Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm Not Dead!

You might have thought that I was dead, as I haven't posted in a few days after being a religious blogger. I'm not dead, but consider the following picture of Munchkin from last summer:

Munchkin munching on the hose
Now for the metaphor.

If this picture could be likened to a time in my life, the date you would affix would be April 17, 2011. I was sitting patiently, waiting for a drink after a drought of joblessness. In fact, I was quite excited for it.

Then April 18th came along, and someone turned the hose on full blast.

Don't get me wrong, I am having a good time, but feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. At my new position I have one week to absorb everything that my trainer knows before he moves on to his next position. There are no other tech writers there, and so I'm the resident expert after one week. Yikes!

In the mean time, I have been relearning a software program that I haven't used in quite some time (about four years), as well as learning two new ones. I enjoy the challenge, and at times (like today in one of my trainings) I didn't really absorb as much as I would have liked to because my brain just kept shutting off. I persevered and kept my lips over the nozzle, but plenty of water leaked out through my cheeks, nostrils, and possibly tear ducts. Any available orifice in my head was gushing water.

I think I'll like the position. All in all, it seems like a good group of people to work with, and I think that I will enjoy the variety of work that will come my way. I just have to remember that I need to keep swallowing and keeping some of the water down.

On top of this, we had a fiasco last night at the Black Hole. We were told to come early to block our scene. We arrived a little bit late (because we had to eat before heading to rehearsal pretty much directly from work), but did not find the director there to block us. The music director decided to rehearse us anyway.

While we were rehearsing, I got to play the piano (instead of singing with the rest of the group) because the music director felt a bit sheepish about her piano skills after hearing the recording I made. It isn't anything special by any means, but evidently she just plays parts, not accompaniment.

(Here is the scratch track I created if you want to listen. I threw one picture of Munchkin on it for some visual interest, but don't expect a lot of fun audio or video here.)

After practicing about an hour, they told us that they were adding more people to the quartet because the director wanted them in the scene. They aren't particularly strong singers, so I'm not quite sure about the reason behind all this. Plus that makes our quartet have a few fifth wheels. That was all fine and dandy, and by this time we had been there about an hour and a half. The musical director told us that she was going to get the director to finally block us.

But evidently the director didn't want to be bothered. She ended up coming out in a huff and told us that she wanted us to stay (after we had stood around for fifteen minutes waiting for her to make an appearance) so that she could block us. One of the people had stepped away to get a drink, so when she didn't see the whole group of us there, she proceeded to curse at the top of her lungs. Munchkin doesn't throw tantrums like that. In fact, I haven't seen a kid throw that bad of a tantrum in a long time. I was astounded that a grown woman would be so childish.

After she had mostly stormed out of the room and returned at the behest of the musical director and assistant director, she begged us to stay for another ten minutes. We acquiesced, and then she started rambling. She said that she was planning to do this after the rehearsal, but since we were all there that she would have to go out of her way and do it. I didn't understand what the big huff was all about since we had told her that we were going to be there an hour and a half ago to take care of the blocking.

And after about two more minutes, I realized why she was so upset—she wasn't prepared. All this fuss was because she hadn't blocked this scene yet in her mind. She just told us to stand there around the bar and sing while the girl sat in the middle. No information on how to enter or exit, no thoughts on how to improve, no direction on where we should be focusing—she just wanted to push the play button. The scene is awkward enough because there is a guy on stage right who is singing to the girl who is in the bar with all of us. We chime in every once in a while to encourage her to talk to him.

If I was the bar going type and I was next to a girl in the bar, I doubt that I would be encouraging the girl to go back to her boyfriend. The scene doesn't make sense in my mind. But then again, I'm not the almighty director.

We left, not knowing when we were supposed to come back. After some prodding, she told me that call time was at 6:30. I told her that I couldn't just hang out all night waiting for my part to come up and asked her if she would be able to give me an estimate on when we might be doing this. She started into a tirade on how she couldn't accomodate an individual's schedule when she had a whole show to run. She had never run Act Two fully (even though the show opens in a little over a week), so she couldn't estimate how long it would take to get to our scene (scene four). So I asked her how long Act Two was supposed to be. She told me that it was 52 minutes.

That was all I needed.

Knowing that she had never run Act Two, and understanding how disorganized she was, I figured that I would come about fifteen minutes late tonight. That would give her time to run through some of the other scenes, and allow me time to get there without sacrificing my whole evening.

I should have waited a bit longer to leave though. After all, it only took 45 minutes to get to our scene tonight. And once again, we were directionless. We just did our part with the orchestra and were done with it.

There is a silver lining in all of this though. The orchestra director is a very stern man who doesn't particularly like working with vocalists. I worked with him in a previous show, and he, as a professional musician, acts as if it is below him to direct the amateur vocalists. After running our song once, he actually smiled. I think he was glad that we knew our parts, as well as sounded half decent. We were able to drag the tag-a-longs with us (or drown them out). I never thought I would see this guy smile in a rehearsal, but he did. And for me, that balanced out the hissy fits thrown by the director.


Lana said...

You have a way of making an ordinary life be so filled with adventure. I loved the hose pic and the analogy was perfect. Your discussion of the play Practice was very entertaining. My only disappointment was that it wouldn't let me hear your recording. It said "private video."

You do so many things and have so many talents i think your entire life is filled with the hose on full blast. You are amazing!

Johnny said...

I fixed the video, but you'll probably see that now that I am going to post another blog to tell you that.

Anonymous said...

Не who says what he likes, shall hear what he doesn't like.