Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Hour at St. Patrick's Cathedral

One of my favorite places in NYC is Saint Patrick's Cathedral. So when I had some time one day before meeting my mom and stepdad lunch I decided to stop in for a few moments.

A few subway stops and a 10 minute walk later I found myself slipping into one of the pews at St. Pat's for a bit of reflection. It's an amazing place, quiet and peaceful, despite the tourists wandering through with their cameras. As I sat there reflecting and thinking tears started to flow. For good and bad, happy and sad things. I won't share everything here, some of things are just for me. But some of the tears were happy tears, thankful tears. Tears for all the things I've been given. Tears for how lucky I am to be in NY, to be doing what I love, to be with people I care about. Tears of thankfulness, tears of appreciation, tears of love.

I found myself wishing for things that can be, for things that can never be. It felt good to take a few moments and center myself. Put things into perspective, let things out and sit and listen for an answer. It came in an odd way, an overwhelming feeling of calmness. No definitive answer, no impulsive need to do anything, no immediate answer, what I was left with was definitely the sentiment of don't worry about it. What will happen will happen and it will be okay.

I sat for a few more moments enjoying that feeling and then quietly got up and walked back out onto the crowded city streets.

In No Particular Order -- Thoughts from New York Fringe

I haven't yet found the words to fully describe the last ten days of my life. Any word or phrase I come up with seems to fall flat, nothing really captures the emotions, the energy, the fun, the life that occurred during our time in New York.

To say New York was a dream come true, seems cliche, but it was. It absolutely was. It reminded me why I do what I do, what I want to do, why what I do is important. To experience that in New York City, to work on a stage in New York City was an incredible experience that is now really just hitting me.

I could say it was life changing. Again it sounds too contrite, or passe, but it was. I learned things about myself that I will keep with me forever. I came out of New York a slightly different, better, stronger person. I left New York with a different energy, different ideas, different thoughts. But I left more confident in who I am, who I want to become and that for me does truly define the phrase "life changing."

I could say it was an experience, but that sounds too ambiguous, too vague. It was the culmination of over 14 months of work, planning, rehearsals, performances and more. It was a chance to live in true theatre city, to become part of that atmosphere for two weeks. It was a chance to explore other options, to try new things to be immersed. For all those reasons it was absolutely an experience.

I could say it was everything I wanted it to be and more. It truly was but that sounds too over the top. I left New York with no regrets. I accomplished so many things, saw many other things, lived and explored freely. It was fantastic to be free from the constraints of normal life. To just be able to focus on a good performance and enjoying the experience.

None of this can truly summarize the 10 days I spent in New York this summer. Maybe in time I'll come up with something that can be the short and sweet 10 word answer. There's a part of me that hopes I'll never be able to sum it up that quickly. So for now, if you ask me how New York was, be prepared to listen for a while!

Figuring Out How to Say Goodbye

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I had no idea how I was going to say goodbye to Friends Like These. For now its journey has ended, which means my journey with it has ended. How do you say goodbye to something that has taken up 14 months of your life? A project you completely and fully believe in, something you've focused on for so long, that life without it doesn't seem quite right.

We did say goodbye, first in tears, then with photos, then with more tears and then a few more tears. It was a perfect ending to a perfect run. Three amazing NY reviews, listed as one of the things to see in NYC this week, we were truly embraced and blessed by the city of New York. To end on such a high note was indeed an incredible feeling.

The emptiness was still there (it will be there for a while). What to move on to is a question many of us are pondering now. I decided to keep a part of Friends Like These and my New York journey close to me to remind me of the memories, the experience, and the journey. So on Sunday I made my way over to the East Village, to a shop named "Whatever," and had an artist place two cherries on the inside of my right ankle. Cherries for The Cherry Pit Theatre -- the first theatre I SM'd in in New York City. Inside on Cherry are the letters FLT. The first show I stage managed in New York, the show that gave me so many experiences, helped me grow in so many ways, introduced to me incredible people and helped me create amazing bonds with some great friends. These letters also tie me forever to one of my best friends, Greg Crafts, without him none of this would be possible and so I proudly put the initials of his play inside the first cherry. Inside the second cherry are the numbers 14, 31, 4. Standing for 14 months, 31 performances, 4 productions.

