Sunday, September 29, 2013

Writing, Theatre, Quotes

I've been working with a national task force for a year on developing a standard practice paper for performance interpreting. We are now in the final edit stages. Truly. We are now at the point where the two of us who volunteered to be the final editors are sculpting and primping and turning the many pages of outlines and ideas and the eleven pages of the first draft, the second one with comments, into a concise and smooth three page document which covers the vastness that is performance interpreting.

But we have it down to very near three pages. And we are at the point of adding an introduction, in which we want to include a quote. That's how far we are in our process - trimmed, dense and accessible, and now time to add the decoration.

I sent an email to a wonderful Artistic Director I know who had a lovely quote last year about why we go to theatre, why theatre is important. I don't remember it now and I would need her permission to include it, anyway. But while I wait for her reply, I've been doing some 'net surfing to see what else I can find. I've found a few gems, although they may not fit our needs; or they may fit our needs with the addition of another quote about why interpreting performances is important.

I've now accumulated a short list of my favorite quotes (so far) and thought I'd share a few.

"Theater is life with the dull bits cut out." - Alfred Hitchcock

"An actor is a sculptor who carves in snow." - Lawrence Barrett

The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life. - Oscar Wilde


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Found Quote

I ran across this quote today. I like it. Very much.

"Where the hand goes, the eye follows; where the eye goes, the mind goes; 
where the mind goes, is the heart; where the heart is, lies the reality of being."

- Bauhinia Adriana, The Mirror of the Gesture (ancient dance treatise)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Learning Curve and Moving Forward

Last weekend didn't go as I thought it might. I had imagined having hours of leisure time, sleeping in, spending hours alone doing whatever my heart desired - well, almost.

I didn't think about having to drive my partner to the studio where her workshop was being held. Unloading the three suitcases, one box, and one box of supplies. I didn't think about - well, didn't know - that lunch wouldn't be provided so she'd have to go somewhere for lunch and there was nothing nearby and no stores by the time we fought through Friday afternoon traffic which made our drive 90 minutes longer than it should have been. I didn't realize the workshop started an hour later than I thought and ended an hour later than I thought. And then there was the picking her up when the workshop was done. Dinner with our very hospitable and wonderful hostess.

And it was all fine. And it wasn't as kick back as I thought it might be.

However, I did get a lot done in terms of my writing and I'm very happy about that. I aldo learned quite a bit about Scrivener, a software program I've owned for over a year and for which I had the beta Windows version for a while before that. But I've been intimidated by the program and my little dipping of my toes into the Scrivener pool were brief and I ran away.

But with the odd little pieces of time I had this weekend, I decided a really good thing for me to do would be to transfer the memoir into Scrivener. In chapters or sections.

See, the memoir has been in Word; 296 pages in one giant word document. Maneuvering through the pages, looking for sections, entering edits, saving -- it takes so much time and is so bulky. So I thought that setting up a new project in Scrivener, transferring the book into the program in pieces, would be double duty. Which is was.

The first two chapters (sections) took me about 90 minutes. Which was most of my gap between dropping my partner off, returning to the house where we were staying, setting up my laptop, and getting to work. And it was okay. I learned a lot in those 90 minutes and, even though it was a bit tedious and I had to start over and reconfigure and do some research to get it set up how I wanted it to be, it did work. Eventually. And now those 90 minutes see like nothing.

It was great to see my book set up in chapters, some with subsections, on "notecards" on the "corkboard" and see the layout, in order. There is a section I created of outtakes : pieces I've taken out, either chapters or sections, which I like and may put back in or may not. I have a resarch section. I was able to insert "notecard" where I need chapters. I made notes on the "notecards" of information I need to add or whatever, to the chapters.

I was delighted and surprised how much progress I was able to make with the book in this more visual format. There is much to do on the book. Much rewriting. Additions of all kinds and editing of what is there. But it feels much more doable, much more whole.

I also feel like I have only gotten to the basics of Scrivener, but I feel like I understand it now. And I can get to more complex use of it in time.

