Double Focusposted by christiemama at 12:45 PM
Lighting: electricity, ladders, knives, c-wrenches, hot-to-the-touch instruments…not what you think of when you picture a baby, huh? Well, that’s been the life of my 5-month-old son, Joshua, for the past few weeks.
I read Sara’s blog entry about being pregnant and I can identify. I was there all too recently. I designed three shows while I was pregnant (not to mention stage managing one). Designing became more complicated. I could not go up a ladder, carry an instrument, or touch any extensions (the State of California says they possibly cause birth defects)…and those are some of my favorite things to do.
After taking off one show to bring Joshua into this world, I decided to come back to design Fair Maid. My husband, Jeff, is also acting in the show. We discussed us both participating very thoroughly before we agreed to both be a part of the production. We decided to start parenthood with a bang. We knew it would be taxing, but were also confident we could handle it. Pre-production began before Joshua was three months old.
I thought designing while pregnant was difficult. Designing with a newborn was way more demanding and challenging. Joshua is breastfed, and I don’t make enough to store and hand off to a babysitter. He also refuses formula. This meant Joshua attended production meetings, run-thrus, hang and focus, and tech with me. When I did research at home, he was in my arms. Jeff was working extra hours and at rehearsals many evenings. Everything seemed to take longer and I could never finish one thing without an interruption. In the past, if I needed to tweak a light or reset levels for a cue, I’d just go in early or stay late to get it done. Now I consider how much time I’ve kept my son at the theater. I also need to have someone at the space with me to watch Joshua while I’m working. If Joshua gets hungry or fussy, I stop and make sure he’s okay. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of extra time to fine tune before we open, because I’ve needed this extra time.
The brain has also been a hindrance for me. It’s true that your brain takes a nap after you’ve had a child. I feel like I’ve had to correct silly mistakes and work twice as hard to accomplish half as much. I’ve also been worried about how my peers have perceived my work this time around. I can’t help being self-conscious of how this is all affecting my work. I know everyone is very supportive and embraces Joshua’s presence in the theater. Any concerns about how Joshua would be accepted in the theater were quickly dissolved. Everyone in the ensemble, the rest of the cast, and even members of the Board and Playhouse smile when they see Josh. In fact, even at the expendables store where I purchase gels and lighting equipment, the men that work there gushed over Joshua.
I do believe the end result will be worth the time, effort, and commitment from my family. And, it will be a fabulous production. The designers are all wonderfully talented and the acting and fights are coming together brilliantly. The projections we’ve been working on have gelled the design concept. I have lay a hand on projections, fog, and lighting. Seeing the set, props, costumes, hair, and make-up coming together brings my design to life.
And, I do have faith my lighting design will be luminous by opening night…if I do say so myself.