John Foley’s Irish House that has dueling pianos in their downstairs bar. It’s a cross between a comedy show and a talent show. The two guys are amazingly talented and hysterically funny. I didn’t get to see as much of San Francisco as I would have liked but Golden Gate Park is amazing and the city itself is a lot of fun. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get back. Unfortunately, my camera was stolen in Golden Gate Park so I don’t have any pictures from the Pacific Ocean or the city, but here’s one of the Golden Gate Bridge I took with my phone. Don’t worry, my camera is insured!
It’s been a busy, productive, exciting week filled with new and also familiar experiences. I’m having a great time in Ashland learning new things from OSF that I can take back to DC with me, and exploring the West Coast has been amazing. I hope the next few weeks will be as rewarding as these last weeks have been.