Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snapshots, Part III

Chihuly Irises (I think that's what they were) Lobby of the Spencer.

Chihuly's 'Sunset Tower' in the glassed-in lobby of the Spencer against a backdrop of white mountains.

This is my kind of theatre.

Me, trying to be a Chihuly flower...

Okay, this one is from Albuquerque. I guess I like to take pictures of people sleeping. But look at how her blanket is coming along!

Like Sands Through the Hourglass...

So go the days! I've been having trouble logging into Blogger for a few days, but now that my Cookies are in order, we'll hit the rest of New Mexico and carry on from there!

The Spencer

Nestled in the mountains of New Mexico near the beautiful resort town of Riudoso, the Spencer Theatre is a 24million dollar complex built by the late Jackie Spencer, with monies left over from her Wall street inheritance. Bravo, lady! The story goes she put up the money and said, "I want the best of everything." And she got it. From a distance it looks like a giant white wedge or some bizarre weapon - a cannon to destroy the moon, according to Alan and Dan.

The lobby has two levels, one room with a chic bar, and is dotted with glass sculptures by Chilhuly, from Seattle. Quite remarkable stuff. I'm putting up a post of just pictures. Along with the decoration, the stage is one of the best we've seen. As the TD put it, "We think she's the only person who ever spent more money on the actual stage and equipment than on making the house look good." For instance, their lightboard is so new and sophisticated that it couldn't read our disk!

Needless to say - but I will say it - it was a wonderful day. They also fed us an incredible, nearly gourmet lunch and dinner. They have a wall o' fame where the countless shows that have gone through leave their show logo and cast signatures. We added ours (drawing compliments of Yours Truly) and went on.


Above you see the Pope Joy Hall's very red curtain! The space is wonderful and we expected a smooth easy day. So much for the plans of mice and men. The lightboard began having fits throughout load-in and then just as Alan was settling in to take a last look through cues and call it a day, the light board shut itself off and wouldn't turn back on. Scrambling ensued and Alan worked right up until house open to ensure that we would have good looking lights for the show. He programmed our cues into submasters on the local board so that each could be brought up by bringing up a slider (rather than just pushing a button, with a properly functioning board). We're lucky to have someone so quick on his toes.

It also just goes to prove my theory about worrying. If you haven't scrolled down that far I'll state it again. We worried about the Thespians load in, the drive to Billings, and countless other days we predicted would be rough and difficult but we got through relatively smoothly. They say that 97% of the things you worry about never happen. What does that mean? It means it's the things you never even thought of to worry about will be the ones to swim up and bite your leg off. (Bringing that to a logical conclusion means we should worry about everything in order to prevent it, right? But maybe I'll skip that and give my heart a few extra stress-free years...)

Meanwhile, we then enjoyed a day off! We lived in Albuquerque for several years of my childhood and so everything is vaguely familiar to me there. Unfortuntely I had been groaning my way through an uncomfortable stomach sickness so I spent much of the day in bed feeling sorry for myself before I went out for awhile.

'Old Town' is a fun part of town with several historical buildings (the old church!) and heaps of overpriced New Mexico trinkets and delicious local things to eat. I spent a little money on some souveniers for Mom, Dad, and Jenn since they have sentimental value. Then it was back to the hotel for a massage (oh yes), dinner, and some quality time with HBO.

...tour is rough, let me tell you.

Thank you, New Mexico. Onward to the Lone Star State!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Land of Enchantment

On to New Mexico!

About that snow... so much for our dreams of sunny desert skies. Interstate and many highways were closed outside of Hays and we had to take an alternate, calling eachother to make sure no one had slid off the road or gotten lost.

Slushy, snowy highways finally found us in Raton, New Mexico ("the Rat" in Spanish), where we settled into the charming Microtel. My room had a table, sofa and lots of chairs so I hosted a little get-together where we enjoyed drinks, snacks and a game of Hoopla! (won two games, lost one).
The Shuler

Another beautiful old opera house with intricate decorations... and a tiny stage floor. We cut our deck floor, squished the furniture onstage and managed to make most of the walls fit.

The day was slow and cold. It snowed on us during the load in and one local crewman went sliding down the metal ramp as he was carrying a wall. As Alan was trying to pull out the truck ramp his foot happened to be planted on a sheet of ice and thanks to physics, he went sliding under the truck. It's moments like that I wish I had 24 hour video footage going. Ah well.

We had a good crowd and survived the small stage to enjoy a lovely drive on to Alto the next day. Near the resort of Riudoso (where I recall going on a family trip when I was young, stayed in an A-Frame cabin and built a pine needle city with my sister).

Weather: Gorgeous!

Mood: Upbeat and adventurous!

Wildlife spotted... a herd of antelope. Roadrunner! (state bird). And cacti. I guess that isn't wildlife..but it is alive. In the wild.

Food: Excellent meal at Stella's (Estelle's?) In Las Vegas, New Mexico, in 'historic old downtown'. It was run down but had lots of character. We found a music store with an adorable couple who gave us some great New Mexico driving tunes and the great tip for lunch - where I recieved an education about Mexican food and probably the best enchilada I've ever had. Then a bookstore - always a must-see.

And on to Alto...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On and on and on...and on. And On.

All right. So I fell behind in posts. You must now endure a Reader's Digest version of the last couple of weeks so that I can feel caught up and do better around the next time.

After Billings came beautiful Avon Colorado!

The theatre: Vilar Center for the Arts.

Located under a skating rink in tucked away in the Beaver Creek ski resort, the Vilar center is just part of an overwhelmingly rich area nestled in the snowy mountains.
They sealed up the hole in the elevator we used to use to send our walls down on a chain hoist so we carried walls through the house.