It feels good to be making progress. *

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Overlapping Interests

* I've been busy writing about theatre, to theatre personnel, to the interpreting access teams, to producers. I've been writing feedback and my section of a standard practice paper related to performance interpreting. I've written and edited a prose poem which has become a spoken word piece. I've started a new piece for the memoir and wrote another piece which I shared with my Friday writing group.

I also submitted one piece to a publication last week and another piece to a different publication this week. It feels good to be back on the submissions track!

But I haven't written here for over a week. Not that I haven't been writing; just not here. I've even posted on PAIA (Performing Arts Interpreting Alliance) as the 2013-14 theatre season starts up, and there's much to do.

This week the first interpreted play at Portland Center Stage takes place on Thursday, September 19th at 7:30 pm, "The Mountaintop." And one of the interpreters I'm working with on "Fiddler on the Roof" (interpreted 10/3) and I went to our first viewing of the show last week. So theatre is in my schedule now, too.

Although I primarily talk about writing here, I do want to share this video, which is about theatrical interpreting. The two people being interviewed were the first sign language interpreters on Broadway (Alan Champion, on of the interviewees, passed away a few years ago). They are also two of the founders of the intensive Interpreting for the Theatre training which took place in NYC at Juilliard under the Theatre Development Fund for many years, (which I attended in 2001).

Just a little crossover in the important parts of my life - and a wonderful explanation of theatrical interpreting. This is my basic approach to theatrical and performance interpreting, as well.

Thank you, Candace and Alan, and TDF. And everyone else in the wonderful experience which was the intensive training - for your skills and guidance and for the awesome work you continue to do. *

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Waiting is Hard Sometimes

This isn't about writing; not directly. Although pretty much everything which happens in my day to day and even exceptional day life does affect my writing. The quality, the quantity, the ability to put a word after a word after a word and have it make sense. Or not.

I've been waiting for six weeks for the contracts to be ready at a place where I interpret and coordinate the interpreter teams. There was a big shake-up in the personnel and the way they do business at the end of last season. This included my contact person losing her job - and she was excellent at her job, at being an advocate for the Deaf Community and made huge strides in increasing the size of the interpreted performance audiences. After the personnel shake-up, it took awhile for them to get someone assigned to be the one who deals with the access teams. The meeting went well. And then I waited.

And waited. They were reviewing the contracts. I waited.

I did more than just wait. I reconfirmed availabilities for the season, I plotted out who would go where, I checked in with a couple of people who I wanted for a couple of specific things. And I waited. I emailed and I called.

And waited. The contracts were under review by HR. Oh, they're on vacation. They're back but the legal team needs to look them over. Oh, they're out of the office. 

We should know later this week. No, by the end of next week. They're still reviewing. By Friday; definitely. Well, end of next week I will get an answer for you if they're not in hand.

At 4:45 pm the call came. Temporary contracts for the access team for the first show being interpreted in two weeks. And my coordinating contract. But not the master contract from which all the others will be made.

Soon, I was promised. Very soon. But first we have to meet to look over these contracts which are very different in wording than the previous, what, ten years? Fifteen years? Supposedly no major changes in process or payment - but the legalities of being involved with this place. Something.

So I'm still waiting. 

But I have moved ahead with contacting the interpreters and coaches to make sure dates and teams and plays all match up; I still need to hear back from three of them. And all of this is contingent on the contracts being acceptable to the team members because - well, I don't know what the changes are. None of us who aren't employees know.

Fingers crossed. I'm waiting.

There has been a flurry of activity these past few days around this issue. And that's okay. Even with the other activity I did meet with my Tuesday writing partner and I met with my Friday night writing group. I wrote a piece, which looks like it it going to be a spoken word piece and that makes me happy. I also edited another story which I was planning to submit but I missed the deadline. And that's okay; it probably wasn't the best fit or this story. This week I've also been looking for a home for that story - it's going to be a little hard to place, though I think it's good, it just needs the right home.

I'm happy that even with the waiting for the contracts and the busy-ness of the coordinating piece, I've still be able to write. It does help having writing partners, a writing community. Even though writing is a solitary activity in most respects, having a community helps keep it present and real and alive.