I'm sitting here in the back row of the Mark Taper Forum, where my IATSE Local 33 brothers and siters are installing the set for Stuff Happens, a new play by David Hare, Directed by Gordon Davidson. After over 35 years as the Artistic Director for the Center Theater Group in LA, Gordon is going out with a bang (much like he came in), doing this play about the Bush administration's charge to war. After this it's retirement for the man who changed the face of Los Angeles Theater.
There is a 50 foot wide reflective drop that when back lit, has a large picture of the front of the White House. The set, designed by Ming Cho Lee, drops down to floor level, where the actors will be on the same level as the front row of the audience. Everyone who has seen rehersals says it's great, that you laugh to keep from crying, and that it's meticulously researched. The flier reads:
Stuff Happens is a brand new play about the series of events that led to the conflict in Iraq and the parts played by world political leaders, in particular President George W. Bush and his inner circle of foreign policy advisors. From the early search for weapons of mass destruction and the long shadow cast by 9/11, to the drive to remove the tyrannical Saddam Hussein from power, to the thousands of questions relating to oil, terror, Al Qaeda and more, Stuff Happens explores through public record and through David Hare's meticulous research what most likely happened behind the closed doors of power. Hare has fashioned a compelling narrative on recent history, and a riveting drama about the frustrations of power and the limits of diplomacy.The play stars Tyrees Allen, Henry Brown, Jane Carr, Keith Carradine (as Bush), Mitchell Edmonds, Brian George, Kip Gilman, James Gleason, Francis Guinana, James Handy, Jay Harik, John Michael Higgins, Anna Khaja, John Ratter Lee, Dakin Matthews, Paul Messinger, Alan Oppenheimer, Julian Sands, Stephen Spinella, Lorraine Toussaint, Inger Tudor, and my friend John Vickery, who played Scar in the LA production of Lion King (which I ran the automation on).
The title of the play is, of course, based on the famous Rumsfeld Iraq looting quote from April 11, 2003: "Stuff happens... and freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things."
I'm setting up the audio and the projection for the show (the projection is just one cue at the end), and I will be running both the audio and projection for three weeks when my boss, Master Saoundman Jeff Bryan, goes on vacation in June and July. I will be logging my experience at my main blog: Backstage with Supak. I'll do some cross posting to here as reminders to all the KOSsacks who I hope to see in the theater! I'll be in the audience opening night, and I'll be running the audio/video June 22 through July 10. Drop me a note if you plan to attend: ssupak at yahoo dot com.