Friday, October 20, 2006

What's the protocol?

So, if we assume that the set won't be "done" tonight when the show starts at 8pm, do I do more on Saturday? I was always the person in school who turned in the assignment when it was due, even if it wasn't as perfect or complete as I wanted. My architecture studio projects were what they were when it was time to show it to the jury. I never worked on one past that point. It even gives me hives a little bit when we issue addendums and supplemental drawings for a building project. Usually these are just to provide clarity or coordination or to deal with unexpected situations in a renovation...but to my "when it's done, it's done" mentality, it just irks me a bit. Even though I have come to realize that it is a natural part of the process, and no set of construction documents is "perfect".

At least 2, and possibly 3, of the newspaper critics are going to be at the show tonight. Kind of like the jury in architecture school, although they don't have to mention my set in their review if they don't want to.

It's entirely possible that there will be things on the set tonight that won't even have a coat of paint on them. Some of these, like the edge of the door that was cut down, will bother only me. Others, like a foam part of "the wall" which may be white next to it's terra cotta counterparts will be obvious to everyone in the audience that it isn't done. Never mind the paint treatments that I scratched from the list earlier in the week when it became clear that there wasn't time to get it all done and that certain things wouldn't even be built until the last minute, so last minute painting would have to be spent working on those things.

There is a little part of me that will be able to tolerate going to the theater for an hour or two on Saturday to ensure that no raw surfaces are showing. BUT, I have put my life on hold for the past several weeks, and I'm not willing to give up more time than that to add detail to things that weren't even built until a couple of days before the show opened.

Enough of the set is there to make my intentions clear. And enough of it is painted to the extent that I had planned to show that I *can* paint with some skill. And, most thankfully, the set looks considerably better under show lighting than it does under the fluorescent work lights.

In the end, the only time the audience should really be focused on the set is before the show starts, during intermission and after the last bow. The rest of the time it is just a background to give context to what the actors are doing on stage. If the audience notices in the midst of a scene that the edge of a door isn't painted or that one of the buildings has less detail than another, the problems with the show are much bigger than the fact that the set isn't complete.

It's unfortunate that my last set design experience for a while has been so trying, but I don't regret the experience and I'm sure that with a little more hindsight I will have learned even more from it than I have up to this point.

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