It felt right to say goodbye to Friends Like These this way. Now no matter where I go or what I do it will always be there, reminding me why we do what we do and why all of this is absolutely worth it.

The End of the Journey (For Now) Fringe Day 9

The last of the lists. I promise, in fact my place for the next few hours is to take a bit of time and extend these lists, reflect on the more important facts write a few more entries. But to finish what I've started here's the Day 9 list:

Sleep (much needed)
Breakfast at the diner at the Metropolitan/Lorimer stop (where the G train meets the L train)
Back to our place
Clean and pack
Taxi to airport
Goodbye NYC
Five hour flight
Home to LA

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Moving On -- Fringe Day 8

Yet another list, I'm sorry :)

Breakfast at the Oldest Bar in New York, near Union Square with Jenn's family
Morning with Jenn at South Street Seaport
Text Message from Greg made me jealous, I want want he's getting
Discussion with Jenn, I'm getting what he's getting :)
Travel to East Village
Mysterious Facebook posts from Jenn
One hour later something new on my ankle (I'll post more later)
Dinner with Jenn and Greg
Off to Fringe Festival Awards
Back to Brooklyn for our last night in NYC :(
Not ready to go back to real life
New York has been good to me!

Closing -- Fringe Day 7

I'll write a bit more later on my feelings on closing the book on Friends Like These, for now here's the Fringe Day 7 list:

Slept in a bit (very nice)
lunch with Greg and Jenn's families at a pizza place in Times Square, used to be a church, very cool
Last run of Friends Like These
Dinner with Jenn and Greg's families near the theatre
Ice Cream and Serendipity with Sarah, Matt, Jenn and Greg
Long subway ride home at 2am
Short list -- good day :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Mess is What I'll Be

How do you say goodbye to something you've worked on for 14 months. How do I do the show tomorrow knowing this is probably the very last time I'll run this show. This is a project I've believed in, lived with and loved for nearly 1.5 years. We've closed before, but always with the phrase, "can't wait to do it again in ______."

Those comforting words aren't around anymore. Tomorrow truly is the end. The very lasts. I hate goodbyes. I can do "see you later" very well. I've done it three times with this show, but goodbye is an entirely different ball game. This truly is goodbye.

I want to savor it, remember it, enjoy it. This has truly been one of the more defining shows in my career as an SM. Not because it's technically challenging, but because I've never been with a show for this long. It's part of me, part of my routine. And so tomorrow as the lights go out on the final song plays, the cast takes their last bow and the lights go out on Friends Like These I can guarantee that I will be taking it all in through teary eyes that don't want to say goodbye.

Family Reunions -- New York Fringe Day 6

Day Six list:

Family Day -- in New York to see the show were my family, Matt's family, Jen's family.
More Families tomorrow
Morning Coffee at Starbucks
Reading another great review (that makes us 2 for 2!)
Train to Manhattan
An hour in St. Patrick's Cathedral
Walk towards Central Park
Down to Wall street to meet my family
Lunch with family
Walk through South Street Seaport
New dress
Buy consumable props (I finally remembered tonight)
Head over to theatre
Largest audience yet
Fantastic show
Birthday cupcake with cast and Jen B.
Birthday dinner (after cupcakes -- we have priorities) with Jen B, the cast and friends
Walk back to subway with Jenn and Greg
Can't believe we have only one show left.

The Arrival of Jenn and the Sun -- New York Fringe Day 5

The Day 5 List:

Jenn arrived
The sun came out
Morning in Central Park
Ride back to Brooklyn to make sure Greg is awake
Fantastic performance by our incredible cast
Dinner with Jenn's Brother, Andy, Jenn and Greg in Times Square
Wandering through Times Square and Toys R US
Ride back to Brooklyn
Update facebook
Write a bit
Cravings for chocolate shakes
Decision to go to the diner
Long wait for the G-train
Chocolate shakes with Greg
Back to the G-train, wait for many minutes
Back to our neighborhood
Must sleep!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adventures in the Rain -- NY Fringe Day 4

I know I'm copping out and I promise a more complete and story worthy version of our NYC adventures at a later time. But for now the lists are all I can do!

