Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday 22 June

Today is a first here: I had a good day!

I know! I think I'm actually pretty excited about it.

The Rosco paint that we ordered finally came in, so the designer and I were really happy about that. The theatre somehow banked on an old old school overhead projector so we were able to project the images on the luan, so we finished super fast, and that made me happy.

I think what helped a lot is I was just painting all day. And everyone left me alone and I just went into my own little world; painting. It was nice.

Granted, I've never had to do a portrait that's 6' x 9' of a woman from the 30's with terrible rosatia and what looks like she still has her baby teeth, but its looking pretty good. The designer was happy with me, and when I was painting one and he was painting the other, our styles matched up pretty well. That makes me happy considering this man has like my age in years more experience then I do. He also knows one of my professors from SCAD--from "back in the day".

At the end of the day the TD comes in with the volleyball and asks if I want to play.


I didn't get to play the last time, but it was nice to play some volleyball again. I could still serve overhand and got a couple of digs and spikes. Played 5 games, won 3 out of 5. All in all it was a good game, good day, good night.

It's a nice feeling to actually be happy at this place.

I hope that means I'm not turning into a hippie....

Sunday 21 June

Today ended up being one of those days where none of us wanted to do anything and everyone just wanted to go home. We kept on messing up everything. The day before I had started the "terrible" troump loei painting and it went well...considering I was painting in the parking lot and had ants roaming across it the entire time--I hope the designer likes unnecessary texture.

The painting itself isn't that bad, but there is a ridiculious about of architectural work that needs to be drawn out and measured. Not to mention that I have been given a copy of the drawings which have fuzzy lineweights and are mislabeled. It's been pretty fun trying to figure out how to fit something on pannels when they are drafted 6" taller then what the designer said to build. Thankfully I just have been able to shift everything down.

I spent like an hour linging out this fireplace because its this detailed Victorian style fireplace with like what seems like 2' of ornate molding on the top. I was really proud of myself until I realized I made the fireplace as a while 6" shorter then it was. Epic Fail.


I ended up fixing it and it didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. I have been able to do all the painting so far with the crappy donated latex paint and my painting skills so whip up some pretty sweet stuff. Unfortunately the climate up here in Vermont is wet, damp, and rainy all the time, so it takes a decade for stuff to dry. The TD and I found some, what seem like 24" diameter scoops circa 1960 so I've been able to bake my scenery dry. Not the way I wanted it to get done, but I'm okay with it.

The carps have been making these 3 bookcases which are 9' tall. I'm absoutley terrified at the way they have built them, and they almost squashed the TD and myself twice. Not the way I want to go personally. They've decided to cooperate and not tople over if they have 4 stage weights on each of them, so that's encouraging. On the backs of them goes the 2 huge portraits. I was worried about the luan having tandons on them, but thankfully it didn't come through so we were able to base them out so we could start painting them the next day.

We went home early because everyone was miserable and it was just pouring outside all day and we had a matinee so it was virtually impossible to work anyways. After comtemplating a movie for about 3 hours, the girls ended up suckering in the few straight guys in this house to watch "When Harry Met Sally". I've concluded that the movie makes me sad, so I'm not going to watch it again.

On other news, since it was rainging so hard out, my roommate took a slip down the stairs at the front of the house, and beat the shit out of herself. Shes pretty banged up. One of the cool things here is that there is this old Quary down the road and it has this pretty old sweet marble and all the sidewalks and steps of the houses in this area are made with the marble from back in the day when they were mining it. Pretty sweet.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday 20 June

Apparently under the description of Paints/Props Intern there is apparently 'cleaning crew' under there somehow. We got an e-mail saying how we had to report to work an hour earlier today because we were assigned certain locations in the theatre that we needed to clean up and re-organize. I got the props shop, pretty convenient I thought. There wasn't much to clean up, so I just sat there for most of this hour I was given and explored the props shop trying to figure out what I was going to do for however long I was left here. Shortly after that, the designer comes down to the props shop and asks if he can talk with me.

