Yes, yes, though I am sure are all relieved that Ragtime has successfully finished its glorious two-week run at Duke University, I am also sure we are all a little sad to rip it all the shreds today (at least I am)! The period train car whose design I researched – gone. (Though it was oddly satisfying to sledgehammer the bench.) The Presidential Posters whose layouts I found in state and national archives – in the garbage. It does hurt to say goodbye. I am glad that the planters I helped paint will survive to see another production, perhaps.
Seeing the props I helped research for or the pieces of the set that I helped paint fit into the larger production on stage was truly thrilling. Looking at the large treated beams and “bat wings” from the audience made them look like someone had merely painted a lovely golden wash over them. NOT SO! Sonya spent hours – DAYS, with the help of a few of us students, to carefully blot on five different colors, wipe them off, then blot again. I could not picture at the time what my work on these beams would look like in the set. Seeing it all lit and beautiful on stage, however, revealed to me how much more I really need to learn about theater production. It really takes an eye. After this experience, I now realize how much of an understatement my previous sentence is.
I was filled with such awe watching everyone perform the numbers I had heard in the practices. I told everyone that just based off what I heard in rehearsals, this show was going to be special. Though I knew what was going to happen in the plot the whole time, I was so carried away with how well they’d done the campaign posters (I wish I’d kept one!) that I forgot Sarah was going to be shot. I was as startled as everyone else in the audience! One of my friends said that the show’s depiction of American racism and prejudice affected her so deeply that she had to go home, reflect, pray, and apologize to the universe on behalf of the wrongdoing of our society. “We suck!” she said. Let her reaction be a testament to everyone in the production. This company really made an impact every night. All the more reason why it is so hard to tear it down…
I completely agree, tearing down that set was incredibly painful. Strike is always a sad part of a show, but I do not think I have ever put so much work into a set and been so emotionally attached to it as I was to the Ragtime set. Every night I struggled to watch the scene in which the firemen damage the car, because I hated seeing them hurt (or pretend to) the car I had put so many hours into. Strike was just like watching that scene, except it was a 6-hour scene that destroyed almost all of the work I have done in over a hundred hours over the past two months.