The Last Shall be First

A long time ago, in a blog far far away I talked about the pains and joys of performing before you perform, and opening before you open.

As we all know, those who do not blog about an experience fully are doomed to blog it again… so here we are.

At approximately 9:30 on December 31st, 2007 Cambiare Productions was presented onto the world under the First Street Bridge as part of the First Night Austin Celebration.

It was about right all things told.

The day began (for me) at 6:30 AM after a 4 AM bedtime with a shower and a stumble down to City Hall to drop off our (properly completed) City of Austin Auxiliary Grant Application.  Then off to my office where I mounted a large size poster for our display table, and printed coupons for booth visitors.

Back home to finalize the display and load up my car for both the show and the booth. (and catch another episode of the Gilmore Girls with the visiting Ms. Kincer)

Then running down to Auditorium Shores a mere 7 hours before go to help the HBMG Foundation (the sponsor of the Creativity Incubator we’re taking part in) get set up.
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After that flurry of activity? A bucket and half of waiting.

Waiting that was I will remind you unaccompanied by cigarettes (a smoke-free New Years’ Eve brought to you by Ronee Gilbert) which was boring x 2.

All this for 2 performances of 3/14ths of our show.

At about 6:30 the performers, and Megan, and the ever gracious Ms. Gass (who has agreed to help us on the deck for the show) disappeared into the throngs for such dinner as First Night will allow and I paced about the booth, unwilling to leave behind the two cameras, the laptop, and the monitor.

Will was nowhere to be found.

The performers and Megan returned some time later and took up protection of the table while I wandered in a wider radius.

While talking to another group umbrellaed under the Creativity Incubator they let it slip that something was wrong with Will’s computer. Now… Transformations is a multimedia piece…and all of the media resided on Will’s computer, and we were now at two hours to go and we had vehicle for the media… the video was itself unharmed, but Will had fried his video card and so there was no (reasonable) playing it on his machine.

Pfft. Ulcers.

The Rude Mechanicals presented their piece ‘The Leash’ (seen above). Then ACRONYM was to show their trailer for Sin La Luna, and then us. Will had recreated the piece and we were mostly set to go.

I was to do a curtain speech warning the audience that Transformations wasn’t good for their kids, but I didn’t see a whole lot of kids, so I stuffed the warning and we went….

A bit.

We made it most of the way through ‘Sleeping Beauty’, the first piece, before the projector unsynched. Of course the projector unsynching means that we have a blue screen in the middle of a performance but hey… the joys of live theatre right?

Will beats on both the projector and the laptop (not unlike Han Solo and a certain starship "They Told Me They Fixed It") while we brought up the house and the stage and asked the audience to wait for us. And they did, with no money invested and no walls in their way. Which as any performer knows is incredibly gratifying.

Will got hyperspace up again, and Julia Shackleford’s heartrending short film  "The Frog Prince" debuted flawlessly. We then made it through 5/6’s of ‘Rapunzel’ before the projector spit the bit again and we called it.

So that was a disappointing 15 minutes.

But we had another one in 45 minutes. So there was really only enough time to get the performers warm and reload.

And at 10:15?  It went flawlessly.

What have we learned?

  1. The show works.
  2. Will is cursed.
  3. Fans are important to the proper operation of a computer.
  4. Powerpoint (or Open Office Impress) may not be the solution of our dreams
  5. The cast of Transformations are all rock stars.

Ms. Glantz and Ms. Watts both performed in very thin clothing in the wind under the bridge in 40° weather. Ms. Kincer had the benefit of clothing, but none of the three of them complained about anything other than boredom. And when the Troubles arose there was nothing but flexibility and offers of solutions.

Can you ask for anything more from a team?

We have a month to put together the rest of the show, and add the other half of the cast, and I just get more and more excited. We don’t have to wait for February 1st to get here to know what we have. We know today. Lo, and it was good.

Happy Birthday Cambiare Productions.