He told me that the production manager went up to him and told him that I was leaving and he wanted to come and talk to me about everything and see what was going on. I told him the short version of the story and that I was just exhausted and needed a break from everything and that I was stressed out and thought that this place had given me way too many responsibilites as just an Intern and I just couldn't do it. He agreed with me and said that he told the production manager that this place had huge balls for giving me these two huge responsibilities and agreed that it wasn't fair and that he felt there should be one person here doing props full time. Not the answer I expected, but still it was nice to hear someone agree with me. I told him that I just didn't know what to do and he asked me that if he went to the production manger and talked to him about changing my contract if I would stay. I said that I wasn't sure and he basically then told me that if I left the possibility of finding another person with the skillsets that I have would be next to impossible and that they would have to re-design all the shows from here on out because he wouldn't be able to do it on his own.

They need me here...I was needed. It's a weird feeling to have a theatre company basically tell you this.

The designer went up and talked to the Production Manager and after a while they both came up and pulled me to the side and explained the negotiation. The production manager told me that I would be virtually lifted of my props duties and would only help when I had nothing to do and that I would strictly stay with paints for the summer when there was painting that needed to be done and that the props would be a company thing that everyone would have to chip in and help doing. They would do this if I agreed to stay.

I agreed.

So I'm here for the rest of the summer. I'm not sure how I fell about it yet, but I'm staying.

Friday 21 June

I've learned in my almost 1 week here that I have started a pattern for my feelings towards this place. It's pretty simple actually. It's a love it one day, hate it the next type of pattern. Since I got my laptop yesterday, it was a love day, so needless to say, today was a hate day. A REALLY big hate day.

This last week or so I have been doing everything in my power not to explode and bust out into tears. Today obviously seemed to be the day that this was going to happen. I'm not sure what sparked it, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the stage manager coming to me asking for rehearsal props that I apparently agreed to making, and was very upset that I didn't have these props for him.

Also, the Designer came to me and wanted me to go with him to the place where most of the furniture was stored so I agreed to go. This place where everything was stored is at this barn that seems like it dates back to the Caveman times. It's huge, ancient, and I'm pretty sure is ready to collapse any minute. It was great trying to find furniture for this. While we are pulling this stuff the designer is pulling this stuff and is informing me that I can just re-upholster this couch and re-finish that table, and do all these other alterations to all these pieces of furniture.

Apparently everyone here thinks there are 248 hours in my day and that I am capable of multitasking like no other.

Well, shit.

On the verge of tears I went to my roommate who is also the spokesperson for all the interns and told her everything and asked her if I would be able to talk with the production manager sometime that day. She told me she would go and talk with him and see what she could do. I decided to spend the rest of my day in the prop shop, by myself, doing research on how I can make or buy a grammophone. Eventually the Production manager came down and we sat down and talked...for quite awhile.

I have thought about this whole experience this last week here and have decided that I am just burnt out. Pure plain and simple. With everything that happened at SCAD my Senior year, and with all the shows and other things I had to do while I was there, I knew that after all of it I was going to be burnt out and that is why an internship seemed like a good answer: I didn't want to have that extra responsibility, I wanted to be able to have a breather and I thought that while I would have some responsibility as an intern, most of it would fall upon the Scenic Charge and the Props Master; but they don't exist here. I told him that I felt that the listing for this position was very decieving and that if I knew there wasn't going to be a props master or a scenic charge and there wouldnt be any other paints/props interns then I wouldn't have taken the job. I also explained to him how I was just exhausted from everything and was not capable of doing what they wanted me to do this summer. It was too much and I could just feel myself breaking down and I needed to take care of myself because I could only see it getting worse. I explained some other things to him and he asked me if there was anything he could do to change my mind on wanting to leave. I told him that I really just needed to get home and let my brain rest, and he said that he respected my decision and appologized for being decieving in the job posting and that he would start looking for someone to replace me and asked if I would be willing to stay until they found a replacement. I agreed to do so.

