15 January 2009

The Green Room

Traditionally, a green room is a room located close to a performance space. It is used as a place for actors to hang out before their cues are called to prevent them from lurking behind the set and disrupting the performance. The green room is also intended to be a public area, somewhere for members of the audience/actors' family to come after the performance to meet the actors and technicians and mingle with them. Blessedly, these rooms usually aren't painted green. At least, ours isn't...

Apparently, this room is welcome to anyone - or so I heard one of my theater professors saying while giving a tour to some people I didn't recognize - but the theater students have claimed it as their own. Its our territory, our hang out place, our turf. Some of the strangest and most interesting conversations I've ever heard have taken place on those dark green couches. I'm not sure which is more interesting: being in the conversation from the start or walking into the middle of it. Some of the topics we've discussed include:

the election - This was very interesting since everyone has such different feelings when it comes to politics. My best friend is a Libertarian and most of the students around me are Democrats. I don't hold to a straight-ticket vote, but I know I'm more Republican than Democrat. I also know that, more often than not, I'm seriously outnumbered in this room.

the inauguration - See above. Though I do support the President Elect, I saw no real purpose behind stopping the lecture so we could watch the inauguration. Then again, I've rarely understood anything that disturbs my studies, so it's nothing personal against Obama.

our school's parking problem - Man, am I glad I'm not commuting anymore!

how do mermaids have babies? - I won't even go into how this subject came up...or the answer that the carpenters came up with.

gripes about professors, parents, other students, the school's administration, etc. - An old standby. I always try to take my classmates' opinions with a grain of salt when it comes to the question of which professor to take.

if you were a serial killer, what would you want to be known for? - I've had fun with this one. Scared a few people too.

a costumed rehearsal dinner for a wedding (Marvel on one side, DC on the other) - One of the carps shared this tale. It sounded like something to be at.

what's your drag queen name? - According to the formula (first pet's name + first street you've lived on) mine would be...wait...what was the first street I lived on? Mom!

redecorating the green room (murals, an effigy of the department head, posters from shows, etc.) - This subject has been hashed and rehashed. Conclusion: the ideas are too far-fetched, we don't have enough space, we don't have the resources, and/or we're working too much during the semester to bother with decorating the space we all seem to live in when we're not in class.

dog grooming - Somebody else's hobby/side job. A few of the folks in the department can get pretty caught up in this. I usually head out to the loading dock when this comes up because they can (and have) talk for hours on end.

what new look might be required for a certain play - Since the designers of whatever production are usually sick of the script, they're not always involved. If they are, it's likely to be through sharing what they've done or explaining the guidelines they were provided by the director. Sometimes, this can be fun - if you leave the director and the money out of the picture.

which plays we will never be able to perform (Rent, Arcadia, etc.) - "Gee, I wish we could do {insert title of play here}" This list always seems to grow. We don't have the money/talent/numbers for the cast. The list of reasons is blessedly shorter.

"This one time..." - Stories of past productions... Like the time our now graduated master carp moved a platform that measured 8' x 10' and was hanging 8' in the air, supported by struts. It needed to move mere inches, but would take a lot of people...or so we thought. The 6' 2" guy, who looks like he should be named 'Bubba,' gets on a stepladder and swings his fist. Yes, he [I]punched[/I] the second floor of the set into alignment. All of a sudden, people stopped goofing off in the scene shop...

During Godspell, one cast member injured four or five other cast members in a single performance. The story is that she had made a deal with her mother - $20 for everyone she incapacitated without missing a cue. Then there was the time an actress' nose was broken by an actor's foot in the middle of a performance. And, of course, the headset chatter of the techies during any performance or the "very different story" of Godspell given by the shadows on the wall - a claim made by the stagehand who spent 2 hours a night crouched under a platform with nothing to do until the finale of the show. So many interesting stories. I love collecting them.

And that's just a small glimpse of a few of the conversations that take place in the green room. Which did you least expect? Which was your favorite?

Relaxing and wondering

The first week of classes has almost come to a close. I've spent over $100 on textbooks and will be able to bump that figure to over $150 once I get my book for health, which was sold out when I tried to buy it today. In these next weeks, things will start kicking into a higher gear, the pace continuing to pick up as the spring season officially starts. After that, I'm sure I'll miss this week, its slower pace, its moments of boredom. We've got mid-terms right after our second production, West Side Story, which it seems the entire department is involved in. Perfect timing, as usual.

Although I know all this is coming, I'm not as stressed yet, possibly because I'm holding smaller roles in these first two productions. For the children's play the first week of February, I'm running the sound board, getting to monitor and operate about a dozen microphones while listening for cues to play sound effects. Since I'm not the sound designer, I don't have to find them. Right now, my job is easy. I get to worry about nothing other than class until the costume parade. While everyone analyzes the fit, overall look and color of each outfit, I'll just be making sure I can attach a mic to it. After that, though I'm sure I'll get to help with the alteration, my work doesn't really start until the first dress rehearsal.

As part of the run crew for West Side, my job will be similar and easier at the same time: no costume parade to worry about unless I'm given a project in the shop, someone's outfit to help make for the show. I'm not sure what I'm doing in that play yet; I just hope I'm not stuck backstage as a dresser. That role just doesn't interest me. I'd much rather get to do spotlight op again, like I did for Godspell.

Other than wondering about what's coming, I don't have much to do. I've done what homework I'm capable of before my textbooks get to me and have been reviewing where I could, like in Spanish. I'm attending all my classes, even health, which I'm already hating. Still, I'll grit my teeth and muddle through it, if only to keep from having to repeat the boring class. I just can't fathom the way these coaches speak, telling their classes that we'll be working out one day a week as if it were some sort of fun treat. Sure, it's a break from lecturing, but I wouldn't consider it fun by any stretch of the word. It's possible I'm still seething from the $60 book that I won't be able to refund at the end of the semester since its an unbound text.

Oh well. C'est la vie!