September 1st, 2010

My First FringeNYC Adventure Part 3: Tech, Training and Two-Headed Giants! Oh My!: As usual, I was the last to wake up. Sean and Erin were already dressed and ready to go by the time I managed to rub the sleep out of my eyes. I showered, threw on some tech-appropriate clothes and packed my crescent wrench in my messenger bag.

It was (still) raining out. We had to get the three of us, plus four large suitcases full of costumes and props and a laundry bag full of boffer weapons to the West Village by 9am. In spite of the expense, we agreed it would be most convenient to take a cab, especially since it was rush hour and the last thing we wanted to do was haul all that crap on the subway with us. I reserved a Yellow Cab online via their website. It cost me $20 to do so (since we reserved a larger car), but I thought it would be worth it. We made the reservation at 7:30am for 8:10. At 8:00, we hauled everything downstairs and waited. And waited. And waited.

At 8:30, we decided the cab was a no-show and proceeded to (very angrily) haul all of the costumes and props on the subway with us. We’d tried calling several different numbers, but couldn’t get anyone at Yellow Cab to answer (side note – I wrote them a very nasty e-mail after I returned to LA and managed to get a refund). One transfer and eight stops later, it was 8:55 and we were coming up out of the subway tunnels at 8th Ave and 14th St. I’d told the cast and crew to be at the Cherry Pit no later than 8:45. We walked in at five past nine. Oops.

It was then I finally got to meet Nina (our Venue Manager) and Alya (our Venue Tech Director), two of the sweetest and most professional girls I have ever met working in theatre. Nina and I had been corresponding since May via e-mail regarding the various tech aspects and needs of the show. I was surprised to find out she was barely out of college, as she’d come across as much more… well… mature, experienced, put together… (pick your favorite adjective), than her age would indicate. Impressive. They were both fun, easygoing and very chill – exactly the kind of personality you want to work with in what could be a frantic and high-stress situation. Seriously, I loved working with these two and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

In a very serendipitous moment, we discovered that the venue had a table available that was absolutely perfect for our needs, which meant no need for me to run back out and buy one that day. Instead, I went back out into the rain, picked up a roll of brown electrical tape (so we could mark the spots on the stage where our table and chairs needed to be moved to between scenes) and a Box o’ Joe & donuts for everyone. Fed and caffeinated, the cast proceeded to run the show while I worked on finishing a piece of studded leather armor for Ryan to use (since we seem to have lost his original costume piece for the Haven scenes). The run went smoothly. Sean gave everyone notes and that was that. People headed off in different directions.

I took most of the cast and crew with me over to FringeCENTRAL to (finally) pick up our participant badges and to attend ACR (Authorized Company Representative) & Box Office Training. On our way there, we ran into Suze, a stage manager Erin and I know and loved from LA. She was in town with Sacred Fools’ Fringe Production of Hamlet Shut Up. We hugged, exchanged pleasantries and tips, snapped a quick picture and were back on our way. It’s funny – in a city as big as New York, it’s mathematically improbable that you’d run into anyone you know on the street just by sheer happenstance, but it’s amazing the number of times that actually happens.

Anyway, we went in and got our badges. Everyone left and I had my ACR training with Elena K. Holy, the artistic director of The Present Company (the company behind the Festival). Elena and I had exchanged several e-mails as well, so it was really nice to finally chat with her in person. Training was simple. There were reps from four other shows there with me. I was honestly surprised that there were that many productions left that hadn’t opened yet, considering it was the last week of the festival and all.

After training, I took a look at the press reservations binder for the festival and was shocked to discover that there were no critics listed for Friends Like These. I immediately sent off an e-mail to Ron Lasko, press coordinator for the festival and asked if there was anything we could do. Not expecting a response anytime soon, I glumly wandered over to LA MAMA to see Viva Los Bastarditos. It was tough to focus, as getting reviewed by the NY press was one of the main purposes of this whole trip, but I soon managed to relax and get into this off-the-wall musical comedy about a civil uprising in the land of Western Massachusetts. The show was very entertaining and perfect for my mood, as it wasn’t meant to be taken very seriously. Any show that features possessed puppets, super-heated killer marshmallows and a villain named Don Knotts, set to a pop/punk score is all right by me. My one complaint about this show was the lack of audio balance on some of the songs, as the guitars seemed to drown out the vocals from time to time (minor complaint and one that’s forgivable, considering the nature of the festival).

At intermission(!!! – I know! I didn’t think Fringe shows had these!), I got an e-mail response from Ron saying:

1) Don’t panic.


2) The press reservation book is woefully out of date. We did indeed have press coming. As a matter of fact, the New York Observer had requested our production pics from him just that day. (They didn’t actually USE the pics, but we did get a nice shout out from them. =)


So, I finished watching the show in a much brighter mood than the one I’d started in. From there, I proceeded to run around Manhattan looking for a store that had brass fasteners for sale that I could use to finish studding Bryan’s armor. Eventually, I did (winding up at the same Staples Erin and I had been at the day before trying to find a folding table). From there, I jumped back on the L headed back to Greenpoint for dinner with the cast.

Remember that whole “incredibly long odds” thing about running in to people you know in NY? Yeah, about that. I walked on to the L train at Union Square and right into the car where Sarah (who plays Nicole) and her boyfriend Ian were sitting. Seriously. Talk about happenstance. We all headed back to FLT HQ together and arrived right as dinner was ready to be served. Now that’s timing.

Erin had whipped up two trays of lasagna, garlic bread and a salad for everyone to enjoy. The cast and crew had brought bottles of wine and dessert to share. We ate, drank and hung out into the night. Eventually, a game of Magic: The Gathering broke out, with the cast playing a Two-Headed Giant variation. Around midnight, people started heading home. The last of the guests left closer to one. We tidied up, pulled out the air mattress for Sean and chilled. Erin and Sean both went to sleep, but I stayed up until almost five finishing the studding on the armor. Hey, it had to get done at one point, right? Finally, I curled up on the couch and drifted off to sleep, thrilled to know that our East Coast Premiere was just a few hours away…