Meal: Chicken Tortilla soup at the Dusty Boot for lunch. Sushi for dinner. Mocha.

Fun Activity of the Day: Ice skating! Yes, we rented skates and went skating! I didn't even fall down once and actors went on with no broken ankles to speak of.

The lovely Vilar center..

Next up: Fort Collins!

High points: Scenery, amazing food and coffee shops, the Brewery Tour ( New Belgium Brewery is incredible. Eco-conscious, good to their employees..if you drink beer, drink their beer!)

More high points: The Lincoln Center where we peformed! Crew, space, shows..all marvelous.

Highest point: Free time during the day. We stayed in FoCo for a couple of days in a hotel that was walking distance from an array of excellent food, coffee (The Starry Night cafe!) and ice cream. Hazelnut and chocolate gelato? We don't need to say anymore.

Meanwhile, the show spread its wings during our brief settlement and it is sheer pleasure to watch.

Somehow...sometimes having a day off still doesn't make you perky at night.

Next... Hays, Kansas!

We thought that leaving the Northwest behind would bring us into sunshine and rainbows...

Kansas hid itself from us for most of the drive in a shroud of fog and rain. Flocks of daring birds liked to test Nora's willpower to not swerve, and fluttered in startling panic around the vehicle intermittently throughout the state.

We reached Hays and found the local Hastings (where I went to get coffee) only to discover that their 'cafe' was a push-button crappacino machine. I was a little heartbroken but bought myself a ethernet cable and soldiered through.

I don't want to talk about my trout dinner at Montana Mike's.

As for the theatre, it was lovely. The load in was awesome, the local crew were a blast and good to work with, they had all kinds of food for us which we descended upon in true locust fashion, and the show was beautiful again. A local news station has segment that did a bit on our production and 'behind' the scenes.. I did what was probably a lousy interview, as did Marie (but probably more adorable and less lousy), and the local crew filmed our record-breaking load out! It was incredible and I plan to show everyone I know the video so that can see a bit of what we're doing.

Showing their state spirit with the decoration scheme..

Katie's expression summed it up for us all. Didn't we leave all this behind?

Next up.. Raton, New Mexico - the end of snow? Stay tuned...

Dudes, Pirates and Hoopla

Next stop: Billings, Montana!

Last year we skipped the Alberta Bair theatre, so it was a new stop for Yours Truly ( as stage manager, anyway). However, we did stay at the Dude Rancher, our old standby because it's right across the street from the theatre. So close. Yet so far when you have work to do!

On a personal note, a dear friend of mine was moving cross country and arranged her grueling driving schedule so that she and her friend could stop through Billings and say hi. I played host to them and a couple of cats and we saw Pan's Labrynth (brilliant and beautiful!) went shopping, bought a game of Pirates and played Hoopla! with some of the other company members while overindulging in a variety of tasty icecreams.

Yes, and we did a show! In the funky Alberta Bair with its sideways leaning seats, with a Pilsbury dough-boy staring me in the face.

...sometimes, there's just nothing else to say.


More thespians?

Yes! But this is an extra special case of thespianism. Every year the high schools from around Montana round up all their drama geeks and have a convention hosted by the University of Montana to show off their skills, enjoy performances, take workshops and geek out in harmony.

The Rep always performs a show just for them, on a night they have a grand banquet and after they do some theatrical presentations. THey are the best audience we have. They want to be us; actors, designers, technicians all. From the cheering, applause and vocal reactions it feels more like being at a sporting event with passionate fans than an ordinary night of theatre.

We toodled out of Butte at a liesurely pace, as we couldn't load into the theatre in Missoula until 5:30. That's right. Our record load-in time thus far was four and a half hours, and we had two. I had a confident feeling the entire day, although the slushy gray road conditions grated at it the longer we went, not to mention the high pitched, consistent beeping from the brake warning system in the truck (I rode with Derek that morning). We managed to drown it out with some carefully selected music although I have to say that the impact on my eardrums might have been worse than trying to be Zen about the beeping.
But I digress.
In any case, we checked in at the motel, killed time - I showered, had dinner at Liquid Planet with Lauren (I had a free crepe coming my way!) and napped.
Despite our worries, our home team backed us up with a huge crew, many of whom had helped to put the set together and in the gung-ho, burning daylight spirit of an old West barn raising, we slapped her up in an hour and fifteen minutes and time for paint touch ups before we opened the house doors.

It just goes to show that the old saying is true... 97% of the things you worry about never happen.

It's the things that will creep up on you out of nowhere that should keep you up at night.

The Mother Lode

We won't comment on how long it's been since the last post... we will just catch up and forge ahead!

Next stop: Butte, Montana and the Motherlode theatre. Uncannily, the Motherlode's cornerstone was laid in 1923, just like the Ellen Eccles of wonderful Logan, Utah. However, when the ML's cornerstone was laid it was as a hall built by the Masons to rival the Catholic YMCA across the street. (I favor the Motherlode for architectural appeal), and then as the Fox theatre. My grandmother, a Butte native, has some wonderful stories about her times at the Fox theatre. And now it is the Mother Lode, always a good but bitterly cold and snowy stop on our journey.

I love the decoration of the building... it looks a bit like a beehive on the inside. Does anyone know the significance of the pattern that repeats in the decoration? It looks Middle-Eastern or Indian to me...

Anyone know what this is about?

Marie enjoys some wide open stage time.

The show has been getting some really beautiful response from audience. Tears and laughter, people making a point to come up to us after and tell us how much they enjoyed it - sending letters and emails and telling their friends.

Who could ask for anything more?

Next up.. more Montana!