Escaping the Vortex
It was definitely a crazy winter break here in Philadephia. I'm sure as most north-easterners know there was the "polar vortex." I don't know about you, but back in my day, we just called it a cold front.
One of the problems caused by the polar vortex was when I was attempting to leave Philadephia to go to Las Vegas for the 2014 Internation Consumer Electronics Show with my father. We had a flight scheduled from Philadephia to Chicago, then Chicago to Las Vegas but due to the cold weather and freezing rain, we would have been delayed so much that we would have missed our connection. They in turn sent us away without letting us board (and luckily without checking our bags). We eventually made it to CES, only after purchasing tickets on a different flight from Washington, taking a midnight train down there, then staying at the airport for an hour before security opened up, then flying to Santa Anna, CA and renting a car, then driving for over four hours to get to Las Vegas. An interesting experience to say the least.
CES was incredible, and one of the cool aspects about it is being able to think about the possible application of some of the technology on display at CES to the theatrical world. I was also amazed at some of the tradeshow booth design that was on display. It's an interesting field that I don't think many people truly think of when they say that they want to be a designer. Any set designer or industrial designer could succeed at designing trade show booths.
One of the other projects that I had over winter break was producing a new play festival called:
Equinox New Play Festival
Once There Was: An Evening of Tales
The Equinox New Play Festival is an annual production which is completely produced, directed, written, acted, and designed by students. It is entirely on the students shoulder, which for some students will be the first time they have that type of responsiblity without any supervision. It is a great experience for anyone looking to produce their own work or for anyone in general who wants to see what it's like in the real world. The school helps you out with certain aspects, but there are a lot of things that you need to stay on top of and think of ahead of time in order to make sure that they happen.
I was a co-producer on it, which is not a new experience for me. What was great about this collaboration is that we divided and conquered the whole production. We each concentrated on our strengths (hers being organizational and personnel, mine being production, finance and marketing) and we ended up with (in my opinion) one of the strongest Equinox productions the school has seen.
Currently, I'm working down at Delaware Theatre Company as the dramaturg for their production of The Exonerated by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank. The production is directed by the professor who taught my Directing Studio class last semester. This is one of the other great things that I have talked about before, about this University. I took someone's class, and now have a professional gig because of the work that I did in the class. It's an incredible production and it is sure to create some conversation in the community about the death penalty.
Sadly, I am no longer working on Full Moon due to creative differences between myself and the writer. I am grateful for the opportunity that I had, but I have definitely learned more from what went wrong on the production which caused the fall out. That's another great thing about this school. They let you make mistakes. No one is perfect, and if they force us to be perfect, we aren't going to learn anything, and we are just going to be frustrated. I wish the cast and crew the best of luck on the production, and I can't wait to see what they did with it, and how it will be different from what I had envisioned.
And that's the way the cookie crumbles, Philadelphia.
David Fertik is a theatrical director, producer, administrator, and designer (specializing in Scenic and Puppetry Design). He currently serves as the Founding Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre Company and the Co-Producing Artistic Director of Revolution Arts Workshop. Regional Credits include: Delware Theatre Company, Barrington Stage Company, International Opera Theatre, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Marian Anderson Award, French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, and Playhouse 22. David's senior thesis project entitled "The Circus Freak" featured various different types of puppetry. David is a proud member of the two largest organizations for puppeteers, UNIMA-USA and Puppeteers of America.