More rain, wet again...I'm getting used to it and kind of starting to enjoy it
Showing Sean Manhattan in 3 hours or less: Central Park (the southern tip), Rockafeller Plazer, Radio City, Times Square, Chinatown, Little Italy, the financial district, hot dog in front of the New York Federal building
Subway back to Brooklyn
Seeing Sean leave :( We'll miss him
Dinner with Greg at great Pizza place
Walks around SoHo and the village while waiting for our late night show time
Coffee at Starbucks
Amazing show
Late night ride back to Brooklyn
Still Raining -- still wet
Late night conversation with great friend
Sleep around 5am
Up at 9am off for another adventure in this fantastic city :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Opening Day -- New York Fringe Day 3

Walking to Starbucks
More rain
Walking to theatre
Opening show at The Cherry Pit
Stage Managing a show in New York City -- Still can't quite believe it
Mets game with Greg -- more rain
late night subway rides
walking through our section of Brooklyn in an attempt to find a diner that was actually to stops away from us -- more rain
diner conversations at 4am
walk back from subway -- more rain
normal life just won't seem as exciting anymore

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Walking in the Rain -- New York Fringe Day 2

Thoughts, Memories and Adventures from Fringe Day 2:

More Rain!
Pulling prop and costumes suitcases through the subway system
Ignoring the dirty looks from the commuters as we squished ourselves and the giant suitcases into the already packed L train
More walking in the rain with luggage
Tech run at The Cherry Pit
Playing with a light board that has 40 channels, all working
Dunkin Doughnuts coffee
Getting lost, turning around
Getting lost again, turning around again
Union Square Farmer's Market with Sean, Ryan and Matt
The G train towards Church Ave -- scratch that, the G train towards Queens
Grocery shopping in Brooklyn
Making Lasagna with help from Sean for the cast dinner
Dinner with cast and friends
Wine and Beer
Ms. Pac Man, Beer, bar in Brooklyn
More time with cast
Back to bar for more Ms. Pac Man
Bars that don't close until 4am
Crawling into bed at 4:30am
Slowly falling in love with this city

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And So It Begins -- New York Fringe Festival Day I

We have arrived in New York Fringe Festival! All of us along with our postcard, programs, props and costumes, we're all here. I still can't completely believe it. Perhaps it will begin to set in tomorrow as we go through our tech run at the theatre.

Sean, Jen, Corwin and I arrived bright and early this morning off the Los Angeles red-eye. I was quite proud of Sean and I as we managed to correctly take the airtrain from JFK to Jamaica Station and successfully get on the E train to Brooklyn. That's when things started to go wrong. We were supposed to take the E train to Ely/23rd and switch to the G train. It seems that the G train is currently being renovated and so we were told to get off the E train at a different stop and take the free shuttle. We did that, but the bus driver told us to get off at the wrong stop and so we ended up walking, with our luggage, in the rain, approximately 1.5 miles from Queens to Brooklyn. I can't even begin to tell you the number of odd looks we got from native New Yorkers. As my step-brother later said, it was probably because we looked like a really odd homeless pair. So that was the first time I got wet today. Since then I've been able to say the words "I'm wet again" about 6 more times.

Which leads me to an important piece of information -- It rains in New York in the summer -- I know, I know, being from Philadelphia this bit of information really shouldn't surprise me. I can't quite say I was surprised by it, more insulted by it. It does not rain in the summer in Los Angeles, end of story, no exceptions. Rain complicates things and it makes you wet.

I'm sure I should have much more to say about today, but considering that I've nearly been up for a full 24 hours and I need to be up a bit early tomorrow I'm not sure I'm quite thinking properly right now.

