Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Rehearsals are going smoothly enough I suppose. They’re getting longer and more rigorous but that’s to be expected as we draw closer to the show. Bungees are still the bane of my existence, and my body never seems to get used to the process of hurling itself thirty feet and catching a bar with a single extremity. My bruises are healing, and then getting worse. It’s a seemingly endless cycle. Maxwell still hasn’t been cast. But at this point I think Jeremy is leaning towards me. We’re continuing the blocking process with me as Maxwell, and Tiago on a regular Acro track. That’s all with the assumption that we’ll switch eventually and learn the opposite part, but that switch hasn’t happened yet. I put my foot in my mouth a little yesterday. I have been assumed by several people to be the acrobat captain. So what do I do? Start acting as acrobat captain. The whole team accepts me as the leader and I’m running the portions of rehearsal where we’re left alone. So in my mind, after a week and a half of not knowing anything, it became time to email someone and get some information. I emailed someone about all the questions I have thus far: The Maxwell role, Acro Captain responsibilities, “Fly” pay, and about guest privileges for the Acro Captain. Well wouldn’t you know it, that very night (last night), Jeremy finally approached me and pulled me aside to talk. He wanted to know what I’d heard about the Captain position, and whether or not I’d be interested. I’m sure him talking to me was prompted by an email from the people I messaged, about my message. Oops. So I told him I was definitely interested and to let me know when he’d made his final decision. However, I feel like him talking to me and no one else about the position signifies that he has. So now I have another official appointment for which to wait. Awesome. More waiting.
On a lighter note, I haven’t smoked a cigarette, or thought about one for that matter, in 11 days. Miraculously, I think our entire cast is smoke-free, which is amazing for me. My fear coming into this was that I’d find a smoking buddy and my habit would continue as it has for way too long. I worried that Tiago would end up being a smoker but it turns out he quit 2 or 3 years ago. No smokers here! The previous cast has members that I’ve seen lighting up at various venues on the ship, but luckily we have very little contact with them. Bingo! So it looks like I’m finally on the path to becoming smoke free, permanently. And of a lesser concern, but the same genre of vices, I also haven’t thought about drinking in the same amount of time. In fact, every time I DO think about drinking it’s immediately followed with the raw, biological, your-own-body-telling-you-not-to kind of Nausea. I think it’s just the schedule and that my body is in an overhaul mode. I’m burning every calorie possible, then some. Either way, I DO plan on drinking again sometime very soon, so my body better SNAP out of it.:-)
Saturday, May 1, 2010
It’s been a while since I’ve written and I feel sore about it. Our schedule is so crazy that I’m exhausted all the time. I find myself, for the first time EVER, struggling to sleep for extended periods and I think it has a lot to do with the time of day problem. So I’m striving for 6 or 7 sleep hours a day at the most, which are spread over multiple nap times, making them shallow and ineffective. Slowly but surely, my body is healing, although, while my muscles feel better, I continue to bruise everywhere. Bruise and scrape inventory GO! Back of both knees, above the hips, scrapes on the right inner thigh (not sure why), a big ol’ bruise on my right bicep and a purple, right big toe. I also have championed my first rip on my right hand (trend??) from the trapeze bar, and while it hurts like crazy, I don’t mind it because I feel like a *real* acrobat. Oh, and there’s a rug burn scrape on one of my toes from climbing a rope every night for our initial conditioning. So basically I look rough. Ruthless. I’m a poor, unfortunate soul. We went swimming today for the first time and Tiago was joking that it looks like I’m in an abusive relationship. And what’s funny about that is that I am in an abusive relationship…with my job. Things are, all in all, going a lot better, and we actually choreographed a lot of the tumble track portion of the show last night, which was nice, and much needed affirmation of why I’m here. I’m really just hoping that I land this Maxwell character. We saw the show last night, and it’s very cool. I wouldn’t call it “moving” or extremely “artistic” per say, but for a cruise ship show, it’s pretty damn well done. There’s very little through line, but I think, as Maxwell, I can really help that. I feel that as a whole, our cast is stronger than the first but that may be because it looked like they were all just over it or lazy. Still, it looks like, when it’s all put together, it’ll be a great show. We also saw the aqua show, Oasis of Dreams, early this week. It was…scary. First, the show is at night at the very back of the ship, while the ship is going full throttle forward at sea. So you can feel the ship swaying and visibly see the pool water just sloshing from side to side. Scary. People are jumping into this pool from 17 meters up. WTF? And it’s not like it’s a huge pool either. It’s shaped like a peanut. And the floor of the pool moves up and down with hydraulics to be either 20 feet deep or various depths or to make a platform level with the deck. It’s a cool idea until you start thinking about the worst case scenario, which I do…a lot. So that freaked me out pretty instantly. AND THEN, we got some information as to WHY the previous Acro cast is smaller than ours. We have six, 4 boys and 2 girls, and they have five, 3 and 2, with one of the boys injured. Ok, are you ready? Apparently, one of the acrobat girls, who is no longer in the cast, was told it was clear to dive into the water and it wasn’t. The floor was partially raised and SHE BROKE HER NECK. What. The. Fuck. Are you joking? Why am I not getting paid a million dollars for this job? So all that being said, my feelings for the aqua show are: It’s a mediocre show with good tidbits here and there but very little substance, it’s basically a glorified talent show in a pool, and there is WAY too much risk involved for a show this bad. And too many costume changes. And cheesy stage fighting. And maniacal synchronized swimmers.
