between shows:

September 6, 2009

we just ran our 5 p.m. Sunday show, and have 48 minutes before the start of our 9 p.m. sunday show.

I took a nap in the kids’ room of the set to fill the time. dreamed of apple trees and flying silver dollars.

don’t get the reference? Come See Our Show!!!

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Our Title

September 5, 2009

Thought I’d share with y’all a little bit about our show’s title…

Little Prince's Monarch

We began work on this show in mid-June, but our paperwork to the Fringe Festival was due in early June. This included things like our guide description, title of the show, running time of the show, a guide photo or image and all sorts of other information that we didn’t have. We didn’t even know what we wanted the show to be about! We had a couple ideas floating around, for sure. The two that came through the strongest in our final conception of the show were the book “The Little Prince” (and its thematic content) and our families’ immigration stories. There were a few other things whose remnants made our final piece, including the circus, use of shadows, etc., but those were some of the items that we hoped would be major building blocks.

So, we brainstormed a list of titles that were general enough that they could suit a show we didn’t yet know very much about and also specific enough to have some sense of character.

One of the things I did when creating this list was read through “The Little Prince”. This resulted in a list of titles including “I believe that for his escape”, “Migration of Wild Birds”, “For his escape”, “Fourty-Four Sunsets”, and a few others. We put this together with a miscellaneous list we had assembled (“A second silence”, “Uprooted/Migration”, “Three Oranges”…) and made some choices.

In any case, our title lives in this passage from The Little Prince, towards the bottom:

Having now completed his Preparations For Departure

Opening

September 5, 2009

Opening night came and went. I’m so happy to be sharing this show with an audience.

Children Fighting

September 2, 2009

Colin feels a little left out when the other kids are at play.

T minus…

August 31, 2009

four days. and counting.

Things still to do: continue to publicize, install the entire space, make script changes, memorize lines (well…no…i’m pretty much the only irresponsible one still tasked with that), enhance the second half of the show, continue to publicize, print programs, arrange for volunteers to collect tickets (any takers?!), write letters, write intro letters, get costumes, install light plot, continue to publicize, pray, and uhm, continue to publicize.

I’m running on coffee and hope, at this point. My stomach is in knots, i have a pounding headache and intense anxiety that it’s all going to be a spectacular failure.

Yep, everything is exactly as it should be.

I love this stuff.

Bird Song

August 27, 2009

Just a little teaser of some of the things we’ve been up to lately:

August 26, 2009

Haha, I swear I wrote my post before seeing Jackie’s.  There sure is a lot of love going around.  🙂

the right reasons

August 26, 2009

We are back in action, and I’m feeling good.  I needed our week off to step back, take a look at what we have created, and remind myself of how spectacular this journey has been.  I went far away, climbed some mountains, met very cool people, memorized my lines, wrote letters, and I have to admit that at the end of the week I was not ready to come back.  It seemed like I had been away for a long time, and I didn’t really know what to come back to.
But I returned anyway, and it could not have been more reassuring.  A wise person recently told me that everything works out as long as you do things for the right reasons.  Being away has shown me that I am in this for the right reasons.  I missed you guys-Jackie, Jessie, Colin, Dan, and Emma.  I missed seeing you every day, working with you, supporting you and feeling your support.  (And I’m sad that we don’t get to go home together every night anymore.)  I missed the family that we are as a company and the family that we have created onstage.  Rehearsing again was like falling back into place, and I realized that our story is as real for me as anything in “real” life.  I missed playing with Louise, bickering with Danny, taking care of Olga, being teased by Papa, and helping Mama in the kitchen.  I believe in our story and can’t wait to share it with people. Such a sense of belonging and responsibility to our group and our play is incredibly motivating at a point in my life where I am swimming in uncertainty.
We still have so much to do.  The list that we created last night would make many people shudder, and I realize that my free time will become more and more limited as we near opening.  I will even have to take a deep breath and accept less time at the gym.  (Woe is me!)  But we’ve got this.  We’re Swarthmore grads.  We strive under pressure.  And I’m sure things will work out in beautiful ways because we ARE in this for the right reasons.

