Saturday, November 15, 2008


No more onion and cheese sandwiches after ten pm. At least not involving onions that have been sitting on the counter for two weeks, apparently scheming my eventual downfall. Damme.

Rumors are still flying fast and thick around makes for a tense working environment when the first thing out of someone's mouth after hello is "are you okay?" meaning "Do you still work here?" And it doesn't make me feel any better to say that the CDC is okay. So far everyone's still employed, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if there are less interpreters, there will be less need for clothes.

But in the meantime, we're still soldiering on. Since things have slowed down--both due to the recent layoffs and just the fact that it's fall and there are less visitors--we're getting to work on some of the evening program stuff that takes a long time. Fancy dance clothes, silk gowns and suits. And because the women's team is waaaay ahead and the men's team is waaay behind, the two supervisors have compromised and just started handing out work based on due dates instead of gender. So I've landed a beautiful red silk coat and breeches for one of the musicians. It is a joy to work on: miles of red silk lined with goldish taffeta and trimmed with gold lace. And the designer even agreed with me that the breeches were looking a little "plain" and they really needed some gold trim along the kneeband. I love eighteenth century men. Peacocks, the lot of 'em.

One of the cool things that CW does are the Electronic Field Trips. Basically, they are pre-recorded scenes from various points in history, mixed in with live question and answer sessions. Schools can tune into the EFT, which is beamed via satellite all over the world, but if they are registered, they can also call in and ask questions, which are answered live on the show. CW also hosts forums, email-in questions and video questions. Not everyone makes it onto the show, but every question is answered.

The one on Thursday was about Yorktown. This EFT was originally filmed a few years ago, during the 225 anniversary of the siege, but the live section was just as live as ever. It featured a historian from CW, a park ranger from the Yorktown historic site, and two interpreters portraying Lieutenant John Laurens and Loyalist John Cooke, respectively. People from the CDC got to go over to the educational center auditorium and watch the live broadcast. It was highly entertaining, especially the parts were Laurens and Cooke would get into catfights about who was being a traitor to what cause. Meeeeow!

Afterward, we got a little tour of the backstage operations. In order to answer any questions that come in, there are two rooms full of volunteers manning phone banks and computers, books and other resources scattered around--including one of the military program guys, who was explaining about mortars when we peeked in. Then we got to see the set where the magic happened. Nicole and I were mostly impressed by the electric rigs, which were moved up and down by electric winches. The performers had disappeared for lunch, and we were hard pressed not to follow them into the lunchroom and gently remind them that wigs and coats should not be tossed over's a little odd to see Lieutenant Laurens eating pasta while talking on his cellphone. Mostly because theatre training dictates one should NEVER eat in costume...but rules are a little more relaxed here.

But it was really cool to see another side of CW, and to hear some of the questions that the kids had about Yorktown. General questions about the battle and about the experiences of the soldiers, but really specific questions too, like "What is that metal thing around his neck?" I'm hoping in the future to get involved with these programs, so it was nice to see how they work on the day of broadcast. They're a big deal, and such a great resource for people who can't afford to make the trip to Virginia.

Other than that, it's been a normal week. I worked as a storyteller again last night, once again in the Wythe south office. It was harder last night, mostly because we had a fire going and I was really hot. Also constantly worrying that I was going to catch my petticoats on fire, but happily that did not happen. My clothes do smell like campfire smoke now, but I guess that just contributes to the "periodness" of it all.

1 comment:

Diane Fields said...

From what i hear they seem to be laying off a lot of older people for early retirement and CW tend to do that Nicki. That is always going on.To me it sounds like you are a talent of many trades and i think or i hope they like that sweetie. What is your e-mail again by the way? Call me anytime,maybe we can even do get togethers when we can.