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On a Warmer Note

By Zoe Benditt

Want to know something boring? I made a budget! Another one. Want to know why? (Although if you were disappointed by the first answer you may have already stopped reading.) The Office of Experiential Learning approved our grant for Tongues of Men and Angels! Plus, the Theatre Arts Department approved my memo for the expense of renting chairs, so the show is financially awesome right now. The money part of my job is looking pretty super okay.

Things have mellowed out since my last post. The production is well underway, and we’ve begun contacting our Kickstarter backers, communicating about promised rewards, and the responses look really great.

The coolest thing about Kickstarter: a lot of our backers have no affiliation with the Pitt theatre arts department or the Pittsburgh theatre community.  I’ve been messaging one backer from Australia, and I just got a response from another lady in Oklahoma! It’s neat to see how far our show has reached and how theatre can light a warm place in someone’s life.

So as I lay here in my bed, listening to my roommates downstairs screaming at the Bills game, (Football.  The one with the bases.) I feel good. Things are where they should be, which is when my role as production manager slips into the background.  It’s the kind of job where when done right, no one knows you’ve done any work at all.  I’m perfectly happy becoming invisible…

… is what I wrote Sunday afternoon.  On Monday, I remembered I’d neglected one little huge thing: fire.

Looks like I’m back on the visible spectrum.

Yes, there is (will be? will be!) fire in Tongues of Men and Angels.  Fire looks awesome onstage, and both the actors and audience really dig it, but getting fire permission at a university… not so easy.

Actually, Laura, the department’s operations manager, told me otherwise.  But if I pretend it’s difficult, I can stress out and eat more pizza, right?

Still, just in case, I sent some of the production team off on a little mission to come up a Plan B.  It’s like “Project Runway” and I’m Heidi Klum, or “Parks and Rec” and I’m Leslie Knope, or “Toddlers and Tiaras” and I’m one of those small, scary pageant girls. Any of the ways, I get to be blonde (and now I’ve revealed more of my bad habits on the Internet.) 

So I’m expecting a list of creative, exciting ideas to use in the event of no-fire that further exhibit the talents of USITT.   Then I get this email:

“We won't be allowing fire onstage in the Studio this Academic Year. So please have your directors re-think all use of flame and go with their alternate plans.”

It sounds pretty grave, but it isn’t. It’s a challenge.  It’s been done before, and we’re happy to do it again.  If one light goes out, there’s always another waiting for someone to turn it on.  And in this case, that light is a disco ball.