You know how you think a job is going to be relatively easy – and brief – then stuff happens and it ends up being much more work – and more time-consuming – than you thought?
Originally, the plan was to paint the sandbox borders (black) and paint the two chairs (pale base coat, then textured with two or three pale blues and greens). Four of us were booked to come in, including set/lighting designer Ed Rosing, who would be acting as supervisor/foreperson. We figured we’d be there for a couple of hours. I was on paint duty, and Dinah and partner David were in charge of the border installation. First, they were delayed at the store when they were picking up more 2×2’s. Then, they couldn’t find the right sized screws to attach them to the stage, so had to go back out to the hardware store. In the meantime, I painted all the 2×2’s and the chairs. Ed and I also realized that the dark brown table wouldn’t work with the chairs, so I painted that too. Same as the chairs. No prob.
The legs had already been put up and we also had some donated, pre-painted scrim up, far upstage with an opening for up centre entrances/exits. However, the painting treatment on the scrim looked too much like a forest of trees, so that needed further paint/texturing. Ever tried to paint scrim after it’s hung? I don’t recommend it. Ed and I did our best to hold the stuff taut while I painted. It was especially tricky while up on the ladder.
The other challenge was that, since Ed was dealing with a bad knee and needed to sit with his leg up, he and I needed to work as a single entity (which I’ll call “Med”: me + Ed): his vision/mind and my arms/hands/brush. Sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss. And I have enough trouble living in my own mind sometimes, let alone someone else’s.
In the end, Dinah and David got the sandbox border down, and Med did all the painting. By the time I cleaned up and schlepped about a dozen cans of paint back down to the basement, it was four hours later. I was so beat, I didn’t bother changing out of my painting clothes. Lucky for Ed and me, the Hedda Gabler gang (Jane Carnwath, Lynda Yearwood, Margot Devlin, Andy Fraser and PJ Hammond) had been holding auditions upstairs and were heading out at the same time, so he and I got a drive with Jane, who was also driving Margot. Thank God! And thank Jane!
So there you are – the very glamourous world of scenic painting. And a cautionary note: don’t be getting too smug that you’ve got an easy-peasy job ahead of you, ‘cuz unexpected stuff always happens. And you just gotta deal.