I don't know what else to do. I can just feel my body becoming more and more exhausted and more and more stressed. I realized that I have basically been going non-stop between summer stocks and hard-core college since the beginning of my sophomore year. Now was the time that my body and brain decided that it had had enough.

I had to usher that night and this creepy man started talking to me while I was standing at one of the doors. Apparently he is on the board of the theatre, so I knew I had to be nice to him. I awkwardly talked to him for about 5 minutes and then right before he walked away he looks and me and goes "You are a very pretty young lady"

....Awk Awk..... gross!

After ushering I drove back into civilization and called my dad and told him what was going on. He was supportive of what I decided to do, and told me to keep him updated.

Thursday 20 June

The best thing that happened was that I got my laptop, and got back the tiny bit of connection that I could to the outside world.

It's been lovely.

Unfortunately with getting the Internet, I came to realize that the Stage Manger for the show that is in rehearsal now has been sending me about 2 e-mails a day requesting and adding and changing the props for the show. I think its important to say that the props list started at about 85 props, and its grown to about 10 more a day.

Needless to say I didn't know what to do since I was the only person with a props title, but I knew where nothing was and was really confused at to what I needed to do.

So yah.

I decided to leave all the props stuff for another day and since the TD virtually disappeared for most of the day, myself and the other 2 interns were left on our own.

So I gutted and cleaned and organized the paint kitchen.

It was disgusting, but it looks a lot better then it did before, but I think this paint area is to a point where its beyond help.

Shortly after I started cleaning the paint area, the designer come down to me and tells me that he needs me to come with him to a production meeting, because if he isn't around he wants me to know whats going on so people can come to me and ask me questions.


So does this mean that I am now Assistant to the Designer as well?

I go to the production meeting and I am the only intern there. The TD asks me why I am there and I tell him that the designer has asked me to be there.

During the meeting they start to talk about the show that we have been working on (the one that has the 3 5'-6 x 9' painted portraits in it). The show is called "Merton on the Movies" and it's basically takes place in 1930 and is about this country boy who goes to Hollywood with hopes to be a famous actor. Not my cup of tea, but I digress.

So we're in this production meeting and the designer is asking me to read off all the questions he asked me to write down for him earlier that day, and the director is just spewing off all this junk that is coming out of his mouth and is really not making any sense.

For example:

There are moments in the play where they are 'filming' on old Hollywood sets. The director is trying to communicate (rather poorly) to the rest of the people at the table that while they are 'filming' he would like the look on stage to alter drastically. This is what he tells us:

"When the director on the film set calls "Action!" can we make the entire set go from color to black and white so it looks like the actual set is on film?"


Unfortunately this really did happen and I had to do everything in my power not to bust out laughing. I looked over at my boss (the TD) and I thought he was going to die.

The response from the production manager was probably the best part of it all:

"Umm, if we were magicians, then sure."

So that was the highlight of my first production meeting.

That night was the opening of our first show, "St. Nicholas" by Connor McPherson. It's a one man show, and it requires the audience to think and actually be an active participant, not just someone who stares at the action taking place on stage like it's chewing gum for their eyes.

I highly recommend it.

Of course with every opening night comes the crazy after party. I wasn't really feeling it since I just got my laptop and really wanted nothing more to do with what was around me so I decided to isolate myself from the party, since rocking out to Bob Marley and hippie music and drinking PBR (even if I could, I wouldn't) and smoking a bushel of pot was not on my list of things to do, I was okay with being a hermit.

I've decided that I enjoy being the sober ones in these kinds of situations because the things that I see people do and what they say, is quite enjoyable even though they don't realize what they are saying. Two interns were having a very loud conversation about how they wanted to hook up with each other and agreed that they only wanted a summer fling...but before they could get any farther into the negotiations of this bizarre verbal contract, the girl ran off to the bathroom to spew--now that's romantic.