So… it looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. The upside to all this craziness as that we will have a lot of time off, generally speaking. If all goes well, and we don’t have to reschedule shows due to cancelation, we’ll have two days completely off a week. And when you put actual performance time on paper, it’s only about 9 hours or less. And when you break it down further than that, we’re only onstage for like 30 minutes tops for each of the shows. So basically, I’m working hard for about 4.5 hours a week, kind of working hard for another 4.5 hours, getting ready to work for 4.5, and I’m off the rest of the time. So I’m working less than 15 hours a week. And that, my friends, is the good part.
We just finished our third rehearsal. We got done at about 6:30 and the immigration office is here at 8:15 to do…something. I think we get our passports back because they were taken from us during our first check in on the ship. My. Body. Hurts. I’m in so much pain. The back of my knees are completely purple from bruising. My forearms are having trouble with the fine motor skills it takes to type right now. And it’s all because of this damn bungee training. If I were just tumbling I’d be fine. But no. We’re totally going cirque and we’re throwing skills like triple layouts connected to bungee cords on either side, and then having to hold on to our trapeze bar for minutes at a time. Which is MUCH easier said than done. Hence the forearms. I have plenty of determination; I’ve just never been so embarrassed about my own physical limits. And it’s all to do with strength. I do think I’m getting better very quickly. It’s just a matter of keeping up with the good ones. i.e. Katie and Tiago. (Which is nearly impossible, by the way) I did receive some pretty good information though from some of the original acrobats on the ship. Namely, in regards to the position of Acrobat Captain and such. Apparently, the Acro Captain gets paid an extra $1000 a month while keeping his/her own room. AND they are in charge of signing “guests” onto the ship to stay with acrobats. So that means, if I get to keep my premature appointment, Todd can come whenever he wants and as many times as he wants and just stay with me. That’s it, for now. Hopefully, I will be able to hold on physically to this rigorous schedule and gather more information in the meantime. Cheers from the ocean.
So it’s the official end of my first day on the ship. What a day. We’ll be in Nassau tomorrow morning which is normally the last stop on our seven day Eastern cruise. They reversed the trip for maintenance reasons. I got a message from the captain that explained the new itinerary. In my email inbox. On my TV. This ship is NUTS.
I’m eager to see how the next few days pan out for a few reasons. First, our rehearsals are going to be scheduled from Midnight until about 6 AM every morning. So I’m sure I’ll have a HELL of a time readjusting my circadian rhythm. The reason for the wacky hours is that we’re on the main stage for the first two weeks of rehearsals, and it’s the only time available. Our rehearsal tonight lasted about 3 hours and I’ve decided to do my best at making tonight as long as possible to force my body into submission so that tomorrow (later today) when I go to bed at noon and wake up at 11 PM I’ll be pretty much set. We’re only focusing on one show (Come Fly With Me) until we open it on May 8th, and then we’ll move to the other (Oasis of Dreams). No one has said anything about Splish Splash but that definitely doesn’t mean we’re not going to get thrown into that at any given time. But seriously, Come Fly With Me is going to be BADASS. Second, I’m amazed at how much we’re actually going to be doing in the show as acrobats. There’s a whole bungee session that we got introduced to today in addition to all the fast track stuff. My body is not nearly as physically strong as it needs to be for that! My forearms and abs are especially inadequate. Ironic? Not really. Third, I’m sitting in my own room right now because I’ve been told I’m the Acro Captain. Trust me, it’s definitely news to me. But I’ve been told by the Dance Captain, the Production Manager, and pretty much any random person who knows more about the ship than I do, so apparently it’s true. The reason that my being Acro Captain is so intriguing is because I have no idea why or how they came to the conclusion that I am best qualified acrobat for that position. And unfortunately, after today, it’s very clear that I’m not. I’m not the worst by far, but there’s a very clear cut difference in quality between four of us (myself included) and two people: Tiago and Katie. Katie is 21 and a complete and utter badass. She just got done performing in Cirque Du Soleil’s Mystere. WTF?! How on earth is she not getting paid an excessive amount of money and in complete control of all of us? And although I’m not sure of Tiago’s resume specifics it’s extremely clear that he is the most experience and mature of all of us. The thing is, no one higher than our production manager has explicitly said “Pete, you’re acro captain” so this is what I’m thinking. Jeremy, the shows’ creator, just chose an arbitrary person to fill that position at first because he didn’t know any of us and decided on the only person who has a degree (not exactly sure about that, but it’s a safe assumption), and he’s assessing us all right now, in rehearsal, and will make appropriate adjustments as we get closer to show time. BUT! Get this! Apparently, Come Fly With Me has a “protagonist” (code: lead role) named Max (?) and I’m cast as that part too. I’m really not complaining, and this actually might be a good fit, but again. Why me? I suppose I do have the most theatre training, but why wasn’t anyone aware of these casting choices before we got here? And am I getting paid more? Haha So needless to say, on one hand I’m wishing I was in MUCH better shape and I’m just praying that I don’t completely embarrass myself with my lack of strength and on the other hand, I’m hoping that the way they have it stands, and I’ll always have my own room for when Todd comes, and I’ll get to put Acro Captain and Max on my resume. (Kickass)
So after getting up at 7 AM, sitting on a shuttle bus for about 2 hours, arriving at the ship, going through an excruciating boarding process, taking tours of the ship, sitting through our first of several safety training sessions, forgoing a much needed nap, eating three times at the 24-hour crew mess, watching Hairspray (which was pretty well done), and finishing a 3 hour rehearsal, which, was, BANANAS, I suppose it’s finally time for a little sleep. It is now 4:26 AM and we have our 2nd training session at 8:30 AM. After a 3rd session at 10:30 AM, I’ll be settling in for a long sleep session (think 10 hours or so) to try and reset my already fragile internal clock (only to reset it again to normal hours in two weeks). Ugh. And all the while I’m praying to the god of this ship that I’m not completely immobile when I wake up because of a limp, sore, flabby body. Cheers and good night (morning).