This commission has driven me to drink—caffeine. I have had more caffeinated soda in the last week than I had in the first three months of 2010 (which, granted, is only 3) and tonight I had my first purposefully full-caffeinated espresso coffee of the year.*
The only thing preserving my sanity is my commute. I wake up thinking about finishing Huckleberry and jot a few notes down, but during my casual-carpool drive across the bridge, I quietly put it away and start thinking about work, primarily The Tosca Project. It is our final production of the season. As a dance-theater fusion piece that has been workshopped over the past three years and is full of references to San Francisco history and personalities spanning the 20th century, it is also our most dramaturgically heavy show. For the past three days I have been writing a piece about how Sardou’s original play La Tosca and Puccini’s opera (La Tosca), though not original influences for The Tosca Project (which is set in the Tosca Cafe and is so entitled), are meaningfully alluded to and also have some interesting accidental echoes in the piece. My favorite is that the title, The Tosca Project, was not picked lightly; similarly, Sardou agonized over the name for his heroine, and days before rehearsal still had made no decision: “A name is a terrible thing. I am haunted night and day. I’ve gone through every family name in Venice from the Doges down . . . The name I want must be short; it must suit her; it must be like, very like, the character; and it must end in an ‘a’.” Next up: the history of La Tosca in San Francisco. Fun, but hard. By 5:30 I’m exhausted.
On my train ride home, I put Tosca and work away. I read the notes I wrote to myself that morning and start thinking about my friends at Huckelberry Hostel. On today’s ride, I start thinking about the excel spreadsheet I made last night with times of all of the scenes that I estimated after reading it aloud to myself. Scene 2 in The Cardiff Hill Jig is 180 seconds heavy; Scenes 3 & 4 combined are 160 seconds heavy. Either they have to get shorter, or the equivalent scenes in Two Sisters in the Boys Dorm have to get longer, or actors aren’t going to be able to traverse the minute-long courtyard in time. I muse over the question scribbled at the top of the Two Sister‘s draft “Is there beauty in this?” and the order in my notebook, “Give Widow a few moments of loveliness so she’s not just a monster.” I try to decipher the solution I found to Miss Watson’s clumsy confession of love to her surprised friend. Fun. But hard.
Too much of a good thing is freaking exhausting.