I had a really enjoyable Don-day this week. No Don-day is not a typo, it is what I fondly refer to Mondays at CalArts as. To explain a little further, all of the MFA lighting designers have class with Don on Monday, and my class year has a straight 6 to 6.5 hours with him. Monday is the one day each week that he flies into LA from any show he is working on, teaches class, and then flies back that night.
I was working in the studio on some assignments Sunday night when others told me that classes were canceled for Monday because of the brush fires in the area. After a few phone calls we found out that Don was still flying in for class, but that was fine by me. When someone flies across the country to teach, I'll certainly show up for class. Our schedule was changed a bit, and light lab was canceled, but everything worked out well.
Don-day turned out incredibly well this week, considering that southern California is engulfed in numerous wild brush fires, the air smells of smoke, many of my friends here were unfortunately evacuated from their homes, and CalArts canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday.
Even though classes were canceled, my fellow lighting designer and I still managed to have most of our regularly scheduled classes. I had a performance piece that I was really excited to present at 8am, but due to the lack of students in class it has been pushed off to next week. I'll blog about that next week though.
In Don's class I got to present my research and concept ideas for Edward Albee's play Three Tall Woman. It is our current paper-project for class. I got some really useful constructive criticism on my ideas that are going to help my design a lot in Act II. Next week our final plot and paperwork are due and I feel confident in the direction my design is heading.
Class ran longer than normal since light lab was canceled, which allowed us to look over a lot of Don's light plots for shows like Gem of the Ocean, Movin' Out and Thoroughly Modern Millie. It was a lot of fun looking at the plots, but also a bit nerve racking in the detail and complexity of each drafting.
After class had finished up, everyone decided to go to the restaurant down the street go grab a late dinner and talk about the touring version of Movin' Out we saw 2 weeks ago. It was a enjoyable night of six lighting designers sitting around a table and talking about topics that we are really interested in. By far this was the best part of the day, and probably where I learned the most. On top of that I sometimes wonder what the waitress must be thinking as she came by the table and overhears us talking about the opening of the Lion King, or Mike reading his concept statement about Three Tall Women, or a discussion about Twyla Tharp's choreography. I mean if she's not into the art/theatre movement it means nothing, but I'm sure it sparked some questions in her head.