Orientation… and Farewells.

August 27, 2010 in Blog by Willy-Landon

It is a time of transition once again here at the Goodman. A new season is about to begin, casts are meeting for the first time, and a new intern team is preparing to take the reigns from the outgoing summer team. Incoming Education and Community Engagement interns, Elizabeth Mork and William Landon, share their thoughts on the process with outgoing intern, Jacob Watson.

William Landon: I arrived in Chicago, for the first time, about two days before the start of my internship. I had been through this process in other cities before, but Chicago was a completely new experience. I allowed myself the weekend to ride the L, get a little lost, and experience as much of the city as I could. I’m still trying to find all of the best places for food and other sundry things I need for a post-graduate life; the Ithaca Bakery I used to frequent in New York has been replaced by Corner Bakery, Potbelly’s and Costello’s in Lincoln Square. The more I search, however, the more I find, and the area around the Goodman is slowly becoming familiar to me. In between temporarily crashing on the couch of my friend’s north side apartment and making it downtown every day, I’m combing the other neighborhoods for a place of my own. Chicago’s bounty of real estate options is daunting to say the least. I thought that after going through the same process time and time again I would know the ins and outs of included costs. Getting a feel for the true flavor and culture of Pilsen, Ravenswood and Logan Square has been a different matter entirely.

The Loop is nothing if not impressive. My first morning struggling past my brown line to red line commute to downtown landed me at the Lake station right outside of the Chicago Theatre. As I made my way down the street to the Goodman, I was struck by the epic scope of it all. The above ground CTA, the architecture, and finally the neoclassical façade of the Goodman convinced me that this was the best of all possible places to start my career.

In the first half of the first week, Elizabeth and the other interns and I have already toured the facilities, including the house and backstage spaces of the Albert and Owen. We’ve also begun our duties up here in the Education department. Our introduction to the basics has been peppered with cast and company meet-and-greets, in which we were able to meet most of the staff and the cast and stage managers of Seagull (as well as enjoy some quality pastries and my first taste of real Chicago pizza). The offices are also a flurry of activity in the professional sense, and we’ve jumped headfirst into learning everything from conducting interdepartmental requests to the Candide study guide to coaxing the jammed copier to print a stack of scripts. Even though we’re quickly becoming wrapped up in our own business, thankfully there are always those moments to enjoy lunch with the other interns and staff on the patio under the giant red Goodman sign.

Elizabeth Mork: We are currently experiencing day four of our first official five day week at the Goodman. In a wider scope, today marks my second week of living, traveling, and dinning in Chicago. Like my fellow incoming intern, Willy, I’ve been sampling the Windy City’s famous culinary staples. Last week I had my first deep dish experience, where eating pizza with a fork is not due to polite manners but to necessity. There are also countless farmer’s markets to explore, which are filled with delicious fresh produce and irresistible homemade goods. I’ve also frequented SummerDance in Grant Park, where this novice swing dancer has had the opportunity to kick up her heels to live music which plays into the night. Regarding transportation, this sprawling city never fails to disappoint. I earned my badge in inner-city travel a few nights ago when my train emptied passengers into the street regarding a ‘suspicious package’ found at another stop. Everything was fine in the end, but my tired one hour commute became quite colorful: filled with a buss full of people, closed tracks, and a re-routed train that had me getting home far later than first planned.

Office life is likewise full of surprises. While a typical day finds most of us enjoying lunch together on the balcony, yesterday whispers filled the corridors as we all snuck outside for a surprise birthday honoring a dedicated and cherished employee. Moments before listening to Billie Holiday and singing Happy Birthday under the Goodman sign, I had been nose deep in the pages of the intern manual. Other Meet-N-Greets have similarly been peppering the days, so that an average 10-6 workday is proving to be anything but average.

When not throwing secret parties, or rushing down backstairs to participate in an introduction event, the hours consist of brainstorming, planning, and finalizing events for the Education department. Research for Candide’s study guide is next on the menu, and correspondences are leaving our desks in mass. We have also been making progress on taming the mail machine and mastering the printer. There are no paper cuts as of yet, mostly because of our time shadowing outgoing Education intern, Jacob.

Jacob Watson: This has been a bittersweet final week for me here in the Education department at the Goodman. On the one hand, I feel lucky to have enjoyed such an exciting and productive summer; on the other hand, I will be sad to leave behind friends and colleagues – those that I have worked with for three months, as well as those that I have worked with for three days. While the new interns are making plans to sample the diverse offerings of Chicago’s theatre scene, I am getting ready to say my goodbyes and head back for a final year of college. But before I go, I’m going to make sure to pass on as much knowledge as possible to Willy and Elizabeth. From how to send a fax to where the best cream puffs are located (Beard Papa’s on State Street!), this week has been a crash course on how to get the most of out of a Goodman internship.

And there has been a lot to get! Between weekly intern forums regarding a plethora of topics in theatre administration and study guide brainstorming sessions, I have learned an incredible amount about the day-to-day workings of a professional theatre. Although I will be sad to leave all this behind, I look forward to seeing Willy and Elizabeth find ownership in this department and its programming.

As they sit next to me now, their noses buried deep in copies of Candide, I can only imagine the brilliant ideas stirring in their minds.