The other day, Brian James Polak, a recent graduate of the USC MFA in Dramatic Writing posted on his FB page that his play was being produced in a Flash Theatre Event sponsored by the Chalk Repertory Company, directed by Larissa Kokernot, performed in the new high-rise apartments at 8th and Hope in Downtown LA.
Our family has watched this building rise over the past several years. In recent weeks, we watched from afar as the hip denizens of downtown began to move into the building. The particularly irksome thing over the past few weeks has been watching every damn light in the place on at night, exposing empty apartment after empty apartment. I guess that’s the point, it makes us want to move in, right?
So when I saw Brian’s post, I was intrigued and also frustrated, because I will be working this weekend, unable to attend.
Today was a particularly long and tiring day at work. As anyone with a pulse who lives in California knows, today was the Great ShakeOut, the statewide earthquake preparedness drill which we have practiced for about 4 years. At the University, this drill has been so fine-tuned that today, when we set up our DOC – sorry, I can’t remember what that acronym stands for – designated outside center? Departmental Outside Center we BERTs were like old pros. (Building Emergency Response Team members)
The drill instructed us to set up our DOCs, and then to do the duck and cover drill at 10:16AM. We had a great time setting up our DOC, pitching the pop up tent, and wiring up the inverter to the battery on the utility cart so that we would have power to charge our phones should the need arise.
The whole exercise, setting up our station two hours before the scheduled earthquake is a touch ridiculous, because of course, we won’t have that kind of notice when the real thing happens. However, having seen the Ebola situation in Dallas unfold, I am a new and staunch believer in the value of practicing a protocol until everyone feels pretty damn secure with it.
Having set this station up twice now, we know where everything is, and we all know what needs to be done. So when the day comes, and it is coming, my friends, instead of running around like chickens with our heads cut off, we will know exactly where the bullhorn is, the emergency triage supplies, etc. The DOC status board, which listed the rather mundane tasks we accomplished in checking our inventory today, may one day list important information about the location and condition of SDA Staff and faculty and students. There was an air of joviality today, as we got ready for a major earthquake event.
Once the drill was over, we returned to the office and finished the day out with two production meetings. I arrived home at about 7:30PM.
My husband and I sat in our dining room to eat the pizza I had resorted to ordering when I got home. I looked up and out the window toward the brightly lit 8th and Hope building. There, I saw a group of adults standing in an empty apartment, and I said to Jimmie, “Hey, I think that is the audience for Brian’s play over there.” We both went to the window to look across, and could see the audience members and a trio of actors having what looked like an argument in the center of the room. Trippy, right?
So I took some photos. This is pretty much what it looks like from our balcony without any magnification. And this is what we can see when we use the 30X camera lens. I went back to the Flash Face book page and this is where it got really weird. I posted the pictures and within about 4 minutes, I had heard from both Brian and Larissa. This world is just too wild. Real time reporting and reaction. Are there any limits to what is possible given the technology and tools we have?