Bleary 6 am photo, with the head of the Charon.
Jessie Duke: Hard Fifty Farm vl 1 + 2
Adam Gnade: DIY Guide, Hey Hey Lonesome, The Heat & The Hot Earth, Caveworld, The Growling Mouth
Katie Johnson: What a Beautiful Face – A Neutral Milk Hotel Fan Zine!
Bart Schaneman: Trans-Siberian
Olivier Matthon: Under the Radar – Notes from the Wild Mushroom Trade
Craig Kelly: Dear Shane – A Mental Health Resource About Staying Alive
Matt Gauck!: Next Stop Adventure – The Book!!
I’ve read most of these but brought them to the farm in case I wanted to lend, or gift, or re-read. I gave out “Everyone Good is Necessary” patches for opening night, response was warm and earnest. I’m curious to see where the patches end up. After an all consuming rehearsal/tech process, I am fucking relieved to have free space again. I’ve been accumulating Matt Gauck patches to sew on to all of my clothes. Drink cold coffee at day break and run along the dirt roads, past the corn fields and horses and dairy cows. Sit under the tree and read, while everybody splashes in the Shuswap river. Up early. Up late. Let the days heat pace us.
The new fridge is obnoxiously bright. For days we talked about taking out the bulb. Lisa wrote “This space is too good to waste”, trying to encourage some sort of initiative. During Cabin Crawl we were in the mudroom after midnight, bathed in the ghostly light. Kate and I went up to the LX crib and dug through Stephan’s gels. He had a lot of spare blues but Kate said “I think this is a rainbow summer”.
We opened. I have never felt so relieved to have made it. Hearing the audience invested in the story; laughter, silence, cheers and applause. I want to sleep a thousand years. I took a 10 minute nap today and my body felt heavier than ever. I longed to stay.
Last night there was a chorus of frogs unlike anything I’ve heard outside of Australia. Why were they singing? There’s also been more snakes and bigger snakes than I’ve ever seen.
The rainstorm on second preview really beat the shit out of us. My eyes burn from fatigue. Muscles slow and worn. Thoughts randomly skitter. Sunny skies in the week ahead makes me feel sweet and warm and grateful.
The last two weeks I’ve only slept a few hours a night. Each day telling myself “I will sleep past sunrise”, but there is just too fucking much to do. My mind races at night before my body passes out. My body pulls out of bed before my mind wants to leave its dream world.
Yesterday was a brutal mother fucker. Our first preview and not even close to being ready without everyone busting ass all day, right up to the Front of House speech. I was on auto pilot, getting as much done as possible before 400 people showed up. By noon I heard the show sponsor – a grain feed supplier that buys up a preview and gives out tickets to their loyal customers – gave out 50 more invites than we have seating for. Even though we legitimately can’t fit everyone, we also don’t want to turn anyone away. Especially farmers of this area that would never come to live theatre if not for the free ticket. It’s one thing to do a show for people who love theatre. It’s another to do it for the uninitiated.
This place was founded 35 years ago by theatrical outlaws, who wanted to live rurally, raise families off the land and perform in the great wild open. Create epic visuals one can not achieve in a black box. Trees swaying in the breeze. Stars shining above. Coyotes howling and yipping in the distance. Bats swooping across the stage, a feeding frenzy under the show lights. Site specific storytelling transports every sense to the otherworldly.
The challenges are endless but I don’t know if I could ever go back to indoor theatre. Even when the days never end and my body is so tired my bones hurt and an audience member gets out of the bleacher during the show to glare and tell me, “This show is not family friendly!” I will forgo my sleep and rest and sustenance to actualize this absurdly beautiful and surreal dream.
I use to spend all my time in the shop. Painting, building props, set pieces. Working over top of each other in the winter, vying for a spot by the stove to dry paint, or glue, or just bloody well keep warm. Half sunk into the earth and 18 foot high ceilings, it’s the best place to hide from the summer heat.
Sawdust, grease, diesel and welding equipment, mix with horse blankets, hay and dank earth. Big speakers we’d listen to Danzig and Slayer on.
One winter we dragged a couch in that was being thrown out. At the end of each work day, we’d drape ourselves like sloths around the stove. I was dozily curled up, when Mick flashed his infrared temperature sensor on me and said the reading was 37 degrees Celsius. Stoned from the heat, we pulled the couch back.
I miss the shop. I would paint and build, switching to stage management in tech week. Frenetic as all fuck, but we made it work. Now my time is fully engaged in rehearsal. I just run in to build the odd thing, grab a tool, or linger to the sweet baritone wails of Glenn.