Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Dinner (Yale/NY Theatre job)

Wow. So that interview party was one of the odd-er moments of my life.

I got out of the car in the parking lot next to this music store downtown and had absolutely no idea where to go. The door to the place wasn't even open yet, so I kind of stood around with the other applicants until someone told us the door was open. We walked up to this little apartment up above the music store with this rooftop terrace looking out over the river. It was pretty bizzare, this little apartment right downtown and strangely it had a river view. Anyway, there were tables with wine and cheese and glasses set out on them, and we all met Stephen the director and sat in a circle and played name games like we were at camp or something. Then we all went around and talked about why we were there, and I don't even REMEMBER what I said, but basically this guy wanted to know more about us as applicants but also more about the area, the culture, what's going on. There were some pretty odd people there, but odd in a good way, like the woman named Tripura ("It's like Tempura... only with trees") with a husband named Om who had lived in a cave as a monk until she met him. There was also a guy who'd been in Santa Cruz since the 70s, a graduate of Yale Drama who was about 65 or older, and a girl in her late 20s or early 30s that had gone to the same high school as me. After everyone had gone around and talked about themselves, the director told us how many people had applied for the job (about 30) and how many had showed up (about half), then gave us an assignment - someone had written him a pretty snide email in response to his posting, which read like this (all misspellings and mistakes included):

"I think this project and advertisement wreak of a false sense of cultural superiority; an East/West bifurcation.

Use the rubes of the west for the menial tasks, while we Yaleans pretend to create? with the false lure of the carrot of New York bound celebrity, which is Passe.

An artistic stipendian can not support a creative director without being a sycophant.

The use of 'stipend' stipulates that the pay, the worth of this valuable new hire, is not valued. The word is childish and implies that the 'Work' is more valuable than any monetary reward.

Who understands what it is to be an artist? let alone how to train one.

A tiny wage for performing thankless hours of work. This person will be paid an extremely small remuneration while creating for this vaunted soul from Yale the cast and production required to set himself up in Broadway. A very selfish but not unusual scam."

I personally think that someone was treated badly in the past, did all the work and didn't get any recognition for it (which I understand - it's happened to me in the past). Anyway, we were supposed to write a response (funny, he 'stipulated') to this person's email. Mine was in the form of an official letter that the governor's office or some big corporation would send you: starting, "Thank you for your concern. We are working to find the best 'rubes' possible for this position" and ending with "Go Bulldogs!" which is the Yale mascot. After that the meeting sort of broke up, but some people stuck around and chatted.

I really didn't get to talk to the director much about theatre (even though I was there until 10:30 at night), but something kind of interesting happened right before I left - two other women were having a conversation with him about puberty, and growing up, and I was sort of listening and sort of looking around, just observing, and I noticed there was this owl sitting on a telephone line not 10 feet away from where we were sitting. I just said, "look," and pointed it out to them, and the director turned to me and was like, "I've never seen a real owl before." It was kind of a cool thing to happen right then.

Anyway. I have NO idea whether or not I'll get the position, but it was a really cool, unexpected night and I'm glad I went and didn't chicken out.

I just got a great idea for a commercial for those thin crisp 100 calorie snack packs. It'd be like those, "We just switched this woman's morning toast with a rabid badger" type commercials, only this time it'd be, "We just switched this congregation's communion wafers with our 100 calorie snack packs. Let's see how they like it." And then one woman takes communion and jumps up and yells, "Wow!" And then everyone looks at her funny." Yeah.

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