I'm in a funk, and I apologize to anyone who normally reads me here that I have allowed this funk to detrimentally affect this blog, but I have.

I'm not sure why I'm in a funk... lots of reasons I suppose.

BFE Michelle is moving away. She already lived 3 hours from me in the hinterlands of CT, but she's leaving me for the city that the Mouse built in Florida. (Otherwise known as Orlando.) I don't begrudge her her success, it's a better job and better opportunities and closer to her family and warmer and her house will probably have a pool, and she can get Duke's mayonnaise whenever she wants... but it still makes me sad.

I continue to walk the line of emotion here at work. The shows are great. We just opened what is arguably the best show I have been a part of here, either this year or last, but personal relationship still elude me. There's no one here that I feel really close to, unlike last year, and that makes me sad.

Work in the rest of the world is also a problem. As a freelancer I always know that there will be dry periods and that there may be months that I will have to eat a lot of PB&Js and ramen, and I also know that I rarely have work lined up more than a few months in advance, but I don't have a heck of a lot on my plate when I get back to the city and the prospect of temping petrifies me, and makes me sad.

The last few days have been punctuated by a nagging dry cough and headaches that I am marking down to the symptoms of some weird summer cold, and being sick always makes me sad.

So, in general... sadness.

Life has continued though. Since blogging last I have been to the city twice, once for pleasure once for business. I have had two job interviews, one of which I got but then had to turn down because of conflict dates, and one of which I didn't get. I floated down the Delware river in a raft. I've seen many bears. Played a lot poker, sometimes winning, most times not. I've seen a movie or two, all of which were bad. I've been downloading and loving season 3 of Project Runway. In spite of myself I've been enjoying Marvel's "Civil War" storyline, even though I want very badly not to. A little of everything, a little of nothing, the way it should be I suppose.

The saddest part is that I must be enjoying my "wallow" somehow because I don't feel much motivation to change it, not that I know how I would change it even if I did.

Hopefully I'll be back on my feet and normal again in a week or two. I promise to try and drop by a bit more often.


One of the pleasures of being ahead of schedule is that we have time to do... nothing. The set for the next show is 80% complete at this point, the remaining 20% being mainly a function of needed some specialized construction materials that had to be specially ordered. Friday was the first day of the build and at approximately 2 p.m. we were finished. We spent the rest of the afternoon debating whether we were going hiking or simply going into town for ice cream. (Ice cream won out.) Saturday we took the day off and set out for a small town about an hour from here that we had passed on the way to the campgrounds. It's one of those artistic mountain towns that relies mainly on tourism so the main street is full of kooky shops and small diners. On the way there we spotted a few yard sales and flea markets that we stopped at, ostensibly props shopping but really just killing time. There were a lot of great finds, a working high 8 camera, a box of about 30 8 tracks (that included the soundtrack to the movie Convoy!), a fleece blanket printed with a portrait of Rocky Balboa... and my personal favorite find a board game called RSVP from the makers of Scrabble.

If you can imagine a cross between Scrabble and Connect Four then you might get close to this game. Each player adds letters one at a time with the goal of spelling words, and blocking your opponent from spelling theirs. The fun comes in the fact that words on the horizontal axis are backwards on your opponent's side. There is some fun strategy involved, especially in waiting out your opponent's moves and stealing their words before they can complete them for themselves. It's not quite as seductive a game as the woman on the box makes it appear to be, but fun nonetheless.

Tomorrow I'm headed into the city for a brief trip to do a little sight seeing, run a few errands, and have a job interview for a show that is being produced when I get back into the city. It will be good to be away from the woods briefly and back in civilization.


The rain finally subsided a few weeks ago. Things dried out considerably, dropping to the normal summertime levels of a few showers here and there. This week was the first week that the temperature reached any considerable high, getting into the low 90's in the afternoon. Weeks of wet followed by warm temps means one thing though: MOSQUITOS. They are everywhere. Large ones, small ones, the mean buzzy kind that seem to derive pleasure from whining around your ears. Bug spray doesn't seem to deter them, citronella candles don't seem to bother them, and everyone is going nuts.

This summer's theme seems to be pests: mosquitos, bears (which still visit regularly), and non-equity actors.

Three Down

As of 8 p.m. last night the third show of the season is open and playing to thunderous applause.... though I'm not sure why. This is by far the best selling show of the season so far, outstripping the previous show by huge percentages even though the previous show is smarter, funnier, sexier and better acted. The current show features a dozen small girls, (one of whom wears a curly red wig if you need a hint as to what the show might be) who run about the stage gleefully screeching songs. It's a fine show I suppose. The adults and most of the girls manage to act the show very well, the one purely adult number in the show is especially fun, and the design side looks great, (of course! but I mainly meant that the costumes were good, not just my stuff) I just don't understand why the show is so damned popular. I'd be willing to chalk it up to the relatives of the various girls buying out the house, except that every year about this time the theatre runs a survey in the programs asking the patrons to choose from a list of potential shows for next season. The winners so far this year: Cats, Funny Girl, and Oklahoma. Times like this really make me question why I do this job. Oklahoma at least has some sentimental value and a bit of charm, but the other two? Ugh. ESPECIALLY Cats. No one will ever successfully explain to me why that show is so stinking popular.

Tomorrow I start work on number 4, which is a unit set, (meaning that there are no set changes or big scenic shifts) so I estimate that it will be built by Monday, a full week ahead of schedule. That's good actually because it means that I can go into the next show with some spare time because it is the bear of the season. I'll need all the spare time I can muster to get it done I believe.

The More Things Change...

It's funny how everything here is the same, and nothing is as well. I am coming close to the halfway point of my time here this year and I finally feel like I am settled in. When I first arrived it felt as if I had been here all year really and that the last nine months in NYC hadn't happened at all. Then a few days later when things started getting rolling it felt like I was in a completely new place with no connection to last year.

First off very few people from last year returned, mostly the designers, and almost none of the staff. On the other hand a few people from two years ago returned, so an interesting dichotomy has been established between those of us who were here last year and ran things one way, and those who were here in years previous and ran things differently. Some of the changes from last year work, some didn't. The knowledge of previous years has made my work more efficient. It's been a balancing act. The work itself is about the same with the exception of the props person who makes the props produced last year look like they were made by a third grader.

The actors are the same way: the few returnees remember last year when most of the resident company liked each other at least, and got along well with the tech staff to boot. This year's group is surly and catty and not at all interested in much of anything outside their small musical theatre world. There are actors in the resident company who have not spoken a single word to me in the 6 weeks that we have been here. There are even a small handful that I am not 100% clear on their names. The talent levels in the resident company are also odd. Last year there was clearly a strong talent for either dance or singing in everyone. It was pretty clearly who was who in a brief time. This year no one seems to be very strong in either direction, and everyone seems pretty mediocre at both. Perhaps that is because this year was chosen on different purposes. Last year we just needed a generic chorus this year we specifically require a certain number of Asians, a certain number of black males and females, etc. in order to cast the shows properly, so the criteria for hiring is changed. There are of course a few standouts who will clearly have a career ahead of them, don't get me wrong. I just feel last year's cast was stronger all around.

In the end I'm happy to be back. I'm creating better, stronger designs because I have a better feel for the time limitations, and how to use the stock. I've also designed the entire season in a way that means pieces from every show will end up somewhere else later. At the end of the build period for the next show in fact the scenery for the final musical will be about 80% complete because pieces from every previous show will be doubling in. There are also all the fringe benefits of being in the woods, cooler weather than in the city, a break from concrete for a while... but I still can't help pining a bit for a "better" time past.