What’s more to say?

I’m honestly not sure what to say in this final post before I bid farewell to Laramie.  In a practical sense, my part of Laramie was over and done a while ago, and became final once I had packed everything back into the prop cabinet.  The curtain closed.  The set was struck.  The end.

I suppose I could write a sappy entry about how meaningful the show was to me and how much I’ll miss everybody.  And it’s true – I’m gonna miss you guys.  I reappeared in kind of late in the game.  By virtue of my role, I had something of a disconnect from the performance – working with props, especially building props, causes you to think of things in very utilitarian terms, like how can I make this cost-effectively and what should the size specifications be.  I, let’s be honest, didn’t do much during the actual performances.  Backstage crew wasn’t too busy a job for this show.  And through it all, the cast still treated me like I was a member of the family.  I hope you guys realize how much it means to crew to be included like that, and I hope you keep that in mind every time you perform.  But I digress.  I suppose I could write a tearjerker like that.

But no, you guys deserve better than that from me.  You already know that the show was meaningful; it speaks for itself, you don’t need me to tell you that.  You already know you touched people on a very deep level.  You already know that some of you made me cry every night, even when I was tired and cranky.  It speaks for itself, whether I speak for it or not.

So instead, I’m going to talk about funny things that happened during strike that you may or may not have witnessed, because most of them illustrate why you guys are awesome, on and off the stage.  I love set strikes, because they bring the entire company together for one last hurrah, and I think they’re an integral part of owning the show.  Sometimes they can be a drag, but there are always good memories that come with them.  So, here goes:

  • Afftene went to war with the canvas.  I think we all had a good, hard catharsis when we pulled it up, but listening to Afftene yank on it was priceless.
  • Cameron and Jenny broke apart the platform legs to the beat of “Sweet Caroline.”  “Sweeeet Caroliiiiine…” *BANG BANG BANG*
  • Summer carried about 20 two-by-fours at once on her right shoulder.
  • Ben and Dave’s back-and-forth banter
  • Ashley and I tore up the WBC signs UNTIL THEY WERE DEAD, IT WAS GREAT.
  • Don scared the daylights out of a few people when he knocked out the front wall of one of the platforms.  Fortunately, there was no imminent collapse.
  • Some folks had fun with the table saw.  Lots of fun.
  • Manny and Ritza developed a tradition of singing everything they said after a certain point.
  • We defeated the snow drum.  SO MUCH SNOW.

So that was strike.  And that was it.  I’m sorry I missed the last class, and I hope that in spite of that I’ll be seeing all of you again.  This has been my best experience working tech at Duke thus far, and I owe it to the rest of you.  I can complain about or praise the play all I want, but in the end, the play doesn’t matter, it’s the players.  And I know you all did your best.

2 thoughts on “What’s more to say?

  1. Darn it. Now I’ve got another moment of what sounds like such camaraderie that I missed (strike) or at least missed the “inside” part of it. I was outside in the lobby removing the dramaturgy installation. Thank you so much for giving this “top 9” countdown which allowed me to be there. I love strike too. It can be such a cathartic release. I’m glad that those WBC signs are good and done for. We’re so grateful for your careful labor to make them, but it must have felt good to erase those representations of hate from existence. (Sidenote, a friend forwarded me this little news piece about a town in Mississippi where WBC came to protest a veteran’s funeral and instead of a silent counter-protest, the townsfolk opened up a can of whoop-ass on the church members http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2011/04/mississippi_town_gets_rough_wi.php. Some folks in the blogoverse are praising this action but I’m less inclined. I doubt they would have gone to such lengths to protect the family members of AIDS victims that WBC have protested in the past.)

    We missed you too at the last class. (I’m not sure how best to get the little token I have for you *to* you. I can leave it in my cubicle over this week and next if you’re going to be over at Page at all to pick it up. I also think I might have left my hand-held recorders somewhere back in the shop — silly me. Any notion where they might have ended up if I did do such a foolish thing?). I hope that it has been conveyed to you, how much your presence in the class and on production team meant to us all. I think Jeff commented that the props were like their own characters because there were so few that when they appeared people paid attention. So while it is true that props work can be more or less “complete” early in the process, since you gave us such specific, well-selected and well-crafted items to use it was like you, via the props, were there on stage every rehearsal, every performance.

    Thank you also for being a part of the running crew. Like having Jenny in the booth running lights, it was just another way the varying “duties” of crew/designers and actors merged together in production in a way that certainly bolstered not just the performance but the entire process of collaboration. Even when Ritza joined us towards tech time, I think she too felt she was part of the process not just the function of the show. I hope that this kind of close relationship is something we can reproduce again on shows where the actor/crew/production team integration is less “built in” to the fabric of the show.

    Not sure what your summer plans have in store or what you envision yourself doing in terms of production next year (I believe you’ve got some interesting thesis work ahead), so I’ll just close by saying I hope to see/work with you again.


  2. Mandy,

    Great entry. I love the snapshots of strike. All I got to do was load and unload chairs. You were a huge help and a vital part of the company. What are you doing during Ragtime (hint, hint.)

    I do think thus was a great example of collaboration at it’s best. Thanks for being a part of it. I am really looking forward to having you in directing class.

    Best, Jeffrey

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