This week has been exhausting. Not only did I start teaching this week, but we also began hanging lights for the show. This week also featured July 4th, which meant that we had to set up a concert and flag presentation in the morning, and then strike into late at night. As I sit here, at my office, contemplating, I’ve just gotten tired thinking about it. It’s been really fun, especially the teaching aspect.
My first week of actual teaching is a bit surreal. On the one hand, it’s no different from mentoring or tutoring students like I’ve done in the past, and yet there’s also no real expectation that they learn or remember anything. There’s not much you can do with 45 minute periods everyday for two weeks. Still, it’s very exciting to teach a subject that (a): students have little to none knowledge about and (b): something that is a passion of mine. In the first week, we spent most of the time discussing lighting, as well as getting hands on experience doing things everyday. What was really surprising was on Tuesday, we had a 50% increase of students in the class! Meaning, one more student joined the class, making it now a class of three. The struggle for the class is, because it’s so small, there usually aren’t any questions, and we go through material very fast. There is really no room for applying the knowledge, merely just an elongated show and tell, but it’s still fun. During our “rehearsal time”, I’ve been taking the other tech students, and actually doing light hanging things with them, because some are more experienced (even though they are Woodcraft, which means they’re middle school age). The group is about 7-8 students and the things that we do, is more hands on. Like hanging lights, and stripping electrics, things that are more applying theory as opposed to just talking about them. That has been really helpful too, as it allows me to get technical things done, as opposed to just stage managing. I will say though, this week, I led the students in both movement and vocal warm ups, both taught to me by my favorite acting Professor: Sarah K., and the kids loved it. Hopefully they will remember everything they learned so I won’t have to teach it to them again and again.
Light hang as a whole, has been another challenge. This show, will be my second complete lighting design, and once again, there are many issues that have come up in my inexperience. For one, it’s been hard to get exact placement of lights, just because working without AutoCAD software (like Vectorworks), is like trying to hang lights ethereally without any actual simulation of placement and focus. The other challenge is, typically, light hangs happen before the set is loaded in. Unfortunately, because we’re using the same set as their previous show, we have to hang lights with the set in the way. This has proven to be difficult as some of the electrics are now 10 – 20 feet in the air, and we have to somehow weight them. All in all, it’s been a lot of work, and we’re almost done which means we focus and begin cue writing next week.
July 4th. Let me just first preface by saying that I’m don’t really care for the holiday. It’s a day when the country was founded, yay ok. There’s just too much faff around this day, and it really fails to acknowledge that America was founded through genocide and slavery. Besides that, it really should just be a day where there’s food and fireworks. Well, they do things differently here at Culver, and our July 4th celebration involved a concert, a flag presentation of the 13 Colonies, and fireworks. As a result, we needed to set up everything. This involved moving and building platforms in the morning, hanging lights for the flag presentation, including setting up a piped arch as a lighting position, setting up spotlights, and then running the show. When the show and everything concluded by 10:30 – 10:45, we then had to strike everything, all of which we finished by 12:20 AM. It was a long day, and I wish we had classes cancelled so we could work the day instead of teach and go work, but that didn’t happen. Instead, most of us slept in a bit more than usual on Tuesday night. I will say though, seeing those fireworks, and the students dancing and singing to Firework by Katy Perry, made the whole set up worthwhile. It was almost cathartic.
So yea, that was this week. Something that struck me, was on Friday, we had all our classes cancelled due to rain. Personally, there wasn’t much rain to warrant the cancellation, but I think it’s just God’s way of showing that He knew we were exhausted and on the verge of losing it. Giving us a day to just do lights and just take it slow, was so necessary. Here’s to my last week of teaching and then onto some more show things!