Stormy Weather.

So yes, I was lost in the Bermuda Triangle for two months. That's what happened. I was in a vortex being probed by aliens and they wouldn't let me blog. In reality we've been through just about the most hellish, intense 12 weeks of our life and I was only getting about three hours of sleep a night (on a good day) for a big chunk of that. The Tempest was so huge that I spent 99% of my time just trying to stay (barely) on top of things. If the Supper Club is a cute lil bunny:

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Then the Tempest was this feller:

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Seriously. It turned out great. And people will thrilled. And everyone was proud. But gettin' there was not a pleasure cruise.

Everyone has told me to stop trying to 'catchup' the blog... I hate not having everything chronicled... but I've finally come round to the fact that people care about what's gong on NOW... not what happened in 12 B.C. So from now on i'm gonna keep this thing as current as present as I can. So I'll tell you as much about the Tempest as I can and then we'll be movin' on.

I'm still in Bermuda - I managed to herniate a disc (it's happened to me before) in the process of rehearsals (I actually think it happened while transporting crap to the island from NY) so I'm hanging out here waiting to get an epidural AND writing the Mickey and Judy show. The Pack Leader is back in Indiana and apparently he and Madge are startin' work on the box office area asap. So I'll letcha know.

Anyway -

So before we both headed to NY to start rehearsals I was in Bermuda doing pre-production stuff. One of the primary things I was working on while I was there was taking video footage for the projection designer of stuff all around the island. We were intending on using video footage through most of the show of textures and abstract closeups of stuff from the island. And, big surprise, mom and I got a little obsessed with this and ended up spending almost my entire trip running around like a loon trying to get everything on my wish list.

Within the first couple days i was on the island, Kevin, the projection designer, told me he was having a really hard time getting the wild boar footage that we needed. See when settlers first arrived on the island they found these packs of wild boars running around. And in the Tempest some of the characters get attacked by wild dogs. Don't ask...I didn't write it. Anyway - we wanted to use wild HOGS instead of wild DOGS. And they had long been extinct on the island, and Kevin wasn't having much luck finding wild boars running up and down fifth avenue. My mom happened to overhear this conversation and informed me that because of the 400th Anniversary of the colonization (the same reason we were doing The Tempest) a local farmer had managed to track down the identical species of boar and had some of them brought on to the island. Yup. The islands pigs were Boar-n again. And thus - after a little detective work - mom and I got permission to go film the hogs.

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Now in case you're wondering if sitting in squishy mud for two hours video taping pigs is half as glamorous as it looks, the answer is: no.

The real challenge was that we were supposed to be getting footage of MAD hogs. Angry chasing hogs attacking. My mother felt very, very strongly that trying to anger the boars was not an ideal tactic. So instead we were aiming to just try and get footage of them running toward the camera. To this end my mom decided to bring about five hundred sliced apples (Good idea) and lure them where we wanted them (good idea). The only problem with this was that my mother likes animals. Like lots. And she was trying to be nice and fair to all the pigs. So rather than give them a TASTE of the apples so that they would then follow eagerly to get more... she decided to feed EVERY pig an apple EVERY time we wanted them to do something BEFORE they did it. As incentive she said.

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So she would feed them... then it would take five minutes for them to stop chewing, and then we would try to get them to follow us. And then she would gently lure them in a sauntering happy pig fashion (a sort of sashay, if you will) toward the camera. I also couldn't quite get mom to understand that i needed the pigs to look like they were chasing something and rushing PAST the camera. For some reason she thought it would be really ideal for me to have terrifying footage of pigs running toward the camera and then stopping dead in front of it to hang out and eat apples which my Mom kept putting there. And having footage of boars eating apples wasn't exactly on the shot list. And, as the pigs rapidly became inflated with 'incentive' apples, they quickly lost the desire to actually 'perform'. so it was a challenge. But the pigs had a great time.

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So while I was in Bermuda not only did we need footage of a pig. We needed an actual pig. Well, kinda sorta. See in the show they bring on this huge banquet and I wanted a boar on a spit. Of course. Why not. And I wanted the boar on a spit to become possessed and talk. Of course. While hanging in mid air. Sure. Why not. So, on my 21 mile long by 1 mile wide island I went to "Hanging, Talking Possessed Pigs on a Spit R Us" and picked one up.

Not quite.

