Playwright in Tech

D -6 Day

Wake up at 4:45 this morning, and am stumbling the half-mile down Capitol Hill to the Westin Hotel rolling my suitcase behind me by 5:10. The cold I’ve been nursing seems to be promising remission. When will we ever learn? Viruses lie.

Still, all cities are at their most beautiful in their wee hours, and Seattle is no different. Amid the predawn emptiness, a few gulls screaming as they carve the starry skies between the buildings, the whole damned quixotic adventure I’ve set out on seems almost worth this one moment. Of course, I might argue the point later. After all, beauty lies, too.

Caught the Gray Line airport express on schedule at 5: 40. So far, smooth as class. In fact, it went that way through ticketing, security, boarding, the flight and deplaning in LAX. Hell, my luggage was at the baggage carousel before I was, and I don’t dawdle in airports. Car rental, again, smooth as glass. And the ease with which I found the theatre seemed to promise bon fim.

Inside the theatre space though, it is cue-to-cue chaos as usual, perhaps worse, since I still delude myself that this simple little show isn’t going to cause as much trouble as some of my earlier, more ambitious pieces. No such luck. The challenges always expand to overwhelm the limited staff and time any show has. Over the next 10 hours, as I sit in the tiny theatre, my cold returns with a petty vengeance, my sinuses gushing forth like newly tapped mountain springs. As a playwright, I have little to offer on the mostly technical stuff going on. All I know is, if the actors are performing anything close to what we’re gonna see on Opening Night, I’m in for another bitchy crucifixion from the 7 confirmed critics who'll be sitting in the audience with me. The director assures me the actors are merely “in their heads”. I guess I’m in my head, too, along with a 2 and half gallons of snot. He needs to start cracking the whip to keep things moving on a stricter schedule, but I’m too sick and too new on the scene to tell him without setting him off. (He’s a rookie to this, and very sensitive about it.)

Feeling like a pussy, I leave when the actors do, around 8:30 pm, with only part of the first act teched. Like an idiot, I was hoping that we’d be well into the second act so that we might try a run at the end of cue-to-cue tomorrow. That’s looking like a delirious fever dream at this point. There’s still a crap load of building to be done on the set (on this count, I feel like I’m leaving the set designer, a very good friend, in the lurch), and the director, stage manager, lightening and sound designers plan to do dry tech on Act II till they “hit the wall”. (They should have dry-teched everything at least as early as yesterday.)

I drive my rental car back to the director’s apartment, which is a sty. It always is, and I always wind up staying here. The horrid state of this guy’s bathroom says in no uncertain terms, “I’ve given up all hope of getting laid.” Sad, really. Is it so hard to clean your shower and ask a girl out once in a while?

Tomorrow? Fuck it. I gotta shake this bug before I can think about tomorrow.