Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thursday, January 30-Sunday February 2: Donna, TX

On Thursday Ryan and I were slated to have a block of rehearsal time from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. However, when we arrived backstage we saw that they were not ready for us; the ring curb was still being set up, the curtain was not up, and there were no lights rigged.

Since we were already there, Ryan and I decided to take initiative and go into the seats to work on our own. We blocked some of our entrances and exits, as well as a couple of chases in the gags.
While we were working, we met one of the clowns from the west coast unit of Vazquez. He was very complimentary of our work, and he answered some of our questions about the show.

A little later in the day Ryan invited me to join his family at the flea market a few miles from the lot.
It was nice to get out of our trailers for a bit, but we weren't really impressed with the selection of items for sale. I suppose if we were looking for about a hundred electric heaters, various kitchen appliances, or flocks of birds picking through the trash on the ground, we would have been satisfied, but alas we were not.

The highlight for me was the cage of cute ducklings that one vendor was selling. Big surprise, huh?

Around 7 p.m. Ryan and I went into the tent to set the rigging for our fly away dummy prop used in the bull fighting gag.
Thanks to the help of the prop guys we were able to get our cable, rope, and bungee set in no time. Even better, when we tested the gimmick, the fly away dummy worked perfectly.

While we were waiting on the rigging, we talked with a few of the Vazquez brothers. They were very supportive and welcoming, and Ramon put us at ease by telling us, "Just be yourselves. You don't have anything to prove; you are here because we've seen you, and we like you."

While we had the ring, Ryan and I brought in the carpenter box and measured the amount of rubber tubing we need for the circular saw at the end of that act.

Friday was basically a day off for me and Ryan. Lighting and sound equipment was still being set up in the tent, so there was really nothing we could do.
Alfredo, the production manager, did call us in the evening to give us our schedule for Saturday, but other than that we were free to relax.

On Saturday we were called into the tent around 2:30, two hours before we were slated for rehearsal.
It seemed that rehearsals were going very well since they were running way ahead of schedule.

Ryan and I were introduced to Joseph Bouglione, from the famous European circus family in charge of Cirque D'Hiver.
Joseph is here to stage and light the east coast edition of Vazquez, which is very exciting.

Right off the bat we were told that only three of the four acts we prepared were needed for the show. Looking at the show running order and where our acts fall therein, we decided that the bull fighting act would be the obvious one to lose.
We were disappointed to lose one of our acts that we have worked so hard on, but we tried to look on the positive side. A little more down time in the show is never a bad thing.

Weeks prior to arriving in Donna, Ryan and I typed up detailed scripts for each of our acts. The scripts  go into intricate detail about the action taking place, lighting design ideas, as well as sound effect and music cues.
Unfortunately, we were thrown into the ring in a sink or swim manner, and all departments involved had to wing it, thus making the scripts feel like a waste of our time.

It was very stressful, but Ryan and I tried to just roll with the flow and remain as professional as possible.
I felt horrible for Teo, who is running the music AND sound effects for us. We gave him scripts and sound effect cue sheets for each of the acts several days ago, but without a chance to actually see the acts and slowly work through them, he was in over his head.

All things considered, the rehearsal went well. We ran through our three acts, staged where props and equipment are going, and gave Joseph our ideas for a few of the more intricate lighting cues.
Luckily everyone was very friendly, helpful, and professional, which helped keep us from feeling too overwhelmed. 
I did request to Alfredo that we get a rehearsal with just us and Teo to practice all 97 sound effect cues for the carpenter gag.

After we were finished with the creative team, Ryan and I took some time to re-write and simplify our music act; we also blocked out our entrance for the water spitting act.
Our entrance for water spitting is covering the removal of aerial motorcycle rigging, so we need to be in the audience much longer than we had anticipated.
Being thrown into that scenario without any audience in the seats to play off of, we didn't have much to do, so we wanted to go back and write specific material that will allow us to distract from the rigging change AND be entertaining and funny.

After we were finished working for the evening, Ryan and Tatiana invited me to go visit the Fusco family at Kelly Miller, since they had just arrived in Brownsville this afternoon.
I declined because I was so drained from the afternoon.

A good night's sleep and breakfast at Cracker Barrel made me feel more refreshed on Sunday morning, and it also gave me a more positive outlook than the one I went to bed with.

From noon to 1:00 p.m. Ryan and I had a rehearsal with Teo for the carpenter gag. It went well, and Teo gave us an idea for a cue sheet that will make his job even easier.

At 5:30 p.m. we had a rehearsal of our three acts for lighting cues. We basically ran through all three and then we were done. I would have liked to have had some chances to stop and start to fix music cues, but I suppose that is not what the rehearsal was for.
The important thing is that everyone seemed happy with our work.

The tent during rehearsals

We found out that the Vazquez brothers would like to see our bull fighting gag to choose which three acts they like the best for their show.
Ryan and I requested that we show it on Monday so we could have some time in the ring tonight to practice with the sound and prop crews.

The rigging for the fly away dummy had been taken down Saturday evening, so it had to be hung again. I also had to make another CD of the bull fight music for Teo.

After a dinner break Ryan and I were able to rehearse the bull gag a few times with music, costumes, and props.
I had a microphone for the rehearsal, and we were able to go through the act step by step before running it all out several times.
Ryan and I were so happy with the way that the rehearsal went. I wish we had been given the opportunity to run our other gags like that originally. Live and learn, I suppose.
The bottom line is we ended the evening feeling much better than we did last night.


Anonymous said...

Steve and Ryan,
As I was reading this post, I could just feel the anxiety and the possible "well,.. we're not used to that you know" feeling from new circumstances.
Judging from the way you responded, it seems like you both were able to roll with the punches. It will get better and I am so glad you guys were able to reach some sense of satisfaction and understanding. Don't despair...each day will get better. This is from a guy who knows next to nothing about what you are specifically going thru, but who has been is new sitautions all the time demanding fitting in and "going with the flow." Being shipped from the State Pen to other institutions every so often has that effect, ya know?
Take care guys,

Steve Copeland said...

Hi Keith,

We're learning more and more about their style of doing things every day.
I'll feel a lot less anxiety once we are open, I know that much.

Thanks for your support, always!