HATCH-ing, Part One: Tech, triumph, and the traps therein.

Mid-week in my HATCH: emerging performance projects adventure and I feel like I should check in.  While you can pretty much follow what I’ve been up to with Praxis Theatre on Twitter, in Aislinn’s open source posts, and now on You Tube, I thought I’d share a bit more about my experience so far this week.

First of all, this is a totally different experience from the Fringe version of the show (duh).  And with Fringe having been our starting point for this process, at moments what we are up to now seems strangely backwards.  It’s mainly semantics, but I think it’s an interesting moment in our process.

We had a show on at the Fringe.  Now we have a workshop presentation.  Which given the evolution of the material, makes total sense.  The original show was a necessary step in reaching this point, but the actual text and much of that material are barely visible in this next iteration.  And while “show” and “workshop presentation” could be categorized as “toMAYto” and “toMAHto,” it’s amazing what a difference it makes psychologically (sidebar: I love phonetics. Someday I will devote an entire post to my deep and passionate love of phonetics).

Also, while the Fringe forced us to cope with beer stained tables at a venue with only the bare bones of theatrical technology, the Studio Theatre at Harboufront Centre affords us many more options technologically speaking.  So while before we would’ve shrugged and said, “Meh,” now we will wait fifteen minutes to refocus a light.  I would tell you more about this, but I don’t really know anything about tech.  The big difference for me is that our Fringe home (which I did, by the way, love) had a single spotlight and our HATCH home allows Verne to make boxes of light on the stage.  Which looks really neat.

Of course, our week at HATCH was meant to allow us an opportunity to play with tech and to see what it and we could do.  So this really does make sense.  And this is why our week started with an eight hour day of tech…

After that initial day, when I watched in awe (and some boredom because I really had no way of contributing to the process) as Verne made shit happen, the whole gang got in there and we had a fantastic and productive and startlingly easy day of putting things together.  We were solving problems in record time and finding that most things worked better than expected.  It was a breeze.  And it seemed as if everyone left feeling exhilarated by the overwhelming success of our Tuesday together.

But I was (and maybe we all were) reminded Wednesday that not every day can be a stunning success.  Some days are just, well, normal.  Things work, things don’t work, people get stressed out, we need breaks, the daily grind sets in.  And while we were still in a good place at 7pm, I wasn’t riding quite the same high as I walked out of the theatre Wednesday night.  I don’t like to be grumpy, I don’t like to feel useless, and I don’t like stepping on toes (which happens when I’m bored…or opinionated…you know, whichever).  But I shouldn’t expect that we can maintain the same break-neck pace of getting things done…We had a productive day again, it just wasn’t as easy or breezy.  It felt like when you finish the second night of a show after having the most amazing opening you could ever have imagined.  It isn’t bad, in fact, it’s good, but it’s kind of a let down based on precedent.

And this is how the creative process goes.  Some days it is brilliant, exhilarating, joyous, exciting, thrilling, fabulous, and makes you question how you could ever do anything else.  Other days it is exhausting, frustrating, slow, long, boring, tedious, and makes you question how come you aren’t doing something else.  But no two days are the same.  And that is comforting to creative people, I think.  Because after a good night’s sleep, today is a new day.

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