So I had to make a pig. A life size pig on a spit. Now - if I was in Indiana I'd have a sense of where to start with this. Three guesses. Home Depot. I'd just go get a couple of those big, not-too-expensive sheets of insulation foam and I'd stack them together and glue them and sculp mr. pig. Now, i knew from YEARS ago that there was a place on the island that sold foam - not insulation foam, cuz let's face it - they don't really need to insulate here. But they did have foam which they used to build the stepped roofs on the island that all the houses have to collect water...

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So we got in the car and drove half an hour to this place where the stuff came from that I got like ten years ago and I was all ready to get my foam. Except prices had gone up. Like a LOT. To buy enough sheets of foam to make my four five foot by three foot boar the cost, to use this magical golden special roof foam, was gonna be.... $900.

And yes, Bermuda money is the same as American money.

Blerg. I was not happy. So we ended up calling like every construction place on the island to see if they had any kind of NON golden precious plutonium foam. And finally, finally we found a place that had some. And they donated it to the show which was so awesome - in fact during the entire process everyone on island seemed to be so happy to help with The Tempest that it was kind of overwhelming. The only problem with these foam philanthropists was that they took about two weeks to get back to us to tell us they HAD the foam. So by the time we got it in our possession I only had about three days to complete the most complicated project I had to deal with on the island. I had managed to find an ookey boars head online at a halloween supply place - and I ALSO couldn't start sculpting the body until the head arrived (to make sure I was making it the right size to match). And then UPS decided to wage some kind of international 'screw-with-Jo-Jo' initiative. But finally the head arrived and I was able to start...making a gigantic mess in my Mom's kitchen. :)

Gluein' the foam together into a block... pig-1-a.jpg\

Cuttin' out the shape... pig-1b.jpg

Starting to sculp. At first I had this great idea to use one of those wire brush paint-remover attatchments for the drill to eat away the foam really quickly. In the kitchen. Yah. Try that one outside, kids. It kinda snowed in the kitchen. pig-2.jpg

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Then it got covered with muslin dipped in glue (to give it a hard protected surface)... pig-6.jpg

Then the muslin seams were smoothed with vinyl spackle (which worked really well - but, warning, is HEAVY when it dries)... pig-7.jpg

And then I painted the body (and the head that finally arrived to match). pig-8.jpg

We couldn't permanently attach the head while I was on the island because the head had to come back with me to New York. Now, those of you that know me, will not be terribly surprised by the fact that the whole "pig magically talks while floating in mid-air" thing...I hadn't really thought about to much. Partially this was because I thought The Pack Leader would be able to do some kind of magic tool, competant builder type thingy. Pack Leader verdict: "Bite Me". Admittedly this was because I decided to inform the Pack Leader of my need for a talking demonic pig somewhat late in the game. Like a week before he was heading to New York. Apparently he doesn't work well under pressure :)

Now - in the process of trying to figure out the talking pork (which, amazingly was NOT in any way shape or form sponsored by Nick's Kitchen... whyyy notttt?????) and a few other illusions that I wanted to try and have, I called a wonderful guy named Peter Samelson that I had worked with before on a musical called Houdini. I wasn't even sure Peter would remember me - but he called me right back and we had this great chat on the phone. He had never done The Tempest and had always wanted to. And it fit in his schedule. And if we were able to get him a hotel room and a flight he would basically design the show for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of his normal fee. Sometimes - tropical island - very handy. I was sooo excited because Peter is like the nicest guy in the whole universe, and he's incredibly imaginative AND he was excited about making the pig talk.

Pack Leader off hook.

I also decided I needed a sand castle in the show that I wanted one of the characters to make out of the blue. (what? Shakespeare....sand castle...what's not to like?). This actually turned out to be more of a challenge than I had originally anticipated. I made this basic shape using foam remnants from Mr. Pig (who had recently been named "Leonard" for reasons none of us can recall), paper towel tubes and cut up kitchen sponges.

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then painted...

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Now see then I figured I could just spray the thing with spray adhesive photo mount and then chuck sand on it at the beach and it would all stick to it and voila - instant sand castle. Nope. I ended up with sand everywhere but ON the castle. Sooooo... we came up with a plan B. Which my able assistant Donna Sue Mom had to finish off when I was in New York. She had the idea of using that spray texture paint rock-looking stuff - and it worked great. As you can see by this lovely photograph she sent me with my dad acting like some kind of Price is Right showcase girl hostage.

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None of this excitement, however, was nearly as fun as FLAG DAY... Just wait... Rich has told me that I'll be officially cut off from Po if I don't get another couple of blogs done this week... so no more fake-outs. xo

JoJo.