Saturday, April 5, 2008

Beehive of Activity

I made a trip in to the studio yesterday to watch some rehearsal and visit a little bit. Just, the ballet by Trey McIntyre that's on the program that opens in a couple of weeks, is amazingly physical and intense, but there's still a sense of joy and freedom in it. After talking to Adrian about how hard it was to learn, it was interesting for me to watch with that in mind. There is a lot of material in that ballet, and by that I mean that there are a lot of steps, transitions, shapes, and details in there-- and they're not just in a nice sequential line. They're all layered together to make the final visual impression that the audience will see.

I'd forgotten how much I like the music for Just. It's a score by Henry Cowell for three musicians, which we're lucky enough to have (I posted a photo of our musicians a few days ago). The last section of the ballet is really cool--- it's uplifting and soaring in a non-traditional way. That's all I'm going to say. You'll have to see it and find out what I mean, and then maybe you can explain it to me!

Then I went downstairs to the basement to check on things in production and wardrobe. Here's a look at some stitchers working madly away at their sewing machines. You can see how every nook and cranny of space is used in the costume shop. Those bins on the shelves above the sewing machine are filled with every sort of thread, needle, button, snap, pin, zipper, patch, swatch, ribbon, ruffle, you name it, they've got it.

Across the hall is the production office. Thyra's desk is like ground zero for pretty much everything that needs to happen to get a show from the drawing board (and there is a literal drawing board on the wall) to the theater. She's working on the production schedule for next week in this shot:
A few desks away is our lighting designer, Michael Mazzola. I'm not sure exactly what he was working on yesterday afternoon when I stopped by, but it surely had something to do with light cues for next week. Those binders on the shelf behind him are the "show bibles", which have every detail of technical information about each show OBT has done. That would be interesting reading, sometime.


  1. Interesting! I am no fan of Henry Cowell, ever since he invented piano abuse, but it is interesting to hear how the ballet is coming together. Such a lot of hard work even before the dancers get to dance. Thanks, and keep on blogging.

  2. Also, I have wondered what it's like for a dancer to have to dance to music that they don't like. I don't mean this particular piece, but does that ever happen? And if it does, what does the dancer have to do to make the ballet convincing? (It happens to musicians, but if it's a job you gotta play it, and if you want another job you'd better play it well...)