It seems like everyone I know has been feeling under the weather lately. I'm hoping the throat virus that kept me home from our final dress rehearsal a couple of weeks ago, and from TV work for several days the following week (after a brief respite during which I'd hoped it was just a 24-hour bug) means I won't get this one. Especially because I'm finally supposed to rejoin my TV crew tomorrow and, after taking a bunch of time off to do Jack Was Kind (and Curious Incident not long before that) I can't afford to miss any more days until at least Christmas.
Speaking of which (along with dentistry): today I have to call my doctor and dentist, both of whom I'd scheduled for checkups next Monday, and try to push those appointments until the holiday -- again, so as not to take a workday off if I can help it.
My friend Isabel, in addition to feeling a lil oogy the past few days, has also been dealing with a sprained foot from several weeks ago and a costume gig that is turning out to be a headache. When I FaceTimed with her yesterday evening, I noticed she was with her Very Good Boy (actually, technically her son's VGB whom she often dog-sits): an affable Goldendoodle named Murphy, who was curled up on a blanket next to her looking very cozy indeed. Yesterday had been especially stressful for Isabel on the work front, so, between one thing and another, it was decided that the sensible course of action would be for her to take a mental health timeout and stay home today (it's supposed to rain all day here) for some restorative snuggling. Murph, ever the game helper-outer, seemed very amenable to the idea.
Fun fact: the windows are technically not rear-projected (i.e., from a projector onto R.P. material). Instead, the dappled "exterior" background (stills and video, often layered together) actually streams directly onto two 65" 4K video screens mounted, side by side, directly onto the back of a single very wide "letter-slot" opening in the black duvetyn-covered upstage wall of the set; the surfaces of the screens essentially double as the "glass" of the windows themselves. The use of video screens provides greater image brightness -- bright enough, as our lighting designer observed during tech, to be useful as a significant source of "cast" light itself -- which in turn allows the images to cut through stage light without getting washed out, and provides a vividly plausible sense of vibrant daylight outside. (We actually ended up dialing down the screen brightness a bit, partly to achieve a darker "video black" for the final blackout at the end of the play, but mainly because looking the video at full blast, in such a close and dark setting, for over an hour, made for an uncomfortable glare).
Fun fact #2: The wooden mullions and muntins, built into that letter-slot to divide the window/screen surface into 24 panes, are black on their front faces -- but all their edges are painted white to catch light from the video landscape "outside" and bring out the three-dimensionality of the windows' construction. Originally these edges were black as well; but our lighting designer had succeeded so brilliantly at keeping light off the walls and windows (so as to isolate and sculpt the sitting figure within my carefully-constructed "black void") that the all-black window frames appeared to have no thickness whatsoever. Even with quite a lot of "exterior" light glowing onto their black edges from the bright video screens directly behind them, the windows -- both the narrower muntins and even the much thicker, deeper vertical mullions dividing them into four sections of six panes each -- registered as completely flat 2D silhouettes. (At that point I half-joked that, instead of bothering to build those windows in wood, we might as well have simply indicated them by laying black tape directly onto the video screens). So I had the edges painted white -- and even then, they still catch so little light that these bright-white window edges with black front faces don't "pop" cartoonishly, as might be expected (and as this rendering makes it appear). The effect in reality is so beautifully subtle and realistic that you'd never in a million years guess it was being helped along by a bit of paint. In the end, "forcing" these windows' true architectural depth succeeded perfectly -- a fussy detail, but well worth it on a set with so few details to highlight.
Fun fact #3: Even that lengthy last paragraph slightly oversimplifies the window-edge solution. Rather than all-white edges (which made for a "simpler" and clearer explanation just now... relatively speaking), I actually had the scenic artist paint the bottom and left edges of each munton/mullion white, and the top and right edges a medium grey. Contrary to the rendering, this suggests directional sunlight falling from right to left (and from above, obviously), an orientation subtly reinforced by the video imagery. It also probably helps in the subtlety department; had the edges all been painted pure white, the risk of cartoonishness might have risen perceptibly -- although I have to say, to my great surprise, even the two edges that are pure white don't jump out at you appreciably more than the grey ones: under light, the effect really is amazingly subtle, and astonishingly realistic. It brings back the dimensionality that would otherwise be lost to darkness, but without even the faintest trace of visible artifice.
