Friday, March 15, 2013

Almost Repertory Theatre...

Repertory Theatre: Running two different shows at the same time, at the same venue, in two spaces.

In 2011, we added a smaller performance space to our already small theatre. We converted our Gallery space, (which was designed to showcase our many newspaper covers, reviews, photos, and history...but in actuality became the dumping ground for all of our extra theatre crap). We built a small stage, brought in 31 folding chairs, a small lighting and sound system and Voila! We created a new space for our smaller, edgier, independent, and let's face it, less attended shows.
We opened with "Bug", a dark, drug addled play written by Tracy Letts and led by guest director, the courageous Kirsten Clapp. This show riveted people to their seats and, because of the close proximity to the action, it thrust the unsuspecting audience into the tiny motel room where the play takes place. I distinctly remember an audience member say while leaving "...I feel like I just survived a plane crash!". I loved it, and our new "Little but fierce" Gallerie Theatre was born.
Since then, we have produced Classics (Prometheus Bound, Don Juan in Hell), Comedies (An Evening with Mr. Johnson, Big Baby), our trademark Edgy fare (The Goat or Who is Sylvia?), and even squeezed in a two person Musical (The Last Five Years). I am proud of this space and also happy to have the extra revenue it brings in.
Now, we have little down time between shows, because we can now perform plays while rehearsing others on our larger Mainstage. This has caused me to become very creative with scheduling. Just the other night, while rehearsing our upcoming high energy musical "9 to 5" on the Mainstage, we were also having a pick up rehearsal for the now playing "Big Baby" in the Gallerie. We could hear each other, and every few minutes, there was a distraction as the rehearsals powered  on.
This is the reason we can't have nice things, ie; a Repertory theatre. It would be impossible to give these two very different spaces the separation and attention if we utilized them at the same time.
So, our little journey continues. Maybe someday we will be able to afford to soundproof one or both of the spaces, but for now we just guerilla along, powering through seemingly impossible walls with our awesomeness. And, although not always easy, I don't think I'd have it any other way.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A New Perspective on Life, Love, People, and Performing.

On October 20, my Mother had a stroke. Thank God, we got her to the hospital and she was able to jump right into recovery and rehab and, as of today, she is doing a little better every day.
 But, this has indeed put my already hectic life into a tailspin. Doctor appointments, tests, various therapies (I'm an only child)...this is added to my current schedule of co-raising three boys, running Paper Wing Theatre Company, teaching Drama part time at a local Elementary and Junior High School, helping to create a new Non-Profit Theatre Company for Recovery, maintaining my 9+ year relationship with my sweetheart +Lj Brewer, and producing over 10 events and shows per theatre season.
I stupidly used to think I was "SOOOO Busy". I was like "No, I can't do this or that, because I'm SOOOO busy". Idiot. I used to have plenty of time for coffee and breakfast with the other Moms from my school after we dropped off the kids. I used to have hours of time to hand pick through potential props and costumes at every local second hand store at least twice a week. I used to take the long way to get errands done so I could listen to my current audio book. I look back now and see how much time I did have. I hate that girl that used to say how busy she was.
I hate her because she was naive. She was totally self possessed. She had no clue about how her life would change and just how unprepared she actually was. She took her easy life for granted, and never really enjoyed the individual moments she shared with herself or others.
Now, that girl (me) has become the master scheduler for everyone in the family. My soon to be retired Dad can take no more unpaid leave time without jeopardizing the hours in his paycheck. My Mom has eight different doctors. EIGHT. She sees half of them on a regular basis and 2 of them are in San Francisco. She has Physical and Occupational Therapy twice a week. I also try to take her shopping and to lunch weekly.  Long story short, I am her primary care person.
This is not a "woe-is-me" poor little Koly post. This is my job and she is my Mom. I am stating how much my new life has changed my perspective on a few key things.

Life: I now know that, if I choose, I am completely capable of living in the moment, for the moment. This means I can celebrate the happiness without fixating on the unknown future, IF I CHOOSE. Most days are filled with these moments.

Love: I knew my man was handsome. I knew he was smart. I knew he was funny, witty, charming, supportive, and fun. I had no idea until I needed him just how unselfish he could be. When my life screeched to a halt and was rerouted to my Mother's new schedule, this man dropped everything in his world to help me with mine. He ran our theatre; rehearsals and performances, tickets and publicity. He prepared and brought me healthy food at the hospital, including my favorite water. He was perfectly happy to be at my beck and call for every little thing, even if it was just to hold me while I cried. Our love had been fun and playful; now it is deep and bonded and real. There is a true commitment to our partnership, both at the theatre and our romance, that I have never experienced before. This has rocked us both to the core, and we are truly connected as soul mates.

People: Ah, the people! Before, I could lapse into a better than, smarter than, judgmental, pooh-head at the drop of a hat. People annoyed the f#$% out of me and I did not bother to disguise it.  I had my small group of friends and that was it.
Now, I notice how people feel. I notice Mothers and daughters and how they relate to each other. I see elderly people with walkers and people in wheelchairs. I notice nurses a lot more to. It's actually more than notice...I feel these people now, in a way I never did before.
People at the theatre, especially the volunteers....WOW. All we had to do was ask, and they jumped in to help. Letting them in to run things, make decisions was the best thing I've done in a while.

Performing: I want to have fun. I want to laugh. I want to be entertained and enjoy a night out. So do all of our patrons. Choosing the shows for this season, I noticed a lot less "in your face" edgy picks and more crowd pleasers. Sure, we made our name on edgy theatre, and certainly not every theatre can succeed on such, but I was happy to announce that our season this year was filled in with some more mainstream favorites.

We'll see how everything continues on, but right here, right now, things are grand.