a little something extra

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mo' from IN

I would have to go considerably further east to get into actual MO. But, here is some mo'.

I have walked... past... both labyrinths. Haven't actually walked one yet because my schedule has prohibited. I tend to get up between 7:00 and 7:45, get some exercise, then shower and have breakfast. I'm in rehearsal from 9:00 to 5:00 with a break for lunch. So far, there have almost always been short things scheduled at 5:15, dinner at 6:30 (we take all our meals in common) and readings or other such official activities at 8 p.m. Go to bed sometime between 11 and 1, and get up and do it again. (Amen.)

The windows in that schedule are filled with conversations with the playwright and director I'm working with, with the University of Evansville students and recent graduates who are working at this festival, and with other artists who are working on other projects. Also with keeping up with my work email and voicemail messages. I'm trying to demonstrate to the Powers that Be at work how easy it is for the world to keep spinning while I work out of town.

So, yeah. I'm not spending so much time soaking in the small-town deliciousness and ecumenical but extremely sincere spirituality of New Harmony. But I'm doing what I came here to do, doing it well (so far, knock wood) and hoping to make more opportunities to do it in more places in the future.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

bonjour from Indiana

This week and next, I'm working at a new play development conference in the former Utopian community of New Harmony, Indiana. In addition to the many talented playwrights and other artists populating this conference, the town has many interesting things to offer.

The Roofless Church

Two different labyrinths


The play I'm working on is set in a rooftop apartment in Paris' 13th district. Hence the "bonjour."

Back to work!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

jean-pierre rampal!

It's code. If you don't understand it at first sight, don't worry about it. Just know that my nearest and dearest are making identical gestures and exclamations of joy, wherever they may be.

Once they're finished with the gesture and the exclamation, they may well wonder, "Why, pray tell, has she pushed the Famous French Flautist button? What deserves this level of instantaneous celebration?" Well, I'll tell you.

I have a tenant!!

After nearly a year of carrying the expenses of two households on one paycheck, and after an extremely unsuccessful first shot at a professional property management relationship followed by an equally unsuccessful few months of trying to get the place rented myself from 2,800 miles away, my new property management relationship has paid off. Last week my property manager called me to tell me that she had an application on my townhouse. I was able to answer her one remaining question over the weekend, so now the way is clear and the rent should start arriving next month!

I say again: Jean-Pierre Rampal!!!

This, however, is not the only good news. Last week I got to tell a playwright that my company wanted to produce his/her play, and tell another one that we wanted to commission a new play from him/her. That's the fairy godmother act that I always enjoy performing. Most of my job consists of telling playwrights "No, thank you." Among all that, the occasional chance to say Yes tastes incredibly sweet.

This week, my assistant K* is getting married. She'll be out of the office for the next three weeks, preparing for the wedding which will take place this Friday night, then enjoying her honeymoon. The person she's marrying is named Person. Seriously. His last name is Person. I don't know whether her in-laws refer to themselves collectively as the Persons or the People. (I fervently hope the latter, but somehow doubt it.) Anyway, when she comes back, she will be, legally, a Person. This amuses me to no end. (Not that that's difficult.)

More good news, more good news... my parents' show is up and running well, after lots of very hard work on their parts. And I'm sure, on other people's parts. My brother is getting offers of freelance work left, right and center.

So, before I do it again, I will give you one clue.

All together now...


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I survived!

The festival is over, it went well, and I'm still standing. Yay!

This week's tasks include getting ready for Pacific Chorale's next concert. The program includes four pieces by Gustav Holst (he of Planets fame) set on English translations of texts from the Rig Veda. The mixed chorus sings "To the Unknown God," then the women alone sing "To Varuna" and "To Agni" (two apparently known gods), and finally the men alone sing "Hymn to Manas" which I haven't heard yet -- we keep rehearsing them separately.

From the Rig Veda, we head straight into the Buddhist tradition by way of turn-of-the-century France. Lili Boulanger, a composer who only lived into her mid-20s (which makes me wonder whether she died in childbirth) composed Vielle Priere Bouddhique, which translates as "an old Buddhist prayer." We're singing that one in French.

After our intermission, we're singing Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem, a German Requiem. This was a revolutionary piece, in that it dispensed with the traditional texts of the Roman Catholic Mass for the dead, and replaced them with a libretto in its orginal German, with references to God but no specific Christian doctrine. It's also incredibly gorgeous, soulful music which I think the PC is poised to do justice to, with the able help of the Pacific Symphony. We'll hear our baritone and soprano vocal soloists for the first time in tomorrow's dress rehearsal. I'm looking forward to it.

In other news, Tripp's got hisself a church! Scroll to the May 7 blog post for details. Congratulations, Rev. Tripp! The community of Wilmette will be enriched by your and Trish's joining them.

I got to play my "fairy godmother" act for some playwrights yesterday, but that will have to wait for another post. I took today off, but the agenda is fully occupied by a stack of applications from emerging dramaturgs for spots on a panel at a conference later this summer. I'm on the panel to choose the panel, so today I'm devoting my time to reading their materials and preparing for the group call next week in which we'll make our decisions. Back to reading...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Yet More Press

Our public relations director should be awarded a bonus, or an extra week of vacation, or something. She's outdone herself, getting all kinds of media attention on a festival that they're not allowed to review!

Today's article should be the last one, except for a wrap-up that will come sometime next week.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Press is Good Press

Here's the Orange County Register's article about the festival. Another good one, though I think I'm misquoted, or at least paraphrased from the reporter's recording of our interview. My sentence structure is never that bad! Perish the thought!

And here is a link to an article about the festival in a weekly publication called Squeeze OC.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

All Press is Good Press

Here is a link to an excellent feature article in this morning's L.A. Times, about my festival. I understand that a good picture that accompanies the print version, but I haven't seen it yet. The photo session last week wasn't too undignified, so I have hope.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


The Festival presented several challenges today, but I think we've managed them all. The last play starts its rehearsal process tomorrow, and the national guests start arriving Thursday. By Sunday late afternoon, it will all be over.

When I produced the festival that was part of my job in Minneapolis, on the last day after I'd wrapped everything up I used to stop at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant on the way home and pick up takeout. I would have a beer or two (I rarely drink beer on its own, but it's a really good foil for Vietnamese food) with my takeout meal, then get twelve hours of sleep. When this festival finishes, I'm considering the possibility of going from the theatre to a Mexican restaurant near my apartment when the last show comes down around 5 p.m., having one or two margaritas and some food, then going home and crawling into bed at 7:00 to sleep straight through. By then I'll probably be too wired for this plan to work, but it's fun to contemplate from this distance!

While I wait for my appointed time to enter this evening's rehearsal, I have to tell a friend that I can't accept the directing opportunity he offered me. I've pushed the calendar around from every direction, and I still can't make the dates work. Darn full-time job!