Branching Out

Hey look! There’s a new layout for the website! Lavender is my favorite color, and I think this layout is kinder on the eyes. But I do miss Tim and Amiee making out on every page.

The Heirophant, three of cups, and the Queen of wands. Looks like a big day for thinking and celebrating!

The Heirophant, three of cups, and the Queen of wands. Looks like a big day for thinking and celebrating!

This semester, instead of starting, exploded. Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been working on.

  • Of course, the lovely producers at the helm of Rude Mechanicals and I are chit chatting all the time about the work we have this next semester. I’m in the process of assembling my design team. Seeing how call the half-dozen people who want to help, can. I even have a dramaturg! Who knew other people actually liked Arcadia?
  • My classes are varied and difficult and go until way too late in the evening. (The average time I get out of class is 5pm and two days I start at 8:30.) And this was after the most stressful scheduling.
  • I’ve got a brand new Directing professor until Malcolm comes back from doing a production in Philidelphia. That’s what the pictures of Tarot cards are for, up there. Each of us were asked to do a three minute performance based on … our innermost self? It was a little vague. The performances were really stirring though, and I think there were tears. My contribution was all based on random tarot cards I drew out.
  • I’m just starting a new job at a local chocolate store. It has a definite mom-n-pop feel. I think I might be the oldest shop girl, which is giving me mixed emotions. But the proprietors are all very friendly and the wage is negotiable, so
    I’ll see how it goes. If I like it, I might spend part of my summer lease in Ann Arbor. (again, I love it here in the summer)
  • I just bought, as part of my lab fees, a really really good hand-held recorder-microphone. Like, professional quality good. It’s an H2n Zoom, if that means anything to anybody. We’re also getting some interesting sound editing software called Hindenburg. This Hidenburg never, ever crashes. It’s all for a class I’m taking through the art school called Sound and Story, where we learn about writing and creating podcast and radio style pieces using the human voice. It’s also hosted in collaboration with a high school in Brighton, Detroit, which will be the first time I head out and really spend some time in the Motor City since I’ve started at U of M.
  • I’m also working on refining some photo-editing skills in GIMP, a free software that’s pretty damn good.

GIMP. It’s pretty damn good.

Back when I was going through a major funk,  Mike started giving me these like … little challenges so I wouldn’t be so moody and miserable all the time. One of them was to learn how to master GIMP, something I had never even dipped my toe in before. It’s been pretty useful so far, especially for designing things like this:

Arcadia Audition Flyers

Arcadia Audition Flyers

Director Homework

Google Drive – Script Sharing Magic

The holidays are over, it’s snowing outside, classes are in a week, I’ve got free time and a lot of Arcadia to prepare for. (See Upcoming Work  for more info on how and when I’m doing this marvellous play for Rude Mechanicals in April.)

Over the past few hours it has felt like I’ve never actually done homework on a piece. You know, really sitting down and getting into the nooks and crannies before a production. Which isn’t true, of course. I usually really love homework, settling down with some coffee and trawling the internet to fish out some visual vocabulary, some general knowledge. There aren’t too many times where a director is alone with their thoughts. Usually the deadline for a decision is too close. It’s before rehearsal starts the next day,  or at the end of the walk down to the front the stage.

I said “usually” so why not this time? Well, Tom Stoppard is king of his own research. More like emperor, czar of research. Paddling along in his footsteps is rather an overwhelming process. But even so I plod along. My production analysis is still only on scene three; my hard drive is full to bursting of architecture, theodolites, book binding art, and classical paintings; and the coffee pot long since ran out. Since when did homework feel like writing a term paper? Albeit, a term paper that you really love to write? I’m losing myself in all the work. It has hours and hours these past few days and I’m nowhere near confident enough to call it done. It’s like I’m living in another universe.

arcadia screen shot 3

Numbers (Mac’s baby Excel) and I are getting very friendly with this Production Analysis.

Part of me (the lazy part) wants to scale it back, let the actors do their thing, etc. I have as stage manager, an assistant, a dramatist. I’m in school, I’m no one’s paying me for all of these hours. But that’s not fair.  Those people I mentioned have other perspectives, other prerogatives, and it’s my job to add to their knowledge, not to rely on it. And I know it’s not right. If I don’t love this play with more than my heart, but with my brain and my experience and my dedication to it, no one else is going to want to help me bring it to life.

Game birds, Gothic paintings, landscape design, architecture, and tiny trans-dimensional turtles are my visual life.

Game birds, gothic paintings, landscape design, architecture, and tiny trans-dimensional turtles are my visual life.

Dream of Arcadia

Thomas Cole, Dream of Arcadia

This is a teaser for my next new project. Can you guess what it might be? I’ll give you a hint. My favourite British playwright and I are having a date.

But before that happens, I must signal boost the best Shakespeare production I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on.

Derek Tran as Puck, and Jacqueline Toboni as Lysander

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is opening TOMORROW. This has been a wild and crazy ride. If you like Shakespeare but dislike flowery fairies prancing along green meadows, this gritty, glorious, Burning Man – esque production will shock and wow you. Click through the picture for more information and tickets.

It’s good to be magic.

Gotcha! Just Kidding!

Image

We got some more Proof photos! And I thought I’d showcase my most grounded and serious directing style.

Anyway, new Proof photos are up, check ’em out under Galleries – Proof.

I’m wrapped in a towel and avoiding doing my science homework, so I should probably carry on with one of those things. Probably the one most comfortable for my body and not my grades.

  • VOTE
  • IT’S GONNA BE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME SOON
  • STAY WARM

Michaela, out.

Early Middle of Summer

Rehearsal in Studio Two, Binder

  • an uncut Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • a cast of twenty five
  • a makeshift circus
  • a stage management team of five
  • a director who’s the head of your department
  • at least two dozen sticks, six ropes, a skateboard and stilts
  • two 2nd ASMs who have directed acclaimed shows in the last 6 months, and now have to learn to keep their mouths shut and not blog in rehearsal.
  • oops.