Day 9: An hommage to Fitzcarraldo (4/9/12)

Posted: April 10, 2012 in Production Process
Tags: , , , ,

Something just wasn’t sitting right. All the installations were off to a great start, but one side of the world was very spacious and open, and then halfway through we had monumental structures that not only made visibility challenging but forced the pieces right on top of each other. Viewing Mason’s Shack and Katie’s Junk Heap was going to be compromised by how close they were to each other. In general, the space didn’t feel like it was “breathing.” Olga reminded me that the original configuration had the Dive Bar in the middle; we switched it around based on Olga’s original design and the fear that the Shack would be “shoved into a corner,” but now that we are looking at the reality, the original order made a lot more sense.

But dealing with the reality of moving the shack was a bit daunting: we weren’t working with a computer program with drag-and-drop capabilities but with heavy, three-dimensional sets that were also in a somewhat delicate state. We were also under time pressure: the opportunity to make these changes was disappearing by the day, especially with lighting beginning its installation and cable run.

Luckily we had planned a production meeting with all the artists and production team that evening, so we had many hands on deck.

Seeing the Shack move through the space on a few dollies was pretty exciting–I couldn’t help but think of Fitzcarraldo, although luckily our trek was shorter, less steep, and less under siege by warring tribes. This was a group effort to make a significant change that everyone instantly realized was the right thing to do. I’m constantly reminded that the theatrical process is one where you can’t cling to anything that isn’t working, no matter how much effort it will take to fix. The path of least resistance is also the path of least chance for success. I think here we have a real ally with a visual artist mind-set.

Meanwhile Alice made great progress on the swamp, and the floating surface started to take on its shape in a really exciting way:

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