What I do know is:

1. I am in New York City (Brooklyn to be precise)
2. I will be here for 9 days!
3. Tomorrow I will run a tech rehearsal in a theatre in New York City
4. My name is printed in a Playbill program as SM of Friends Like These
5. I will forever be grateful to Greg for writing this incredible piece that has given 5 actors, two designers, a director and me the chance to be performing in New York
6. I will forever be thankful to Sean, the director for asking me to share this adventure with him
7. I absolutely have the best job in the world

Good night New York, I can't wait to see adventures what you bring us tomorrow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Happiness

One of the highlights of my summer has been rehearsing and running Super Sidekick. I realized looking through my blog entries that I've barely mentioned it, but it has been the fun haven among the running around and business of all the other productions. I can count on Super Sidekick, both the play and the cast to make me smile. It's just pure fun and for a few hours every Sunday for the past six weeks that's what we've been able to enjoy, pure fun. Sadly it closed today but I wanted to record some of my highlights from the past six week adventure into theater for children.

* The addition of the new song, Final Encounter and that Scott did manage to get to sing some of it.
* The incredible fight choreography done during the song that had children standing up in their seats because they were actually afraid for Inky
* The child hecklers, that when prompted to repeat the phrase, "Don't Feed the Bears" responded with "Do Feed The Bears" and Scott's quick response to the little six year old "Excuse me sir, but do I come to your place of business and heckle you, I don't think I do!"
* The little girl who wanted to tell Inky all about her fear of the dark, so much that he had to tell her they could talk about it later.
* The sold out houses
* The kids who couldn't wait to meet Inky and the Princess after each show
* The adorable ninja koala ears and choreography
* The weekly intermission cast Scrabble game

I could go on and on as there were so many good memories from this show. For now Super Sidekick goes back on the shelf, it may reappear next year for Hollywood Fringe and if it does I will happily take my place as the stage manager of this adorable musical.

For now attention must turn to Friends Like These and our New York adventure. A week from now I'll be in NYC. I'm not sure it's sunk in yet, I'm not sure it will until I'm on the plane. We have a lot to do this week, including fed-exing a box of costumes (that's the easy part) and a box of prop weapons, (that's the hard part, how exactly does one send a bunch of PVC pipe and foam wrapped in duct tape across the country. Some of these pieces are taller than me). I'm hoping the guys at the Fed-Ex place won't laugh too hard when I bring everything into their store and ask them to pack them for me.

As my summer winds down I realize I owe huge amounts of thanks to Greg Crafts, he is the writer of both Friends Like These and Super Sidekick and without him my summer would not be nearly as exciting. Because of him I get to go be a Stage Manager in New York for a week and because of him, my Sundays have been exceptionally enjoyable. I can't really ask for more than that!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Old Script

No matter how much I try I can't get myself to use the new Friends Like These script. I actually printed out the newest version, something I haven't done for the previous two remounts of the play. The new version with re-writes incorporated into the script, the intermission removed and all the other changes neatly typed in placed was hole-punched and placed into a new black spiral notebook, but I can't bring myself to switch to it. I like my old one, the changes are written in pencil, it has three generations of set changes, and lighting and sound cue notes written in the margins, it has names of original cast members, understudies, and now new cast members scribbled on blank pages. It's somewhat like my security blanket, with that script I know the show, I feel safe and at home, I know each page, I know exactly where each cue is written. It's the difference between a brand new book and one that has been read so many times it's dog-eared and creased. Both tell the same story, but one feels more comfortable, more lived in, more read, more loved.

I went to rehearsal tonight fully intending to use the clean new script, to write in new cues, get rid of the clutter of the old generations of this show, but I just couldn't do it. It felt like I was cheating or ignoring the history and the past lives of the production. And so after a few seconds I made the decision that the shiny new script in the new black spiral notebook will not be accompanying me to New York next weekend, I will be carrying the old one, the one with loose pages due to the holes wearing out, the one with all the pencil marks and re-writes written in above and below other lines, the one in the familiar light blue notebook with the blue and purple post-notes sticking out to mark the sound and light cues, the one that reminds me in big capital letters to "WAIT FOR BRIAN" so that I never again cut him out of the last part of a scene, that's the one that will fly to NY, that is the script that will go to the theater and that is the script that will watch the last five performances of this show. It seems fitting, this script and I started this journey together, it seems appropriate that we should get to finish it together.