Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pursuit of Happiness - Blog 10 - by Chris Wood - Actors Theatre's fearless and brilliant Technical Director

The Stage is quiet. The set complete. No more construction. No notes to finish. The time in the process has come when I let go of this show and concentrate on the next. I received the preliminary plans this morning and its construction is to start soon. But as I am locking up the tools for the night I am overcome by a strange feeling. A sort of emptiness. There is no next Actors Theatre show for me. There are no more time lines and deadlines, no meetings and planning, no ordering of materials or watching budgets. For the first time in eight years there is no next show. I only received the plans this morning because my name has not been removed from the scene shop email macro button. Another person will be dealing with all the things that has filled my professional life all these years. Actors Theatre will go on, just not with me.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with me I have had the pleasure of being Actors Theatre's Technical Director for many a moon now. What do I do you ask? The short answer is that when you watch our shows, anything that does not move (actors) or is electrical (lights) is my responsibility either in planing or construction. Much like a Director takes the Playwright's words and gives them life, I take the Set Designer's vision and make it a reality. I have joked before that the Audience only sees Matthew's labors three or four shows a season, but they see mine every show making me, as they say, “the hardest working man in show business”.

In my Tenure at Actors Theatre we have tried to bring you a wide variety of things scenically. Some have been successful (I still remember the audible gasp from the woman seated in front of me when the curtain rose on the set from The Archbishop's Ceiling), some have been a challenge (just how do you build a $30,000 revolving door for Lobby Hero with only $200), and some just flat out did not work (you never saw the giant spaceship and levitating grass in Border Town, they were cut the day before opening). No matter what the outcome was however I always enjoyed answering the question “Can I do it?”. I like to think that in the end the answer was always yes.

So why am I leaving you ask? Well after much consideration, I have decided to return to the land of my youth in Oregon to reconnect with my family. But as I prepare to go, I realize more and more that I am leaving behind another family. My Actors Theatre Family. Little did I realize the opportunities I would have and people I would meet, as I drove that old moving truck through the painted desert and into town in 1999. I have had the pleasure to work with so many talented and gifted people in this organization, from directors to office managers and everyone in between. To be honest, someplace deep inside me is a dark desire that when I leave all hell will break loose and the company will come to a grinding halt. That will not be the case however, as you would be hard pressed to find a finer group of caring and passionate individuals anywhere else. The shows will go on without me.

Along with the staff of Actors Theatre there is another important member of this wonderful family. You. The patrons who support Actors Theatre. Just like a family, sometimes we disagree on things (not every show can be a musical or comedy) but you have always been there when we have been in need. I thank you. I am confident that with your support Actors Theatre will continue on for a good long while.

I wish I did not have to leave this wonderful extended family. I wish I could some how bend the laws of time and space so I could live in Oregon but commute to Phoenix. But I am just a guy who is good with a hammer and saw, I think a sci-fi teleporter is a bit out of my league. Maybe I could do it in about 20 years if I took some quantum physics night classes. Who knows. Well it is getting late and these boxes are not packing themselves. As Shakespeare said “all the world is a stage”, so I had better get back to preparing for my venue change.

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