Love, Sasha

gaining speed

August 26, 2009

I must admit that our week off played with my head, big time. I spent my evenings alone, pouring over the script, and fretting about the constantly growing list of everything that we need to accomplish in and out of rehearsal. I was feeling overwhelmed, and having difficulty coping without the constant presence of my trusted companions. I was dreading our Sunday afternoon rehearsal, where I was positive all of my week’s worth of freaking out would prove true.

But of course, I was wrong. Our rehearsals this week have shown that we really know how to kick things into high gear. We’ve been working with incredible focus, efficiency, and attention to detail.

All the sudden this story that we’re telling has really hit me. I love this family. I love watching them fight and laugh and stress and strive. Their complexity as a unit reminds me so much of Matchbox. It feels great to think that their commitment to each other, which I find so refreshing, in some ways mirrors the collective dedication we’ve shown to bringing to life their story.

May the next ten days of preparations continue to bring us to new places.

take a deep breath

August 17, 2009

If the dearth of blog posts didn’t tip you off (although, to be fair, we’ve been spacing them out pretty regularly throughout the summer), Matchbox Theater is taking a week off. Now, hold on to your hats and take a deep breath: you don’t have to worry about trouble in paradise or dissension in the ranks: this break has been planned since the beginning of summer, when we optimistically assumed we’d be “far enough along” by the second week of August that we could afford some down time.

Last week, as the days until our “break” began to crowd around us and the work that was still left to do piled up with alarming abundance, there was a feeling of collective nervousness. What the hell were we thinking, scheduling a break smack dab in the middle of *crunch time*?! We come back and have two weeks – count ’em, two – before we OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Any practical (or sane!) theatrical collaborative would roll up their sleeves, dig their heels in and settle in for the long haul, committing to work from here until the curtain opens (and that’s a figurative curtain, mind you, as we are performing in a nontraditional setup) on opening night.

But we, for better or for worse, are not sane. (Personally, I think that anyone who starts a theatrical collaborative in the first place is nursing a certain degree of insanity, but that’s just me). This break had been planned from the beginning, a few among us had made spectacular plans for this next week and plus, the beginning of our insane break coincided with forced move-out/end of our summer housing in Strath Haven condominiums. It was going to be a couple of busy moving days, so maybe having a week off would be just enough to let us stockpile the energy we were going to need to head into tech/performance week.

So, Thursday we woke up, began packing for our move out, took a quick break for our final rehearsal of the week, continued packing, and feel into an exhausted sleep. Friday was essentially the same, except instead of a rehearsal, the time was filled with more packing and moving. By Saturday, as I collapsed into bed at 9:30 p.m.(!) with a sore back and a “shut-the-hell-up” bad mood, an enforced break was looking more and more appealing (did I mention I HATE moving?).

The truth is, we do have a ton of work to do before the show, but in all my theatrical experiences, I’ve NEVER been involved in a show that didn’t have “a ton of work” left to accomplish in the weeks before the performance. I’ve also never been involved in a show as all-consuming as Preparations for Departure has become. It is so rewarding to work on a show where the 6 of us are involved in dozens (really!) of different capacities – as performers, promoters, directors, writers, dramaturgs, prop masters, designers, builders, stage managers, etc., but to be quite honest, it’s also exhausting. Not having a clear “leader” for the piece that we’ve created from scratch has also required a degree of emotional investment (we fight for our ideas with all our heart and soul!) that’s been it’s own level of exhaustion.

Can we afford this break? Meh. Probably not…but we’ll make it work. Do we need it? I think so. Because as I sit here, watching my third straight episode of No Reservations on the travel channel (count ’em), I feel like I’m taking my first deep breath after many months of blood, sweat, and tears. I think it’s going to be exactly what we need.

Love,
Jessie