Saturday, August 1, 2009

Design Visits

I spent some of my morning with Gary Menendez, a designer who has been volunteering for 14/48 for four years ("And I've only missed one weekend that whole time"). Gary is one example of why 14/48 works. And why it works so well.

Gary is a professional carpenter who volunteers for 14/48 "because I love it." He designs and creates and builds and pulls together set pieces, props, costume pieces, and whatever else directors, designers, and actors ask for with a team of about four other volunteer designers.
The designers read the plays and then meet with the directors on "design visits" to talk about what each show will need. I went with Gary on his design visits. Here are some quotes and snippets that I saw and overheard from actors, designers, and directors during our visits:

"I need a chair. Plaid if possible. Ugly if possible. More trailer-parky than anything else." (director Katjana Vadeboncoeur)

"This play is about show choir. Its perfect, I was IN show choir!" (actor Jason Harber)

"And then there is a line- something about baby coochies. And then a blackout. We'll figure it out in rehearsal." (director Elizabeth Eller)

"James, your my first call for a shotgun. I need a shotgun and I thought of you. So call me back." (Gary Menendez leaving a voicemail for James Frounfelter)

"We need a life-size PBR can. Oh yeah, and a Jesus beard."

"So there's a chipmunk and a beaver? Right, two beavers." "Ok, so we need two beavs?" (Conversation between Gary and Katjana)

"I got in Jim Jewell's play. Which is funny because he told me he thought of me when he wrote this character. And then I read it and she is written with a really shrill voice. So, I was like, oh, thanks Jim." (actor Shawnmarie Stanton)

"Well, we need more flashlights. We always need flashlights as props. And phones. Those are what we need every weekend. Flashlights and phones. And dildos and porn." (Gary Menendez)

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