Rex Carleton, TPS technical director and Seattle Theatre Wikipedia himself answers monthly questions in this regular feature of our Newsletter.
Program Assistant Keiko Green sits down with the man himself.
KEIKO: So this is kind of a Ask Rex meets Staff Spotlight
REX: You’re doing a spotlight on me, after we’ve already done all
K: We are.
R: First question is: is anybody out there reading this?
R: Are they collectively getting tired of it?
K: No, I don’t think so!
Okay, so, first question.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT TPS?
REX: Oh boy.
Well, that’s sorta kinda easy because April was when I joined the staff in — I think 2004. At TPS. I was here for a few months before that — well, it’s a long story, but shortly told — in the fall of 2003, I received the Gregory Sustained Achievement Award.
And that year was only the… third year? I think I’m right. Maybe fourth.
But anyway, there were no other awards, there was just that. And the event was held in the Center Theater. So, it was honestly the first time I had walked back into the Center Theater, after having left it in ’98.
KEIKO: With the Group Theatre.
R: With the Group Theatre, and they had this wonderful guy that was supposed to kind of curate the event for that night, and he had big ideas about a lobby display and my work and my history and all this stuff and photographs and — honestly, it was kind of over his head a little bit and needed help and there wasn’t anybody else, so I kind of dove in, and I ended up kind of producing my own event.
R: Including writing light cues and doing the lobby display and all of it, but it gave me kind of a rude awakening opportunity to see how much the facilities as a whole and the equipment in the facility in particular had deteriorated in the five years since I’d been gone. And I was shocked, honestly. Because we built this place to last. Forever, ostensibly. And it wasn’t lasting because of shoddy upkeep and improper practices and all sort of other stuff. And I went to then then-Exec Karen Lane, and I said, “You gotta do something. You gotta stop this. Because this is not a sustainable path.” And she said, “Well, would you like to help?” I said, “Sure. Sign me up.” So I came in on literally an hourly bases to fix the most obvious and glaring stuff, and I just kept kind of plugging away for a period of about three months, doing really triage.
And — story of my life — I just never left.
I get into something and then all of a sudden, 15 years later, I’m still here, and thinking, “How did that happen!?” Right?
So, at some point they converted me from hourly to staff, and there you have it.
That’s kind of the history of the TPS part of it.
(This conversation got quite lengthy, so we will be continuing in a series of several installments.)
HAVE A QUESTION FOR REX?
E-mail Keiko at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “ASK REX” to have your question featured in an upcoming newsletter!