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The Adventures of an Out-of-Town AD

July 5, 2014 / by Lavina Jadhwani, Classical Directing Fellow


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Or: Three Things the Berkshires Have Taught Me About My City Routine

This is my third assistant directing gig as a non-local artist, and I've come to realize that I shift my daily routine when I'm in a different city. I have a long history with Chicago theatre, where many people have known me for years; working out of town and engaging with new people allows me the opportunity to re-invent myself. When I worked at Hartford Stage, I was a social butterfly – I cooked and entertained quite a bit, attempted (but mostly failed) to train for a 10 mile race, and spent a lot of time on my hair. When I assisted at PlayMakers Repertory Company, I was much more reclusive and spent most of my free time watching Aaron Sorkin shows by myself.

 

I'm not yet sure who I am in Lenox, but my time in the bucolic Berkshires have made me aware of some of my city-dwelling habits. Namely:

 

  1. I carry my keys everywhere.

When I leave my apartment in Chicago, I mentally run through my checklist of “wallet, keys, phone” before heading out the door. In Lenox, that middle step is unnecessary. The Berkshires is a relatively safe and trusting community – most people don't lock their doors as a result. I don't have a keys to anything at Shakespeare & Company, and it's still tripping up my morning routine; I feel like I'm missing a step. But at the end of the day, it's an incredibly relaxing feeling to just... walk in to my apartment after a long day of rehearsal. It's like the trust that's inherent in S&Co's rehearsal rooms carries with me from work to home. I'm noodling on how I can make that part of my Chicago routine.

 

  1. I wear sunglasses and headphones when I don't need them.

The walk from my apartment to the rehearsal hall takes maybe three minutes. (Shakespeare & Company's performance venues, office space, and artists' housing primarily reside on the former campus of a young boy's school, so the facilities are pretty compact.) I instinctually suit up for this commute by donning my “city girl defense gear” -- sunglasses, headphones, and a purposeful walk. It gives off a pretty strong “don't talk to me vibe” which I usually want on the red line, but not so much over here. During my first week, I was feeling rather shy and a bit overwhelmed as a newcomer. This week, I realized there's only one way to change that – unplug and look up!

 

  1. I multi-task mid-transit.

On Monday, I took a mini-road trip with some of my colleagues to explore the neighboring towns of Stockbridge, Lee, and Great Barrington. (I was introduced to SoCo Creamery along the way, whose gelato I highly recommend.) When we hopped in the car, I immediately started multi-tasking – catching up on email, updating my calendar, maintaining my new Instagram account. In Chicago, the el is my office and I instantly shift into “work mode” when I'm alone on the train. As my grad school officemates will attest – I get twitchy when I feel like I'm not being efficient. This week I'm trying something new: focusing on one thing at a time, instead of getting multiple things done at once. (Ok, I still start to clean up mid-cooking – but that's just common sense, right?) Director Kimberly Senior talks about a year in which she directed twelve shows and how that experience made her learn how to truly be present. I hope that my time in Lenox will teach me the same.

 

Pictured above: scenery on my arduous commute to rehearsal at Shakespeare & Company