Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This is a first - we open in two days, yet the show is so well in hand that the cast has tonight off! Good thing, too - by the time I got home from last night's dress rehearsal, got a nosh and something to drink (I emptied my water bottle early), scraped off the make-up and got to bed, it was 1:30. Yet I woke up at 7:30 this morning when TW came back to bed, having decided not to go into work after all. Methinks I'll be retiring early tonight, no matter how many trick-or-treaters come knocking!

For a first rehearsal w/ orchestra and costumes, it went remarkably well. I think this was the first time I've not seen at least one major train wreck w/ the orchestra, either because an audio cue sounds different on a different instrument (I know I missed one because it sounded so different played by a flute instead of the rehearsal piano) or because the orchestra is having problems with an awkward page turn, a tricky tempo change, or something similar. We had a few places where the MD stopped the action to fix something, but nothing worrisome.

The costumes are remarkably well along, considering the costumers still have today & tomorrow to work on them (I had one show where I didn't have my complete costume until opening night) and while it looks like I'll be getting a gold dress instead of the purple one I was fitted for, I like the gold one, or at least the base I wore last night - flows beautifully, and despite its floor-length, full skirt, it never once got in my way or underfoot! The "aesthetic" dresses that are completed look just wonderful - classic, graceful, elegant, rich colors. The men's uniforms are shaping up nicely, too - the jackets are actually built for the wearers, not refitted costumes, the helmets look great (though the men all complain that they're too small, which apparently makes them unstable) and resemble this sort of thing, and they're getting good at controlling their swords so they don't hit anyone during the dance in the Act II finale. Learned last night that the ladies are wearing gloves w/ their Finale costumes; not enough to go around last night, so I went on with bare hands. Later found a pair of men's gloves at my station; they're a bit big, though, so I'll probably go with a pair of my own.

The set is lovely - beautifully painted, with a good-looking, sturdy gazebo, a real gazing ball, and a "swan boat" that works quite smoothly even when loaded with 2 or 3 people and a folk harp. Hope I can get pictures of that.

So today & tomorrow are for little things - getting my theater kit sorted with only the make-up I need, making sure I've got clean tights & gloves in my bag, henna-ing my hair, and giving candy to trick-or-treaters.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Getting better

Yesterday I was feeling better, but still not 100% (still on that boring, protein-free BRAT diet). TW, however, seems to have gotten the same bug that bit me, as he woke up nauseated, was afraid to eat anything, was getting chills. Yep, he had the same low-grade fever I'd had on Friday. He did manage to start a huge batch of applesauce to use up the apples he'd bought a coupla weeks ago (used both our soup pots!), but the bug really started getting its hooks into him by mid-afternoon, so I ended up finishing the applesauce and putting him to bed before leaving for rehearsal.

Today I finally feel fully human again, though I'm introducing "real" food very carefully - I don't want to overdo and find myself tied to the bathroom again. Though still feeling crummy, TW's better too - he's eaten a little without having to run to the bathroom to get rid of it. The fever's down and he's feeling well enough to be bored & fidgety.

It's funny - when I had the bug, it was annoying, irritating and inconvenient and I was impatient to get it over with, but when TW came down with it, it was frustrating and worrying to listen to him moaning in pain and not be able to make him all better.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Once more into the breach!"

Tonight begins my first Tech Week in nearly a year and a half; can't wait! There's something special about the first run-through on the set - seeing where the actual furniture, "doors" and so on actually are, how the stairs change timing and stage pictures, learning just how far that cross really is, and of course actually seeing the set that will become our little world until Strike.

Another thing I'm looking forward to: costumes! One of the things I love about theater is getting to play dress-up; seeing us transformed from our workaday selves into (in this case) Heavy Dragoons, Rapturous Maidens, a milkmaid and a couple of poets will be fun. And then there's the fun of doing all this with the orchesta instead of a rehearsal pianist.

I haven't heard the orchestra yet; I had to miss the Sitzprobe Friday night because I was home all day w/ a GI bug. Which I'm still fighting, unfortunately. The fever only lasted through Friday, but my system is still being extremely particular about what it'll let me eat. Now, I don't mind rice, pretzels and applesauce, but they do get pretty darn boring after 2 or 3 days. Not to mention that I need to get a bit of protein if I'm going to survive the rigors of Tech Week and still have energy left for Opening Night come Thursday. Hope I can get over this thing mucho pronto!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's been that kind of week at work

(and yes, I realize it's only Wednesday) that I found this funnier than I otherwise might (you'll need the sound on). NB: It might not be a great idea to read this at work; depends on whether you have the office to yourself for a minute or two.

We've been short-handed, we had a brush-fire to put out on Friday that meant an 11-hour day, this week's also been nothing but long days, I've got a few things I've been putting aside for days now while tending to more urgent matters - it's gotten so I'm really looking forward to Tech Week next week. The theater types among you must be thinking, "What, is she crazy?!?" Crazy like a fox - as soon as I was cast, I put in to take off all of Tech Week and the Monday after our last performance. So if I can just survive until Friday, that's it for another 10 days!

