So I'm working on this production of Buried Child at Triton. Long story short, the director and I have entirely different views on how to present the play--I had in mind a lot of non-realistic visionary (or, if you prefer, artsy) looks, but it's very important to the director that the lighting be completely realistic. In other words, the lights come up at the start, and they go down at the end. If no one turns on a light, the lights on the stage don't change.
I have no problem with this, but I do wish that he'd mentioned it earlier. The result for me was that I had to erase over half of my cues. I'll never know, of course, if he was right and I was wrong, and I'm desperately trying to convince myself that there is no "right" and "wrong". In fact, the play looks (as of last night) really great, and the whole thing seems to be working wonderfully, so that's good.
It's been difficult for me, however, because of the differences in our collaborative styles (to put it diplomatically) and I have often felt very disrespected during this production. Imagine, then, how I felt last night when I discovered that not only did the scenic designer block my favorite light with a flat, but that she had also hung a thick curtain in front of my entire "porch" system.
I checked my email (from my phone) and there was no message, and no note left for me in the theatre--the whole thing felt like a giant "Fuck you!" from her to me. As I explained to Katya that night, I felt completely powerless--the director could cut my cues at will, the scenic designer could cover up my lights, but if I complained too strongly I felt that they would say something about collaboration and "the best interests of the play", in other words, "actors and scenery are important, but your lights are not".
So my first impulse was to write the scenic designer a really nasty note. I wasn't sure if it would be wildly angry and profanity-laced, passive-aggressively self-pitying, or an attempt to be stern but fair... it certainly wasn't going to be very nice. But then I thought I'd give her one more day to write me an appropriately conciliatory note--maybe she just hadn't gotten a chance to do so yet. At work today I got this message:
Sorry didn't get the message till just now! I totally understand! I don't want to cut off your special at all! I'll see what I can do when I get out there tomorrow.
Whew, that was a close one. Hooray for nice professionals! I just hope she doesn't read my blog and find out what an asshole I almost was... (: