Monday, May 11, 2009

Going back to work

"Whatever you do, just please don't play the piano upstairs," she said, "bad things happen when that piano is played."

And thus began my first foray back to the work of work since Cadie's birth.  

It feels both a little daunting, and a little, well, right, I guess, to be going back to work this way, and at this point in time.  It's a good job, working as a stage manager for a small but well respected theater about an hour or so north of here, with a small cast, doing a comedy.

 It's actually pretty interesting...I'm working at the Kentucky Repertory Theater, which is in a tiny (meaning the 'downtown' area can be walked in under 5 minutes) rural town called Horse Cave.  The theater is actually on top of the cave; if you walk two doors down, you'll see the beautiful [and dramatic] opening to the Hidden River Cave (AKA Horse Cave). Above the current playing space there is an historic relic, an old opera house, with some of its original curtains still framing the grand old black piano on the small wooden stage.  It's well known that Edwin Booth played there, and given that he and his brother John Wilkes Booth both played the same circuit, it's not outside the realm of possibility that he played there as well.  I did some research after I was given this information, and from that I learned that it's called the Thomas Opera House.  It was one of the first places in the area to have electricity; the owners actually harnessed the power of the hidden river to power lights in the opera house.  And it was then one of the first places around to show movies, and it just generally has a lot of history.  

Anyway, the theater is evidently haunted, hence the request (warning?) to avoid the piano.  Spooky, but I think theaters in general tend to be haunted places, to varying degrees of the word, so it doesn't really bother me that much.  It's just a matter of being respectful to the space, and to the sacredness of the events that have transpired there.  To me, yes, this art is very wrapped up with the spiritual.  

[And as a very interesting but fairly trivial tidbit:  I was talking to a friend of ours about the history of the place, and she told me that she, in fact, is related to the Booths {and actually said family legend supports the conspiracy theory that John didn't actually die, despite the relatively indisputable evidence that suggests otherwise...Evidently someone with all the Booth family features calling himself John showed up in Virginia sometime after he was killed.  There was more nuance to her summary than there is to mine.  Anyway:}. It didn't dawn on me until a short while later, but it's actually interesting that she's related to John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated president Lincoln thereby bringing his vice president into power, seeing as I am related to that vice president...former president Andrew Johnson was a cousin of my grandfather. (No, I'm not mistaken in the dates, my family on that side is very old...My great-grandfather was born in 1822, my grandfather was born in 1895, my mom was born in 1955 and I was born in 1984.  So Cadence, born in 2007, is only the 5th generation in 200 years.) with that, end tangent.]

Anyway, I am actually looking forward to getting my feet wet, artistically speaking.  I do believe that pursuing my own dreams and ambitions can only make me more whole, and being a whole person will allow me to be a better mother, and so, while it's hard to walk out the door, I feel that this is a nice first step towards tackling bigger artistic endeavors once we return to the city, and my family is here, supporting me, loving me, and I couldn't possibly ask for anything more.  I love you guys all so much.

To celebrate my return to the world of work, and more specifically, meaningful, soul-building-rather-than-soul-sucking work, I figured I would post this video from the first show I worked on post-college; something I'm still insanely proud of and would LOVE to see picked up and made into a full scale production (if any producers out there are interested in learning more about the production, please contact me or Steve Wangh, our wonderful director, at the e-mail listed below).

So without further ado, may I present Five Aerial Scenes from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida!  credits follow.  :-)

5 Aerial Scenes from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida from Kat Stroot on Vimeo.

FIVE AERIAL SCENES FROM SHAKESPEARE’S
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

Director - Stephen Wangh
Composer - Robert Een
Fight Choreographer - Daniel Kucan
Aerial Choreography by Foy - Rigging and Flying Consultant - Jaime Leonard
Set Designer - Jo Winiarski
Lighting Designer - Greg Emetaz
Assistant to the Director and Stage Manager - Katie Bender
Assistant Stage Manager - Kat Stroot (as Kathleen Rose Stroot Johnson)

ACTORS

Ulysses Gerry Bamman
Thersites Pedro Pascal
Ajax J. David Brimmer
Achilles Colman Domingo
Patroclus Sean Donovan
Troilus Gio Perez
Hector James Ford
Paris Jake Margolin
Cassandra Ethelyn Friend
Pandarus Randy Rand
Cressida Erica Berg
Diomedes John Farmanesh-Bocca

MUSICIANS
Robert Een, Bill Ruyle

AERIAL CREW
Flight captain: Vincent Cardinale
Co-pilot: Puy Navarro
Crew: James Yu
Pravin Sathe

Technical Director: Derek Dickerson
Associate Technical Director: Timothy Mai
Rigger: Mark Vogeley
Associate Rigger: Jared Seigal
Assistant Rigger: Alex Hawthorne

Aerial training: Nancy Smith, Frequent Flyers, Boulder, Colorado.
VIDEO CEDITS:
Editor: Laia Cabrera
Assistant Editor: Puy Navarro
Voice Over: Stephen Wangh
Assistant to the Director: Kat Stroot

This event was sponsored in part by a grant from the New York University
Research Challenge Fund and by a Faculty Development Grant from Dean
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts. It was made
possible with the support of the Tectonic Theater Project, and through
the generosity of the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation.


For further information about An Aerial Troilus and Cressida, please
contact Stephen Wangh: sw1@nyu.edu.