Eventually people passed out everywhere, and by everywhere I'm pretty sure someone was laying in the staircase. Needless to say I'll be dealing with a few more of these nights this summer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weds 17 June

I met with the Scenic Designer for the first time today. He's a cool guy and is going to be designing all of the shows except for the last one, so I will be working closely with him since him and I will be painting everything and doing the props for everything.

Oh, did I mention that there is no Props Master or Scenic Charge and I am doing EVERYTHING under those categories?

Ummm, yah

So I met with the designer, and he showed me his painting elevations. There are THREE 5'-6" x 6' tall paintings that need to be done. Two of them are of oldschool acting photos and the third one is an ear of corn advertisement. Ontop of that, there is a boat, waves, tons of woodgraining on bookcases and tables and signs. Did I also mention there is a 9'x16' oldschool troump loei thats supposted to look terrible of a dining room scene that needs to be done as well?

Not that much to do is two weeks, of course not!

Oh! and then he hands me the props list which is at the time aout 75 props, but it has grown to be at least 85 and it is still growing. I know we don't have all those props here and I'm not quite sure where I am going to get all of them, but I have to do all that too.

This sucks.

Do all that in two weeks, and go!

Monday & Tuesday 15, 16 June

I don't remember what we did on this day. But I'm pretty sure it sucked and one day involved us working until 2:30 in the morning and painting a grey square.

Sunday 14 June

First day of work!

Weirdly enough, we don't start work until 10am, strange I thought, but whatever.

We get there, and we have a company meeting with everyone introducing themselves and also them informing us about the theatre. It ended up being the Artistic Director telling us how the theatre has no special reason to still be around and how we make it keep going and how we have to do the best we can and be a team player and all this great pep talk encouraging stuff.

And I'm totally on board.

Until I realize that I am the only one with any form of Props or Paints in my contract title.


They give us an 'official' tour of the place. The props room is pretty big and decent as well as the other areas of the theatre. They then dismiss us to go where we need to go.

I don't know where to go so I head off with the 2 Carpentry interns and we find the TD. We find him and he asks whose the paint/props intern, I say I am and he points over to the corner of the scene shop and says "that's the paint kitchen"

This is what a "paint kitchen" means at this place:

  • a space that is approx 8' x 12'
  • about 12 brushes total, nothing larger then a 3" chip brush and about 75% of them are ruined because they had paint left in them.
  • a sink that I am told I'm not really allowed to use because it dumps into a 400-gallon holding tank and it costs a lot to empty that out, so if I could go around the theatre and wash everything in the kitchen sink, that would be great.
  • 3 quarts of supersat, with about a spoonful let in each of them.
  • no extra mixing buckets
  • a ton of unorganized house paint that has been donated.
  • no mixing space
  • no overheadlight so you can see what you're doing
  • no 5 gallon buckets
  • no bamboo sticks.
  • no lining sticks.
  • And most importantly: NO PAINT DECK!
Trying not to flip my shit I am asked by the TD to help them out for awhile.

Apparenyly "awhile" means all day......doing carpentry work.

Remind you that I am contracted as a PAINTS/PROPS INTERN

I spend the first day loading in about 30 platforms, and legging them up and screwing in 3" screws with the other 2 carp interns and whoever else was helping them that day.

There was one guy helping them that day who I have come to believe will be at the top of my shit list all summer. Not that this has anything to do with it, but I'm pretty sure he's the gayest most flamboyant hippe on the face of the earth and I don't think my voice was ever as high pitched and airy as his is at anypoint of my life--my goodness!

Anyways, in all this scene shops glory of being illequipped and not having certain tools (like dead blows and stuff) I go up to this guy and ask him if I can see his tapemeasurer because I needed it for something.

"What color is it?" he asks me
"Blue" I reply
"There, you saw it" he tells me, and walks away without giving it to me.

?!?!?!?!!??!?!? Really?! Seriously?!