The snow was just bad enough to make traffic awful this morning, but I did make it to the dentist on time. Nothing remarkable about my teeth; I had them cleaned and a fluoride treatment applied. I have my next two appointments set up. The snow is pretty, but I think it will be mostly gone by tomorrow, when we're supposed to have sunshine. It is cold right now. I have a strong desire to go to bed and snuggle with a dog. I turned the heat up in my house, and I still feel cold.
A nice mention of the set, and an overall much more favorable review that also, gratifyingly, "gets" some things others haven't. It even made me realize for the first time -- and I've spent plenty of hours before now thinking about this play -- that, like it or not, having the solo performer "just sit there" for the entirety of the performance is, in a sense, thematically central. (Our poster even uses the phrase in its tagline, as what I'm now choosing to interpret as a kind of audience warning). In a somewhat similar fashion, one of the unfavorable reviews linked above made me pause to reconsider a specific pair of video cues in the show in a way that actually both altered and clarified their potential meanings for me.
I'm working on a finished portfolio clip of the digital set model, which I'll post here with my usual long-winded explainer. But it may take awhile yet: the animation is becoming as ambitious, in its own way, as my Much Ado and Don't Look Back clips earlier this year, as here I'm trying to illuminate the deceptive intricacy of a design whose tiny scale and apparent simplicity are all that likely register to most viewers. (That is as it should be, by the way -- I'm not complaining. While showing the design at our first table read, I actually invoked the truism that simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve, and this design has indeed been a pure demonstration of that old cliché).
Costco did not have the Haagen-Dazs ice cream bars covered with peppermint bark. I guess I really didn't need them. I don't want to go back tomorrow just for those. They did have the Lucky Charms, the Chex Mix and the mozzarella sticks, so I've got plenty of stuff to eat for snacks.
I should have gotten a slice of pizza or a hot dog, seeing how I didn't have to worry about ice cream bars melting, but I just went home.
I went to the UPS Store to return a package. It was right across the parking lot from Costco, and I could see that they were overly crowded, so the mozzarella sticks will have to wait until Sunday. I think that Monday is actually the last day the mozzarella sticks and ice cream bars are on sale, so maybe I can stop by on my way home Monday afternoon.
Severance is really good too, though the season-finale cliffhanger will leave you, well, hanging for the better part of a year before its second season streams. (They're currently only about a month into filming S2; won't wrap until next May or thereabouts; and will prolly need a few months of post-production after that).
But by all means yes, do catch Ted Lasso! It makes excellent holiday viewing, and with 22 episodes currently available, it's a delightful binge, or you can spread it out a bit. Ted's third season might even become available before your free trial expires: they haven't set a release date yet, but apparently S3 wrapped about a week ago.
Happy Shrimpsgiving! And I hope Miss Bernadette will be getting some other nice treat (and plenty of snuggles).
Today wasn't too bad a day. It was pretty warm for November, and most of the snow is melted now. We had a nice walk this afternoon. Tomorrow I am planning to make shrimp scampi. Unfortunately I got the shrimp without tails on, so I won't have any to give to Bernadette. I also didn't buy parsley, so it's going to be missing that ingredient. Oh well.
I also have to find the least yucky time to go to Costco this weekend, because I want to get a couple of things that are on sale. I'm hoping I can just run in, grab the mozzarella sticks and ice cream bars, and rush out. I guess I don't really need either of those items. My biggest plan for the weekend is doing laundry, including the sheets I changed two weeks ago but didn't wash. I also want to watch Ted Lasso with my three free months of Apple+ TV (from buying the phone).