Monday, August 15, 2005

day one

Hello there blogsphere. It is I, Moe, your friendly guide to the making of a new, exciting piece of theater. I'm here in New York City, in the borough of Brooklyn in the up-and-coming neighborhood known as DUMBO, at St. Ann's Warehouse. St. Ann's is neither a church nor a warehouse any longer, but the name suggests the kind of faith-based initiative that perhaps will get us some funding from the feds. But I am already off track.

So, it is the first day of rehearsal and all souls were in the house. It's hot here in New York on August 15 and it is really hot in our warehouse-turned-performance-venue. Last week was worse from all accounts and due to the incredible self-cooling efforts and stamina of our production manager Neal Wilkinson and Joe Silovsky, the tech director and the magical crew of people that were here sweating away, we have a beautiful set in place, ready for all the theatrical hijinks we can muster.

There were close to 35 people in the room on the first day, including the video and sound crews, programmers, animation fellows, tech people, production assistants, designers, performers, producers, writer, research and demographics consultants and documentarist, to name a few. It is an impressive group of talented folks and to top it off, there is the tag team of masterminds behind this whole she-bang, our director Marianne Weems and her co-creator James Gibbs. Where they are leading us precisely, we know not, but everybody in the room is on board for the ride.

St. Ann's, or as I like to think of it, God's Little Warehouse, is located on a street that any location scout in their right mind would recognize immediately for its New York City "authenticity" (see photo above). DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a collection of former warehouses, bus depots, manufacturing and shipping concerns that are now in the process of being converted into a residential neighborhood by the powers of developers. The nabe is still a little on the bus-depot side of things and on the next block is a Transit Authority building where things go to get repaired. Due to the heat, combined with the lack of air conditioning, we have the big roll gate open to the street to coax some semblance of breeze into our midst. This does not happen enough, but the busses roaring by do and they must be paused for by anyone speaking. Welcome to the gritty reality of New York City, friends.

Today we sat around a big table and talked through the ideas of the piece and read through the script, to get a feel for what direction we are going in. It was all very exciting, to hear what the vision of SUPER VISION is. I don't want to spoil it too much for those of you who will have the chance to see the show, but according to the web site, the show is about data surveillance and our data identities in the increasingly important data world. These are the kind of big ideas that make my head want to blow off its precariously fragile stem because if I stop to think about who knows where I use my ATM card, I will have to stay in bed all day and worry about it. I am hoping the process of doing the show will give me some better handle on what all my personal information is doing in those big databases and what is the lighter, up side of being spyed on without my direct consent by marketing firms. Oh, did I really write that? OK, forget I said that last part. Suffice to say, I am really excited about the show!

I will try and check in here as often as time and brainpower allow. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comment zone and I will try my best to answer them here.

Stick with us friends. It's going to be a long process. Five weeks of rehearsal (and I am leaving out all the workshops and readings that have preceded this) then touring around the US for this fall and further touring across the seas next year. I will provide a performance schedule soon enough so that you may plan your theatre-going vacations with us with as much lead time as possible.

Thanks for spending some time with us. I know there are millions of other ways to while away your living moments here on the internet. But hey, it's cheaper than playing poker with a machine that you've never met or buying prescription medications.

Your Little Theatre Friend,


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