I started arranging to take off work during Tech Week a few years ago, when I had leave I had to use up or else I'd lose it. I decided that being able to sleep in every morning after getting to bed at midnight or 1 a.m., not to mention having time to do last-minute costume construction or repairs, was a good idea - going into Opening Night when you've had enough sleep! is a wonderful experience! And I knew from previous shows with this particular company that, with all 5 performances crammed into 4 days, I'm going to be totally fried by the time we strike after the Sunday matinee. Too fried to be worth much at work the next day, so instead I'll sleep in (oooh, two lovely words!) and take my own sweet time about washing all the gel & hairspray outta my hair and the make-up outta my skin, maybe pop a movie into the DVD player. Oh, and start studying up in earnest for the wave of auditions coming up the next 3 weekends. ;)

Monday, October 23, 2006

OK, I think we've got a handle on this business.

Spent my entire voice lesson today sorting out what to use to audition for shows in very different styles (G&S, Cole Porter, and Sondheim). The G&S is easy; I'll take 2 differing G&S pieces and either do a verse of each or let the panel choose which one they want. The Cole Porter wasn't too hard, either; I've auditioned w/ "I Hate Men" before so we'll dust that off, and add "Why Can't You Behave" to show off the bottom of my range. And I do mean bottom - lowest note is F# below middle C. And with "I Hate Men" topping out at the E at the top of the staff, well, that's close enough to 2 octaves as makes no difference.

The Sondheim is the tough one; I have no Sondheim songs in my repertory and in fact, don't really know his stuff very well. I loathe "Send in the Clowns", so I'm not about to audition with that, "Everything's Coming Up Roses" requires a belt voice, which I don't have, and with all these auditions on successive weekends, I don't have time to work up a new piece. So next week I'll take to my lesson a piece we've been working on but which I haven't auditioned with yet and another, obscure piece to see if it would work. If all else fails, I'll offer the panel their choice of the 2 Kiss Me Kate pieces. And that MD is so conversant with the Broadway repertoire, I'm hoping he'd be impressed that I'd be prepared to do songs covering such a wide vocal range.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Welcome to the world, baby girl!"

I have a new niece! Little Brigid was born shortly after noon today, bringing the niece/granddaughter total to 4. Happy birthday, little one, and happy birthday, Dad/Granddad! Congratulations, proud parents and grandparents!

It occurs to me that these two - Brigid & her big sister - are the only ones of my nieces & nephews to start out w/ a full set of grandparents. My sister the new mom is the only one of the 5 of us to marry someone with both parents still living.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Make that several auditions

I've been working on rebuilding my 2006-07 season audition spreadsheet and see that several shows I'm interested in are auditioning next month (one company will be having one set of auditions for their next 3 shows). That means I'd be auditioning for as many as 4 different companies (depending on timing of casting offers or "thanks but no thanks" calls) and 6 shows. That could fill up the rest of my season very quickly indeed!

Out of 19 shows on the list at the moment, only 4 are straight plays. Having done only 1 straight play since I started doing community theater 14 (!) years ago, the thought of having lines to learn without the "crutch" of their being set to music makes me nervous. I'm sure I could do the performing, it's just the line learning that I'd worry about. Of course, that one non-musical was Shakespeare, not contemporary language, which presented unique challenges. I did it, and did manage to get pretty comfortable by opening night, but it was definitely harder than learning songs.

Lots of meaty roles out there this season - now to see how much of that meat directors are willing to offer me...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another audition on the horizon

Ah yes, fall, when the auditions start coming thick and fast. The next show I want to do, Ruddigore, auditions the weekend after Patience closes - how convenient. It'll be a challenge deciding what to audition with, though - one piece that's been successful for me is from this show, by one of the 2 characters I want to audition for. I've heard some pretty strong arguments against auditioning with a piece sung by the character you're going for (unless specified in the audition notice), so I'm a bit nervous about using it. A further complication is that I've only been using the 2nd verse, not the 1st verse and not the preceding recitative. That recit has some pretty funky chromatics and will be "interesting" to get audition-ready because I don't have a recording to work from. I'll just have to get a "karaoke" tape to work from at my next voice lesson, and maybe work with the MIDI available from the G&S Archive.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Home again

And looking forward to seeing TW when he gets home from work. Those old commercials notwithstanding, long distance is not "the next best thing to being there".

I'm glad I went, and glad I was able to spend nearly a week with my folks. It did me good to see for myself how much better Dad's getting around with his new knee and that Mom isn't nearly as gaunt and exhausted as I'd feared. Despite the hair loss (getting obvious - she'll be wearing that "cranial prosthesis" shortly), she looks pretty darned good, despite having gone thru 2 rounds of chemo now. Minimal nausea, fatigue not as bad as after the first round - she's doing better than I'd expected, and is stubborn enough and still has enough energy that she let me do only some of the dinner prep while I was home.

