A Whirlwind Week for REFRESH — Julia Katz

7/10 4:43 P.M. 

14619516791_d570316fce_kIt’s Thursday. This week, we’ve driven about 1,200 miles across four cities, all in the pursuit of finally opening Refresh: Stories of Love, Sex, and the Internet. We were performing in New York and doing tech in DC less than 12 hours later. I decided that instead of a traditional blog, I’d do a travelogue to recount our journey.

Right now, I’m at my favorite Starbucks – its on 7th and H Street in D.C. There’s a big bay window here, out of which I can see the magnificent Chinatown gate (although D.C.’s Chinatown pales in comparison to other cities, jokingly referred to as “Chinacorner”) and the glowing flatscreen advertisements of the Verizon Center. My computer is running out of battery, but the outlets nearest to me won’t work. A few tables over, a middle-aged man has fallen asleep while studying, still clutching his pencil. I love this place, fiercely, because the brick walls and worn wooden floors have soaked in countless memories of summer.

I remember furiously writing reviews of Capital Fringe performances between shows, racing to meet the 24-hour deadlines.

I met here for “paper tech” for the first show I ever directed professionally.

One of the most romantic moments of my life happened here – a man once chased me half a block out of this Starbucks, only to say, “Excuse me, I don’t mean to scare you. I just saw you and I felt like wanted to talk to you. I think you are gorgeous.”

Every year, my Capital Fringe adventures have led me here. I almost feel like I have to pay homage to this place. Have you ever felt like that? About a Starbucks, no less?

I don’t feel exhausted, even though I should.


7/7 12:20 P.M.

I turn the corner, feeling renewed, out of Bob’s office. This meeting was the last thing I had to do before leaving for New York. I run home to pack an overnight bag.


7/7 5:01 P.M.

I turn the corner into the driveway of my parents’ home. I predicted I’d be here at 5 PM. I was a minute off.


7/8 6:30 AM

14436136188_db7a4f7925_kAfter a long and late-night drive, we’re ready to go to the theater. Tech is bright and early at 8 AM. I think we’re both really nervous and tensions are kind of running high on this trip, but still trying to support each other.


7/8 7:53 AM

The building is gorgeous. Matthew loves it. We love seeing all the East to Edinburgh press info outside the building.


7/8 8:35 AM

14619532121_5fad870d8c_k14620643784_bd9d0cc536_k14436115288_c327fea686_kWe have already finished programming in the light cues. The available lights on the plot will work pretty well for what we need – there’s not too many looks in the show. Sound, of course, we created beforehand. All we need to do now is run some trouble spots and then do a dress rehearsal or two.


7/8 4:15 PM

14642658233_c5aa051e24_k 14622717995_9e330406f1_kWe spent some time napping and relaxing, and then I went to meet my friend from high school in Greenpoint to watch the Brazil-Germany game. In a Brazilian bar. People were as insane as you would expect. Had to dash off after the first half to get ready for the show!


7/8 6:12 PM

We found a coffee shop to sit in and do some last minute prep before the show. Matthew leaves to hand out flyers. Night falls, and now our watch begins.


7/8 8:15 PM

We descend the spiral staircase at 59E59 for the dressing room. We can hear the show before us, which is still going on. Matthew is super nervous. The guys from the previous show come in and one jokes that when he was in a one-man show, he forgot his lines and had to walk offstage to collect himself. Not a great omen!


7/8 8:45 PM

14436319497_9a63cf68e8_kSound check. Light check. Places. I asked Matt to set up the table and chair. This will become important later.


7/8 9:03 PM

A few audience members trickle in. They are silent. Matt is silent onstage, too. Weird. I think the air conditioning in the booth is really annoying, but other than that this is a really comfy tech booth.


7/8 9:15 PM

14599708126_4d16eba5f6_bThe show begins. Preshow selfie!


7/8 9:21 PM 

14599703666_4812bb2aca_kOH NO. I am staring at the stage and realize that the lock on the legs of the folding table are not totally straight. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but towards the end of the show MATT SITS ON THE TABLE. Hopefully, he notices.


7/8 9:26 PM 

Table makes a major wobble. Oh fuck. Okay, okay, I think the wobble is good. Matthew definitely notices now and so I bet he’ll reach down and fix it.


7/8 9:32 PM

Nope. Also, this is a long book scene. While waiting for my next cue, I draw a big sign that says TABLE in the prompt script and hold it up, illuminated from my cell phone flashlight.


7/8 9:52 PM

14436059320_a57257b3fd_kHE SITS ON THE TABLE. IT GOES DOWN. HIS COMPUTER FALLS TO THE GROUND, TOO!! (Did I mention that the computer was his Christmas present??) I AM TRANSFIXED. Matt, however, manages to act like it’s part of the story. Good cover. This is a stage manager’s nightmare.


7/8 10:14 PM 

We finish the show just shy of an hour. It went pretty well. On the way out of the theatre, we chat with the staff about the geeky references to the performance.


7/9 8:55 PM

Tonight, I set up the table.


7/9 9:15 PM

14622196282_5f9b603dce_kA lot of the E2E staff has come to this performance – we don’t want to dissapoint them! Everything goes off without a hitch.


7/10 11:30 AM

14620572064_57e2e3135c_k 14620608824_6077cb6f83_k 14622150282_4d5c259776_k 14622171732_b477d01ae6_kAfter a long drive, a little over 12 hours after we finished at 59E59, we move into our new home at Caos on F. It’s a lot cozier, but the place is absolutely beautiful – exposed brick walls give way to lovely paintings on the wall. Here is where Trevor Scott comes into play – my old roommate, now acting as interim SM and board op. We have only a few options for lighting instruments, but the signature “blue” backlight that made up the bulk of our design at 59E59 is also here! Perfection. With less than three hours in the space, we manage to get through setting the looks, a cue-to-cue, run the ending a few times, and then run the whole show with Trevor in the captain’s chair. Looks like we’re ready to go in DC.


7/10 2:45 PM

14436026549_d82d7b3c68_k14436026999_958f576bba_kPost-tech selfie at lunch! I plan on staying in the city to see some Fringe performances tonight (I’m reviewing for DCTS this year) while Trevor and Matthew plan on having some well deserved nap time. And that brings me back to my fated, favorite Starbucks. I don’t know if I’ll be back on the corner of 7th and H next summer, but for now, I’m celebrating surviving and thriving with another performance. Another op’nin, another show.

Buy tickets for REFRESH in D.C. NOW! | Read a review of the show | Support CPT with a donation

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