Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Monsterpiece Theater

I just saw this great little Muppet masterpiece and thought you might enjoy it: the Monsterpiece Theater rebuttal to Godot... "Waiting for Elmo."  HERE

What else has been going on?

Well, Fun House's brilliant version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is over... hope you caught it.  A great experience.  Gidion's Knot at Kitchen Dog was struck this last weekend - it took 30 times as much time to strike all that classroom set dressing as it did to strike the two walls!  Venus in Fur is now open at WaterTower Theater and The Other Place is about to open at Circle Theatre in Fort Worth.  

Now for me theater design is just simmering, while architectural things are boiling.  I've been very busy with continuing ed sort of stuff.  First came the yearly ADA seminar (that's the Americans with Disabilities Act), which is always amazingly persnickety.  Don't get me wrong, I'm entirely for the goal of removing architectural barriers... but is it really sensible that the government mandate emergency flasher alarms and roll-in showers for all those deaf, wheelchair-bound firefighters?  Or that the rule is that, if a company's breakroom has no stovetop or oven and only a countertop microwave then that food prep area need not be wheelchair accessible (i.e. kneespace at sinks, limited reach ranges etc.) but if that microwave is built-in then it MUST all be accessible?  ADA rules are filled with such logical... idiosyncrasies.

Also a front burner project for me right now is learning to use Sketchup - a very cool, free, 3D modeling program (with its own amusing idiosyncrasies).  I'm researching CAD classes too, as it seems time to improve those skills.

3D Sketchup model of Circle Theatre: non-commercial, self educational use!

Here you can see my first ever 3D CAD (computer aided design/drafting right?) project, a little Sketchup model of Circle Theater's stage.  Those fat tubular columns at the corners gave me an extra tool to play with.  Just don't look too close at the klutzy construction, huh?  I've since started a much more complex model of  a hypothetical architectural project which also has cylinders - tilted at weird angles, sloping surfaces, cut-in windows....  And I'd thought making this little stage was a bit of a monster!

But I can see that, once I get practiced enough with it, Sketchup is going to be rather fun.

So...  Think AutoCAD is going to be a real hoot then?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

I'm working on a make-your-theater-greener ebook.

It's progressing!  I'd say it was "gathering steam," but how old-tech, coal-fired, big-carbon-footprint is that?  No.  It's gathering, um, "solar power."  That's it.

More news soon.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Get Yer Tickets!

I've got four (count 'em 4!) shows worth seeing right now or very soon:

At Kitchen Dog Theater, Gidion's Knot, which has been getting really good reviews, running just through the 26th.  (Get tickets fast.)  This script raises some fascinating questions.

At Fun House Theatre and Film, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, opening tonight!  With only a short run also through the 26th.  It's going to be terrific, I think.  The kids (who are 99% of the cast) are amazing!  An Escher-ish set that I'm proud of.  (Still digging gray paint out from under my fingernails.)

Escher arches - believed public domain image

Opening soon at WaterTower Theater, the Dallas restaging of Circle Theatre's steamy-good Venus in Fur.  Opens the 27th and runs through May 18th.

And opening May 1st at Circle Theatre, The Other Place, which runs through the 24th.  An intriguing how-much-is-in-her-head? kind of piece.

Tickets! Tickets!  Get yer Tickets!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Sorry for the arid desert between posts here... it's Tax Time.  'Nuf said.

There's something about going through last year's mileage records (really?  I drove to Fort Worth again that day?) and old pay stubs (really?  that little?) and badly folded receipts (really?!  that much!) that makes me feel all jaded and Wordsworthian:

"The world is too much with us; late and soon / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..."

I love my theater design job, but annual tax up-gathering sure can suck the juice out of it.  Like a bad review.  (Not much like W's "sleeping flowers," all these shekels.)   

Meanwhile, actual reviews have been good: Gidion's Knot at Kitchen Dog Theater is getting good press.  A tremendous clash of actress power in this show!  (The set's getting nice notice too - "meticulously executed."  I'll take it!)

Here's the full Wordsworth piece for Today's Poetical Pleasure:

THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

A moonlit sea by Carlsen - a public domain image from Vintage Printable

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Good Advice

I just stumbled across this post "11 Things to Know Before Starting Architecture School" - full of great advice!

My personal favorite is the admonition to actually get sleep.  Very important, sleep.  It made all the difference in my own college career - my grades rose amazingly as soon as I swore off pulling all-nighters.  One of my prof.s used to say, "A project designed at 2:00 a.m. should only be critiqued at 2:00 a.m."... and then he refused to show up at that hour.  Seriously, what looks like a good idea when you're all sleep-deprived is usually not a good idea.  The companion advice is: Don't Draw Drunk.

Friends Don't Let Friends Draw Drunk - and wouldn't that make a great bumper sticker?

The applications of this architectural wisdom to theater is pretty obvious.

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli (public domain pic).  What the painter MEANT to call this work, 
obviously, was The 2:00 a.m. Design Idea.  Equally obviously, the swooning character is the sleepy designer.

So get your sleep.

Yes, the deadline is unforgiving, but you'll be so much more efficient and make so many fewer bone-headed mistakes (especially with dangerous tools) that any hours "lost" to sleep will repay themselves many-fold.  I promise.