Remember when getting your name on the board used to mean something bad?
These days, in my world, it means something good.
This is the Theatre's travel board. It’s more than five feet tall, and serves as company management's primary tool for tracking and sharing information about travel for any artists who will be visiting the Theatre in the coming weeks.
In any given season, Berkeley Rep hosts about 75 artists-in-residence for a period ranging from two weeks (the designers, here for tech) to three months (the actors you see on stage, between first rehearsal and final performance). Their schedules are as varied as their jobs, and The Board is how we track them all. Basically, if their name isn’t on The Board, to company management, they don’t exist.Whenever my fellow or I have completed arranging an artist’s travel, all aspects of the trip go up on the board -- their flight number, when it’s landing, and where (Hey, airlines! More non-stop, cross-country flights into OAK, please? SFO sucks during rush hour), who’s picking them up, and where they’re staying while they’re here. And of course, we repeat the process for the outbound flights. It’s great to track all the comings and goings -- and is a good reference point for staff wanting to find out when a specific artist, be it collaborative partner or old friend, will arrive -- but it’s particularly useful on our busiest day for each show: the day immediately before first rehearsal.
For The Arabian Nights, that was the day after Thanksgiving, when 11 actors flew into town. The picture of The Board at the top of this post was taken around 10am on Friday morning, when Champagne -- my fellow -- and I gathered at the theatre for a quick pep talk and itinerary check before heading out into the day. We spent the rest of the day like ships passing in the night, flitting between SFO, OAK, and actor housing.
Normally we’re lucky -- actors tend to congregate in New York and Chicago; we put everyone on the same flight, and voila! We have a cast. But these guys weren’t all from New York and Chicago -- and since it was the day after Thanksgiving, everyone had been flying into the Bay Area from wherever their families were. There were flights from Nashville and Seattle and Houston and Denver and Albuquerque in addition to Chicago and New York. Plus, this is how we found out a few actors were from here. (Evan Zes and I actually grew up a few blocks away from each other, and his parents live down the street from my grandma.) So, yeah, it was a busy day, and a full travel board. But they all got in –- and then I got to exercise my very favorite feature of the board:
It gives you such a great feeling of accomplishment when the day is done.
(Yeah, yeah, it’s not totally empty. The travel lines you’re seeing relate to tech for The Composer is Dead and The Arabian Nights, too.)
Thanks for the little peek into behind the scenes action! Love this post!
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