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Deep Well of Forgetting

There will be several postmortem posts regarding Orestes as I had several roles on the show and want to break them all down. I welcome you to view the video record of Orestes at your leisure (www.cambiareproductions.com) and chime in on any of these posts as you see fit. The tone of these posts will be vaguely negative. Don’t read into that, I’m trying to break down what DIDN’T work so we don’t repeat it. The goal, as always, is to improve.

This first look back is on a meta level from the AD/Producer’s seat. What was it in our approach that led to Orestes being suboptimal, with the understanding that optimal is greatness or transcendence. What can we do to even out the audience’s experience? What can we do to better reassure the actors that they are being cared for and insulate them from the production side as much as possible?

But most to the point: what did we forget going into Orestes that simply having remembered would have saved us a few hours of sleep and sanded down some of the edges?

1. You can’t solve an equation with nothing but variables.
There is a finite equation that equals a fine, polished production. Lord alone knows what that equation is, but whatever it is there needs to be constants in the equation to be able to solve it. Develop new work with people you trust.
Take casting chances on a text you trust.
Take production risks when the text and cast are constants.
You can’t take production risks with all new people and words.
Not with so few sets of hands around to prop up walls when they fall down.

2. This WAS a new work.
Yes. it was based on a three thousand year old text, but an entirely new and unworkshopped adaptation. We kept treating it as though it were a published text, to our detriment. We ignored Point 1 because we failed to consider this a new work.

3. We’re a REALLY new company.
Not an excuse. Will and I both have enough experience under our belts to know better on a lot of things, but Orestes was Cambiare’s second show, and the first Cambiare show on which we were the core creators. There isn’t system in place yet. There is no muscle memory for what we did last time.  The company we keep is by and large older, established companies… we forgot we hadn’t done that yet.

4. We forgot simplicity.
Not that the technical aspects of the show were complex and over the top by any means, but in retrospect what was Really Necessary to tell the story? How could we keep stripping away to maximize our time in the space before the show?
We don’t know because we didn’t do it.
That’s on me. I designed simply rather than simplest.

5. Too. Many. Hats.
Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should. I had 5 hats on this show. In trying to accomplish them all I failed at them all. Hubris takes down producer of Orestes. There’s your headline.


We’ll remember better for our next show.