True to my word, I have been laying low since arriving last week in Hartford. It has been so nice to catch up on rest, watch some movies, and stay in. The sightseeing and hanging out in the more recent cities has been a blast, but it is definitely nice to have a break from that.
That being said, the opening night in Hartford was not so smooth. The local stagehands are notoriously difficult to work with and run the theatre 100% by the book. The head carpenter at the Bushnell (the theater where we are playing) is the son of the guy who used to be head of IATSE (the stagehands’ union) and who wrote the pink contract (the contract which our crew works under)… so understandably union rules are strictly enforced here. Which is fine, but sometimes the stringency can just be kind of a pain in the ass. Like, there’s a rule in this local that local crew have to match road crew 1:1, so for instance, since we travel with three hair crew, we have to have three local hair crew. We usually only use one local hair person, so here in Hartford, we have two locals who sit and do nothing for the whole show and get paid for it. And we were made to hire a projectionist, who does nothing, since all of our projections are run through the light board. C’est la vie. That’s how it is here in Hartford.
So aside from the crazy union stuff, the Tuesday night show was just kind of nutty. There is no room on stage right so everyone was tripping over each other and running into scenery over there. Then the campfire prop literally caught on fire and the local pyro guy figured the best way to put out the fire was to STOMP on the prop, breaking it into pieces. We have no back-up campfire and it is costing us $2000 to replace. You would think the PYRO guy would know how to maybe use a fire extinguisher?? Also that night, the Black Knight scene went to hell when one of the arms wouldn’t fall off, and then one of his legs fell off too early. It was just one thing after another until the show ended.
Luckily things have gotten better – we’ve gotten used to the space limitations and the local crew are actually doing a great job. The rest of the week has been relatively smooth.
We had an opening night party at Hot Tomato’s which is a restaurant near the theater and which had a really delicious Italian buffet. The sweet potato ravioli was amazing.
The rest of the first week was really low-key. I ordered groceries which were delivered to my apartment, and tried to stay in most nights. I even made it to the gym a couple of times this week!
Brian (who was the original 1st ASM on the tour) came to visit on Sunday. It was great to see him – he hung out backstage during the shows and a big group of us went to dinner at Trumbull Kitchen between shows. After the evening show, about fifteen of us went out for drinks and appetizers at Vaughn’s, which is the bar that I spent a lot of time at with the cast of “A Christmas Carol” when I was in Hartford in November. On Sunday night I ran into Patti there – she was one of my PA’s on “A Christmas Carol”. It was so nice to see her! I’m hoping to catch up with her and my other PA from “A Christmas Carol”, Alex, sometime this week.
On Monday, Brian, Ryan and I had a really suburban day. We went to the mall, ate at Pizzeria Uno, bought groceries at Trader Joe’s, hung out at Starbucks and then watched a movie at my apartment. It was great! It was nice spending time with Brian – I miss him so much! Luckily he is coming to Houston for a week to cover Ken’s vacation, so we will have more mall days to come!
Today I got a facial and a pedicure at a great spa called Oggi right behind the apartment building I am staying in. Who knew there was such a cool place in downtown Hartford? It was incredibly relaxing and my skin is all soft and smooth! Man, I love a good spa day!
We have rehearsal every day this week so I’m sure this week will be just as uneventful as last week was, but I’m okay with that. And especially with all the rain we’ve been getting (a “nor’easter” they keep saying on the news), it’s nice to just stay inside.
We’ve been rehearsing Graham, our new swing, at Hartford Stage’s rehearsal studio – it’s so surreal being back in that space with “Spamalot”, when just a few months ago I was there with “A Christmas Carol”. So much has happened in five months!
Here’s a couple of photos taken in Trumbull Park which is across the street from the apartment building where I am staying:
And here’s a few of the Capitol building, which is right across from the theater: