Reporting from the house of 7Stages theatre where performance two of Remarkably Normal is taking place in the black box behind me. It's been a pretty long week in Atlanta. Tech week is always hard. Long hours in dark spaces. Fuses short and challenges daily. Tech week during tour, I'm learning, is a bit of a different beast, mostly familiar in its daily operation - stage manager is running the show, designers making constant adjustments, actors doing a lot of hurry up and wait - but with slight tweaks on the expected formula.
The first thing I sweated was the arrival of our road box. It is a beast. 9 feet long, 3 feet high and weighing in at almost 600 pounds. We have two editions - a wise decision on behalf of our set designer - so that one box is always traveling a week ahead of us. They arrive and are picked up by UPS Freight, coming and going in an 18-wheeler that I will have to help negotiate in and out of various loading docks. Thankfully, I have help. Good help!
The beast coming off the truck for the first time in Atlanta. With three of our boss ladies helping the driver :)
Once the beast was safely in the space and contained by our remarkable crew, it was time for me to run errands and outfit the dressing room. I haven't mentioned yet that I have an additional responsibility serving as the wardrobe mistress - it was the combination of this plus my desire to keep the company happy and comfortable that drove me around town picking up supplies to keep our actors feeling healthy and well. They are tackling intense subject matter that requires a ton of openness and vulnerability. I wanted them to feel they were always in a safe space, like the team and I have their back. Because, we do.
The spread - keeping our actors cool, unchapped and well!
(photo by cast member Gisela)
Our Atlanta venue was 7Stages, centrally located in the very artsy, very hipster Little Five Points neighborhood. It was the perfect venue to start the tour. Incredibly diverse with a feminist bookstore, indie record store and a pot shop nearby, we'd brought the show to our base, whether we knew it or not. And, we didn't know it because way back in October when I was booking our venues, I was almost entirely concerned with specs and flexible seating. Centrality was also a plus but I'll admit I knew nothing of the neighborhood where we'd eventually land.
Sights from Little Five Points - small businesses, wall murals everywhere you look
And there continues to be this consistent feeling of flying blind, even now that I'm here and on the road. I have to work two and three venues ahead and barely have time to get used to the venue of the present before we're loaded out and moved on to the next. And each venue has its own set of challenges and rules. I've oft made the comparison that managing this tour is like planning 8 weddings at once. And I'm learning, quickly, that the tour/company manager doesn't really get a day off. Maybe that'll ease up as the tour gets in a rhythm but this week, at least, personal time has come at a premium.
But we're open. And we've done it once. Now we can do it again.
Miami - you're next!
Lovely cast members Evelyn and Gisela, along with rock star Assistant Director Taylor finally get to let their hair down on opening night