BY Advocate Contributors
October 17 2009 7:10 AM ET
Jimmy Shaw secured DT Espacio Escenico, a black box theatre in Chueca (“the Greenwich Village of Madrid”) that he described as “bohemia at its essence, very Spanish in the Almovódorian sense.” As part of their Festival Version Original, we would have very limited time to rehearse.
“It was claustrophobic,” Jimmy remembers. “Airless and black and oppressive. All we had to circulate the air was a big electric fan that was placed in the middle of the stage.”
While everyone knew that the play would be performed in English for a largely bilingual audience, we didn’t foresee the unnerving tech rehearsal that required I have an English-to-Spanish translator in order to set the lights and sound.
When I would say things like, “I want to soften up the lights in that downstage area and give more texture to the sound levels,” the translation was utterly incomprehensible to the Spanish-speaking techies, who looked at me with dumbfounded expressions on their swarthy faces.
Jimmy has since said to me that he was awed by my degree of trust. My trust -- that things will happen as they are meant to -- comes from all those years of putting it out there; it’s an unwavering belief in the theatre as a higher power.
I’m not suggesting that every experience is foolproof because of my belief system, but at some point in the process, I know; I know that the work will take flight. Maybe it happens subtly, like when I’m ravaging through the backstage area, which Jimmy said was “like setting a kid loose in his eccentric aunt’s attic.” I was, literally, seeing red: a red ladder, a red piece of fabric to throw purposefully over the couch -- red to match the color of the phone; a Pickett decision from day one so it was no accident.
“Red -- the color of passion, the color of blood, the color that agitates bulls in the bullring,” Jimmy recalls, all aglow with memory. “Unapologetic red -- the color of an emergency, the color of a revolution.” With trust, we had our design in place.