Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The dust begins to settle...

And so... like that, it's over.

Yesterday, we struck the set for both festival shows (I should say "all three" festival shows, but Sunday Night By The Philco used the Front Page set). It was an exhausting process that went from 9am until about 4pm. Thankfully we have a GREAT crew of interns, and the stage managers from the shows and a few of the actors showed up to help out too.

Truth to tell, I did very little of the de-construction work... I mostly flitted from place to place making phone calls, directing people, and keeping the pace of the strike moving. I'm so very grateful for the commitment and dedication of the people working with us; the interns, especially, really blew me away with how on-task and ready to work they were.

Strike (that's what we call taking apart the set, for those of you not in the theatrical world) is always sort of a bittersweet process for me. As you're taking down walls and carting off costumes and props, you're remembering the good times you've had over the course of the run. In some cases, strike will be the last time you'll see the people you've been glued to over the course of the rehearsal and run of a show (though we had an after-strike party at Tobias Andersen's to give us a little more time together last night). There's a certain feeling of finality to the whole process.

A festival strike like the one yesterday is even more emotional for me, because I've been working on these plays since before work started on the sets we were charged with taking down. In the course of an afternoon I saw six months of work, which culminated in a four week run of three shows, slowly dwindle away until there was nothing left but a (freshly painted) black stage.

For all the emotion of that process, however, there's a sense of liberation. To be sure, many parts of life get put on hold while we're in production. The grass doesn't get mowed. The house doesn't get cleaned. The bare minimum of laundry gets done (just enough so you have a pair of underwear and dark socks for show nights)... the restoration of time, that most precious of resources, is something that both Trish and I look forward to.

And yet...

There's something so magical about the worlds we put together on those two stages. For the span of a few hours the audience (and we, the actors) left this plane of mundane reality and stepped onto another planet, where quick-talking wiseguys, snake handlers, radio detectives ruled the day and war, political corruption, your jerk boss, and all the other troubles of the "outside world" didn't exist. As I stood looking across the now-bare black stage that just seven hours earlier housed the Criminal Courts Press Room, I couldn't help but feel a sense of loss. It happens every time.

Then I turned out the lights, packed the last of the stuff I needed to cart out into my car, and locked the door.

Sure, there's still stuff to do... return items to people we borrowed them from, get the keys back to the college, hold the "post mortem" on Thursday to decide what went well and what we need to do better next year... but that one moment lingers in my brain. That one moment looking across the blank stage encapsulates the hope and sorrow of this strange theatrical life we live.

Awright, enough waxing philosophical... I gotta get to work.