Same Time Next Year

Washington Street Players
February 2009

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Early setup and semi-dry tech. Here it's easy to see how badly the daylight coming in the windows totally kills any chance of making the lighting look right, even up on the slightly darker stage.

Finally a couple of days later, came a nighttime slot at Town Hall and I could actually start constructing some of the looks. I got most of this together, hung it off a couple of easy sliders on the light board, and we had a staff/cast confab about cueing the slightly more complex opening. I wasn't the only one interested in grabbing some pictures, either..

We got staff and actors into places to rehearse the opening, and it took a while for everyone to stop bantering back and forth about stuff and get down to work. Here, our board-op brings up the opening "nighttime rumpus in the sack" intro scene.

Scene 1

Their first "morning after"...
"I love the way you eat!"
The start of the yearly "good and bad spouse" stories, and exchanging kid-pictures

Time passes. This is a dim, cool "empty room" look between every scene in which the "chambermaids", aka stage manager and helpers, could freshen up the bed and move props around without having too much light up.

Scene 2

Five years down the road: An anniversary of sorts ...
... with a little celebration.
Upon heading off for a different sort of celebration, his daughter calls...
... which leads to a bit of an argument ...
... and reconciliation.

Scene 3
The next scene opens with him on the phone and preoccupied with some things, so he doesn't notice her come in at first ...
and she turns out to be *very* pregnant. Surprise!
" ... a frigate in full sail!"
Trying to redirect a certain frustration level into piano playing
Sudden onset of labor pains, and frantic calls to doctors ...
... all for naught, as they're going to deliver the baby right there.

  [Whether or not he's got a bottle growing out of his head.]

Scene 4

Now we're in the mid-Sixties, and the classic stress between the Hippie and the Establishment.

The Establishment appears to have a few little hang-ups of its own, as he always packs some liquor along...
"Hey babe, how 'bout it, you wanna f..."
He has a little trouble with her newfound liberation.
But eventually they remember why they're here...
... although things get political and turn a little ugly.
"You voted for *Goldwater*??!"
Until it emerges that he lost his son in 'Nam.

Scene 5
Now we're in the early seventies
Where she spent some of the Sixties "finding herself", now he is trying to do something similar but approaching it through methods of analysis that became popular around the time.
But even though he does too much navel-gazing out loud, at least he's *finally* starting to loosen up a little.

Scene 6

[A brief hold while minor wardrobe issues are dealt with ... ]
They're feeling a little older now, reflecting back on a lot of things ...
... and discussing spousal changes.
And your humble LD here is going to take a little opportunity to "art-fag" about what we're seeing.

Here's an appropriate shot from which to touch on the overall design. With every scene being in the same "cottage interior" at some indeterminate time of day, the only real reference point I had in terms of light sources was the fire. So the idea was to use the fireplace as a virtual origin of warms, balanced from the "outside" with cools at the window and far side of the bed, and generally cooler wash on the other side of the piano and from stage left. And of course, a bit of pink in the bed area. In this scene the "fire" has actually been turned on, not that the wheezy old orange lightbulb inside makes much difference but you can see the directional modeling on the actors even if the amber *does* come from above instead of low down! A generlc "foliage" gobo shot toward the bed from over-stage added texture in the warms that would hopefully lend a hint of flickering, romantic firelight as they moved through it, without having to set up specific effects. This wound up a little oddly patchy sometimes as they transited the stairs, but as almost-backlight as far as the audience sees it probably doesn't matter much.

I was reasonably pleased that a relatively few lights achieved a well-rounded balance across a large area, with no noticeable dark spots and decent visual suppression of the fugly walls and exit-doors behind everything, all in what was essentially a *single* submastered look with no programmed cues in the board. The "opening" bed scene was a little different, dimmer with deeper colors and a stronger hint of the "night" outside the window and behind the bed, but still on a manual slider. I was fortunate to have a board-op who understands the value of appropriately "damped" timing and following the pace of the story.

"Marry me?"   ...   "I can't."
He's convinced he can't do this anymore, and goes to leave her alone ...
... but soon returns because he realizes his longtime commitment to this liaison, and all is well again.

_H* 090222