And I only missed one rehearsal while I was gone. I've been told by 2 of the other women that I didn't miss much, especially as several people were absent from that rehearsal, so I'm hoping it'll be a cinch to pick up the choreography I missed. That sorta thing comes easily to me, so I'm not so much worried that I won't be able to pick it up as sorry that I missed a chance to do it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So far, so good

Dad's moving around with his new knee much better than he was doing back in early July. It still needs to be babied sometimes - he had to put it up and ice it this afternoon - but he's doing well. What's better, at least for him, is that last week the doc OKed him to start driving again. After 6 weeks of neither Mom nor Dad being able to drive, this is a huge freedom regained!

Mom's doing better than I'd expected, and apparently better than she was even a week or two ago. Her energy had been so low she couldn't walk from the kitchen to the living room unaided, and from what my sister had told me about how little she was eating, I'd braced myself to find Mom looking rather gaunt. She's lost weight since I saw her last, but her appetite's better now, so she's regained much of what she lost and her energy is better.

Her attitude is certainly good: Saturday morning I was sitting on their bed while she brushed her hair. She started laughing, as her hair was coming out in small clumps as she brushed. She just kept on, brushing and laughing, and showed me her brush and her other hand when she finished - both were fairly full of hair. She already has her "cranial prosthesis" and at this rate, she won't be the least surprised if she needs to start wearing it by this weekend.

Today was the 1st day of her 2nd round of chemo. This was the long day - Dad & I left her at the cancer center at 10 and picked her up around 2. She'd eaten most of the lunch she packed and finished the rest of it in the car on the way home. Once we got back, she had some fruit with her tea, and ate most of her dinner. She's not sure how much she'll feel like eating over the next few days, once the chemo starts kicking in. Last time she felt a bit nauseated the day after the 2nd chemo day, but the doc told her today how to adjust her anti-nausea med to prepare for that. She also said that she felt much less tired and had a better appetite today than she did after Day 1 of her first chemo round. We're hoping that's a good sign.

The doc also said that, while she's in stage 3, that's because there's "involvement" both above & below her diaphragm. However, because the tumor is localized, he seemed optimistic about Mom's prognosis. I like this doctor!

Tomorrow I take Mom back for Day 2, which is much shorter; only 2 hours last time.

I'm glad I came out - it's very reassuring to see how well Dad is doing, and it's been good for my peace of mind to be able to do things for Mom, to see how she's eating, and so on. I think it helps my siblings to know that I'm here too, to keep an eye on things, try to keep either Mom or Dad from doing too much (we're such worrywarts), run errands, and just keep them company.

In other news: my youngest sister is scheduled for a C-section on the 18th, our dad's birthday. (He likes to tease her, asking how "my birthday present" is doing.) However, she was having some contractions today while she was in the grocery store. This little one might not wait for Dad's birthday; Baby might come on my birthday on the 14th, or perhaps earlier. And if Little Bit should decide to arrive before I leave town Friday morning, well, I wouldn't mind in the least if I were "forced" to meet my new nephew or niece in the neonate unit. ;)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Does this mean I'm officially old?

Or at least middle-aged, I guess. Went to the doctor the other day because I'd been having repeated stabbing pains in my knee throughout the day on Tuesday. The NP felt all around the joint, made me move it this way & that, even sent me to x-ray to have pictures taken. Turns out I've got a coupla teeny bone spurs on the bones - arthritis! So now I'm on a 10-day course of mega-Motrin (Rx strength), with knee exercises to do and an ace wrap for the bad days.

I guess I'd suspected arthritis, and I suppose it's good to have an official diagnosis so I know what the problem is, but did I really want to know I've got arthritis? Hmm; maybe not. Denial was a lot easier before the diagnosis. ;)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Gotta think healthy thoughts

... because I have to stay healthy to go visit my folks. After all, with Mom on chemo, I can not go out there if I have so much as a sniffle! Not that I anticipate getting sick, but last week's fever (I never get fevers!), combined w/ allergies that are acting up, has made me a bit nervous. I really want to go out and see my folks, if only for my own peace of mind, and I can only do that if I'm healthy.

When I talked to Mom after her appointment w/ the radiology oncologist, she gave me her new schedule - she finishes chemo the last week of this month, gets November "off", then goes for daily (M-F) radiation the first 3 weeks of December. Then they reassess how the cancer's doing and decide what else they need to do, if anything.

Our next door neighbor just got home the other day after her own cancer surgery. They found cancer in one breast but, because breast cancer killed her mother, our neighbor decided to go for the double mastectomy rather than worry about when she was gonna find cancer in the other breast. Only in her mid-40s, too, poor thing. TW hasn't been over yet, and I only stopped by to take over a florist delivery and make sure she and the friend staying with her have our phone numbers and e-mail addresses in case they need anything. Tomorrow or Wednesday I'll pick up a few things at the grocery store and make some things they can keep in the freezer.

When I was a kid, I never understood why, when there was a death or serious illness in a family, people would always take food. Now I understand, and am only too happy to do it for others, knowing full well that my turn will come around again.