By the end of the day I drove myself out to civilization and was virtually in tears for the rest of the night on the phone with my parents, boyfriend, and my mentor from college. Everyone had different things to say about it. My dad told me to pack my stuff and get the hell out of there, my mom said the same. My boyfriend only got my hysterical voicemail and didn't get the glory of dealing with my crazy snot face. (Mind you I'm walking around the parking lot at the grocery store snot faced to the max--I'm surprised no one called the cops on me at times). And then I talked to my mentor and his wife and they made me realize that I needed to find a reason to stay at this shit hole of a situation I've gotten myself into for the summer.

Is it fair? No, not at all. But I need to stay here unfortunatey. Why? Because there seems to be only 60 people in the theatre industry and everyone knows everyone and if I bail out of this dump I can bet you anything it's going to come back and kick me in the ass at some later point of my career.

So what do I do?

I aim to ruin the lives of these hippies I live with one day at a time.

Saturday 13 June

The night before I drove up to the theatre I worked at last summer to meet up with a bunch of people who had returned for this summer. It was good, but I think for the most part it was a poor move on my part considering I didn't want to leave and had a feeling that that was probably going to be the best night of my summer. I digress....

So I get in the car and start to drive the 2 hours from Stockbridge to Vermont. The drive was really nice, things are really pretty up here which is cool. While driving through Vermont there were random life size moose sculptures everywhere. That was pretty awesome considering they were all painted with landscapes or with patterns or designs on them. Some stores had a family of mooses outside, some just had one. Overall that was great.

And then I lost my cellphone reception.

I was told that this area was pretty dodgy on the cellphone reception. I didn't realize that meant not having service within a 15 mile radius of where I was staying.

I got to the theatre, which is this fairly tiny space-they basically put two civil war barns together with a little extra and called it home. Very cool, yes. I was told to go first to the theatre and someone would be there to meet me to bring me to the house. Okay.

No one was there.

I walked around and found an open door and figured that would be my best shot. Of course it was the door to the scene shop. Score!

Thankfully the TD was in there and was able to show me where I needed to go. It was all good. As he was showing me around a blonde girl comes bolting towards him yelling his name informing him that hes taking her job from her and to let her do it.

This girl is conveniently my new roommate.

She's sweet, yes, but reminds me a lot of Elle Woods and is happy and chipper all the time. (I think it's something you get from being in Company Management)

She shows me around, I get totally lost with the tour, and she says that she'll come with me in my car up to where we are staying and help me get situated.

"Did you bring a hairdryer?" is quite literally the first non-work realted question she asks me. This is going to be fun.

We come up to the house, it's pretty awesome. Its about 200 years old and is just this old house with a bunch of rooms. It smells like a giant woodburning stove, but I'm down with that, no biggie. We unpack my car and shortly after that we head out to the grocery store in the company van.

At the grocery store I get reception, so I have made that my destination for when I need to make contact with the outside world. The grocery store trip was fairly low key, but the car ride back was my first real introduction to what I had gotten myself into.

"I really love listening to the NPR cooking shows" the company manager tells us while we're driving back. Another girl and him start talking about food and all the different things you can make and how tasty they are and all that good stuff. And then I hear him say "I just love anything that comes from or tastes like a tree!"

A tree!?

Sigh. Okay. Hippies.

We get back to the house and there are balloons everywhere--it is my roommates 22nd birthday and everyone has thrown her a party, cool, yes. One girl who I haven't met before comes up to me and says
"Dude do you want a cookie?"
"What's in them?" I ask
"Bananna peels and coffee grinds" they tell me.


I politely say no thank you and excuse myself.

They partied it up all night. My roommate got plastered. I stayed in my room and read my scenic painting book. I had had enough for one night.

A note about all of this

I am currently up in Vermont working at a small theatre company that has about, 30 people total, including all actors. I've decided that the only way I will be able to make it through this summer is to be able to document everything and share it with others, semi cathartic I know, but I gotta do what I gotta do. Now time to recap the last 6 days.