Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mel - Day 10

Wow! What a thunderstorm last night. Incredible thunder and lightning. Intense downpours that lasted for hours. I had a moment of panic when I wondered if our room would leak (it is just that rippled tin after all) but was too tired to wake up enough to really care. I think the thunderstorms were a good metaphor for what was to come later in the day.

I think the heat is starting to get to everyone (no, the rain did nothing to cool things off – think pouring water over hot rocks in a sauna!) and the tensions due to our lack of time are starting to build. There were a couple of minor freakouts today from all involved (well, maybe not Mike but as I said yesterday his posse is awesome). I know, you’re all thinking awesome… just what we’ve been waiting for.

We had a production meeting this morning went well except no-one from Es Artes was really there. We knew that Tatiana couldn’t be as she had an important meeting in San Salvador but she had said that Evelyn (kind of the office manager) would replace her. I am not sure what happened but Evelyn was not at this meeting. It was fine and we managed to keep up communication between all of us and I sent out an email afterwards with minutes so that everyone could stay in the loop. It’s really the same type of communication gaps that happen in every theatre/business/project. I think we might feel they are amplified here because we already feel a distance due to our language barrier. Who knows? After all of our freakouts about various things I think we all realized (or reminded each other) that we need to take a moment and remember that we are not in our own country and that we need to be respectful of how some things might work differently here or that there may be extenuating circumstances as to why something is not happening that we think should be.

Due to my own freakout, Tito managed to get in touch with the welder guy at Esquela Taller, Mario and made arrangements to have the base of the sewing machine fixed. Mike figured out what needed to be done and sent one of his guys to the school with the pieces with Ed, the director, driving Patricia, the assistant director’s, truck. With a combined effort from everyone we had that sewing machine up and running by lunch. Yay!!!!! And a huge thanks to everyone who made this happen.

The only problem is that we don’t have enough people to be running 2 machines right now. The lovely seamstress, Soyla, was back all day today and she went to town on putting together the tunics (she is rapidly catching up to everything I have cut!) And, Ojenia was in this morning continuing on preparing the material for the God tunics. However, by after lunch we were down to just Soyla and me. 2 people with 38 tops and bottoms to cut, sew, alter and finish in under a week leaves me feeling very, very worried. I think that we were under the impression that the school was more up and running and that each department would have a pool of volunteers from the school. Mike certainly has a very dedicated crew who show up at 8:30 and don’t leave til 5pm and diligently work away at any task he gives him (even when it is soldering Soca ends!) But I think Sean and I are feeling a bit adrift. We’ll have more conversations with everyone at Es Artes and I am sure they will find some more volunteers for us. I feel kind of bad right now though as I don’t feel like I am really teaching them anything new – that instead I am the one who is learning so much. (Spanish, all about local natural dying processes and techniques)

Despite the bit of tension in the air I do feel like we had a very productive day. We now have all but the God tunics cut and almost all of the community and hunter tunics put together. Sean has agreed to ‘simplify’ the basic design just a bit so that the bottoms of the costume will either be a pair of capris/short pants, a short or a long wraparound skirt. I drafted a pattern for the pants this afternoon (Good Lord I hate pattern drafting – it takes me forever!!!!!). So now all of the pants are cut for the hunters. Sean had a couple of women preparing the quilted bits for the maypole (I think he talked about this element of the set design in his last blog) and we will have Soyla start on that tomorrow. All in all, it is going quite well. We have 2 days before costume fittings and so far I feel confident that we should have a top and a bottom for everyone by that time. Then comes the altering and finishing!!!!

Mike’s day seemed be very productive as he had his crew working on a mock-up of the larger lighting grid we hope to erect in the chapel. We cannot hang anything or lean against anything so anything that we do has to be free-standing. From the mock-up they did it seems like everything should work very well. They are a funny group of young guys – very machismo. Every time I wander out there to see what’s going on they all look at me like I am crazy. I was checking out the mixer that we brought with us and Mike and I had a bit of a conversation about it’s various features and the guy he had been showing it to gave me this look of complete and utter confusion. We decided tonight that I should go out and give them a soldering lesson tomorrow or something just to shake them up a bit more! :)

By 6:30 the light had faded enough that it was difficult to work and so off we went to dinner. We went to a new restaurant this time – Harlequin. Fancier than where we have been going and still very yummy. I had the ‘Plato Tipico’ which is a piece of beef, refried beans, avocado, fresh cheese, a salad and some fried plantains. Very, very tasty! We wandered to the square and our favourite hangout, Lupitas, for a couple of night caps and some cards. Then we sleepily meandered home while stargazing and the intense night sky and lamenting that we only have 2 more weeks in this crazy, amazing little town.


  1. What a fact a bit surprised that freak outs hadn't happened earlier... Iknow I was in freak out mode when the container had not arrived...again...and again...

    Sounds like you still have the time you need to cut and sew the garments...unless there are other sewing tasks still will regain your extra person in a day and things will progress much faster..I just know it.

    Mike sounds like he has a great crew working well and getting things on schedule in a short period of time. I am curious to know how they plan to secure the grid if it has to be free standing.

    I love how you plan to shake the boys up a bit. In fact you should help with some hanging of lights etc when the time come to really rock them....thats our Mel!!!

    How many people live in this crazy little town?

    love you both tons...excited for you both.

  2. Take a deep breathe, Mel, we are always strangers in a strange land, we are always the guests.