Stage Manager & Creative Innovator

Talking to Strangers & Other Updates

Day 5; 9 Days Until Park Opens

I've been here nearly a week (which feels insane) and have been practically non-stop since Day 1.  Last night was the first night I made it up past 10pm (UAE Time) without a nap in the afternoon. Jet lag has hit me as never before. I can usually power through with one bad day, but it's been a struggle since my arrival. Wednesday I fought to stay up as long as I could, I made it to about 2pm before I needed to sleep. I tried to only allow myself a small nap, 45 minutes or so. My alarm went off, I tried to get up and continue unpacking and instead I absolutely fell over. Tripped over my own two feet and smashed into the cozy little chair and marble table in the nook of my master suite. The bruise on my arm is truly impressive. I took the hint and crawled back to bed for another two hours.

Once I woke up, finished unpacking, and tried to wake up, I got a text inviting me upstairs to meet the company manager, graphic designer/video editor, and the entertainment supervisor.

Everyone is lovely. We're all transplants, no one is from Dubai originally though some people have been here longer than others. No one quite fits the picture you create in your head from emails and Facebook, which is fantastic. We're all so much more interesting than that. My favorite example of this is the entertainment supervisor who is on track to be one of my favorites of my new colleagues. In emailing him, I pictured a late 30s/early 40s crotchety older local gentleman. In reality, he's a 29-year-old, chain-smoking, strung-out, foul-mouthed Pakistani in jeans and a t-shirt. He's also brilliant and fantastically good at his job.

That's another thing, everyone on staff is brilliant and great at their jobs. Things get done, or when they don't, they get fixed quickly. Everyone is aware of what has to happen, what is happening, and what is needed to be done. There is a learning curve, we're all definitely hitting it at some points, but I completely trust everyone on my team, and I think they trust me, so far. There are still 9 days and A LOT to get done before the park opens to the public on the 1st of November.

For instance, today we solved problems around flying a larger than life dragon puppet. tomorrow we'll finalize solving the getting of the puppet offstage gracefully before the next scene and its flying effects that have to be set live in real time.

There are three mainstage pieces I'll be managing and I've yet only seen pieces of 2, but they're all dance based and gorgeous. One is 6 scenes with full set and costume changes for each one! All of the shows run under half an hour and have to be able to be set and struck in 10 minutes. In addition to the main stage shows, there is a Bollywood piece, rotating pieces featuring the mascot of the park and his friends (last year featured "Scaredy Bat" and is the cutest thing ever), plus rotating performances from the 27 pavilions in the park. This is in addition to the stunt show, street performances, amphitheater, and community theatre performances happening around the park that I am not involved with at all.

Needless to say, a lot is happening!

My head is spinning, my notebooks and cue sheets are filling up, and I'm hitting my bed completely exhausted every day, but it's been an amazing experience and I am so unbelievably grateful already for everything that is about to happen.

Though I am vaguely regretting not taking a leave of absence for grad school. Where I'd much rather curl up and sleep, or maybe explore the rooftop pool.... my homework is calling!

Keep on Keeping On...