Monday, October 25, 2010

Week Five

begun Wednesday, Oct. 20

Monday - work continues, heat intensifies, everyone feeling the Monday blahs - there is a saying here that even the chickens don't lay eggs on Monday. Most of the restaurants are closed for both lunch and dinner (another Stratford parallel), so we opt for lunch at Escuela (as a last resort - not the best menu, but cheap and plentiful if you want it, just like most school lunches). I have rarely been a clock-watcher at work, but I can't wait for this day to end. Tito notes the gathering storm clouds in the distance as we head back to Es Artes at four, and I hope fervently for rain to break the heat wave and give us back some energy.

About 6:30, over dinner at El Tejado, I get my wish in spades! Fabulous thunder and lightning show complete with hours of heavy downpours trickling off to the gentle all night drizzle I miss from my first weeks here! Luckily, I am within sprinting distance of my room, where I can hole up, relatively guilt free from my former plan of continuing work into the evening to make up for the lax day, and watch a few movies, which actually turn out to have excellent costume references for the current production!

Tuesday - awaken to the aftermath - bushels of leaves down (and the morning leaf-sweep is an everyday ritual anyway), the neighbours clearing broken branches from the trees along the sidewalk with machetes, and everyone comparing notes on the millions of cicadas or leaf hoppers or some little green insect with raised wings closed flat together over its back (any entomologists out there?) that seemed to have committed mass suicide in and around everyone's rooms during the night - whether they were driven out by the storm, or it happened to coincide with an annual mating frenzy, who knows - but they seemed to be attracted by lights, cling to surfaces like fishflies (for the Manitobans out there) and then dry up and die (actually, I suppose that's probably in reverse order...) - anyway, there are bushels of them to be swept up as well, and something for everyone to talk about.

Work hits another snag - just as we get going, I'm told the students are heading downtown from ten to twelve to see the "Co-operation Day" fair - a presentation of all the NGO's and civic partnership projects (including Es Artes) setting up info booths in the square! At first I opt to stay and get a bit more prep time in, but ultimately , I give up and join them and we all head downtown till after lunch. Once again, I ask the powers-that-be why there is no notice of these extra-curricular events so I could plan for them, but it doesn't seem to register that this is an issue. I go with the flow, shrug and carry on, but we're getting ever closer to the point at which I'm going to have to find some other way to get all this work done, because the students are not going to manage it in the time left, especially if I keep losing them for chunks of each day!

some of the booths at Co-operation Day

Tuesday night - production meeting with Tatiana for progress updates and schedule check - discuss current position on theatre availablity (close to a deal, but still unsigned); when rehearsals will move to Suchi and when the whole shebang will move to the National Theatre in San Salvador - for our final week here, we will all move to San Salvador as we will all be flying home from there, anyway, so we'll be saying our official goodbye to Suchi on the 15th of November. After the meeting, dinner at Harlequin and drinks and pizza at Koky's place with several of his friends.

Later, checking my e-mail, I get my first look at the Nana videos from Stratford, ( if you haven't seen them), which I pass on to friends and family, and share with everyone here the next day (including the girls at Escuela, who loved them).

Wednesday - begins well but quickly loses focus - pieces are misplaced, measurements get confused, several pieces have to be taken apart and re-done, five students disappear again for half the day....even Abi wasn't given notice of this one, and she begins to pick up on my frustration, asking me how much is left to be done. I tell her my concerns about the time vs. the remaining workload (another twenty pieces, at least, and much more complex than what they've been doing so far) and say that I will make alternate plans for whatever they won't get to, but will take them as far as they can go by the end of next week. Both Abi and Hector offer to have all the students work this Saturday in exchange for the holiday they will be taking on the first and second of November - I gratefully accept. At the end of the day, I call all the girls together to go over the problems of the day, and get more organized for the next day, so that they have all their pieces (and will be responsible for them) and know exactly what the next steps are for each project.

continued Sunday, Oct. 24

Thursday - Zoila joins us at Escuela for the day, and everyone is on their best behavior - great step forward! The first black skirts and all the aprons are finished and the camisoles are begun. Alejandra sews hair clips to all the long black veils. I get the first of five vata caseras (house-dresses) patterned and cut.
Friday - Zoila joins us again for the morning which is a great help as she can share tips with Patricia (one of the three best students), who can later demonstrate techniques for the other girls as they come to the same steps. I begin cutting the eight pairs of boot-top spats we'll be adding to the ladies' contemporary shoes to make them look like period boots - another big hit with everyone - !chibo! (cool!) Zoila, Amalia and Morena will put these together at Es Artes on Saturday, while I continue with the the Escuela girls. In the afternoon, I'm told that Saturday will only be half a day as the other half is for teacher training.... of course!! (At least they told me the day before -- progress!) This means I can catch up with the ladies at Es Artes in the afternoon and have the next fitting with all the student actresses in their servant costumes.
Saturday - Two of the six camisoles are finished and the other four are well underway; the last three skirts get closer to completion. I lose about a third of the morning to teacher/student evaluations (not mentioned), but they are doing such a good job with their current pieces that I tell them they can finish them on Monday, but I need to take everything back to show Tatiana this afternoon.

At Es Artes, the ladies are zooming through the spats. Elizabeth arrives to offer a hand and presents me with one of her multi-pocketed hand-made bags! Over the course of a discussion involving Evelyn, Tito, Tatiana and Jane about the possibility of tracking down the remaining trims and fastenings we need locally or having to make another foray to San Salvador, Elizabeth offers her services (and discount contacts) as shopper to pick things up for us on Monday in the city. She will also be tackling some of the scenic sewing needed for the set when that fabric arrives early in the week! Amalia and Morena offer three more days during the week as they have other commitments next Saturday (notice!!) I manage to get the last dress patterns started, and the student fittings are a big success!

We finish the day with another big barbeque (chicken, this time) courtesy of Frank and Eric, both to welcome Jeremy and Kris, who have just arrived to swell the Stratford ranks for lighting and house management, and to say farewell to Frank, who heads home Sunday and back to his next job (he stays awfully busy for someone who's supposed to be retired!) And another great time is had by all...

Sunday - Mark takes Jeremy and Kris for a hike down to the lake and we all meet for lunch at La Casa del Escultor, an impressive gallery and restaurant only open for lunch on Sundays (Koky , John and I had tried to go there earlier but were rained out the first week we were here). Eric and Jane attend the rehearsal at the National Theatre in San Salvador and catch up with us later at dinner to report. I manage a few more patterns in the afternoon, and Zoila and I make plans for the coming week. Tomorrow (maybe) the long-awaited viewing of the Suchi theatre....

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