Saturday, September 29, 2007

Making the most of it

What was I just saying about having bits of business to do to make yourself noticed in a show? A theater friend & I went to see a Birdie friend of mine in Dearly Departed last night and I saw a perfect example of this. Delightful, a character who is on stage for quite a bit, has all of 2 words to say in the entire show. However. I don't know whether this was in the script or was a product of the director's or performer's imagination, but Delightful was played as slovenly and food-obsessed.

When we first see her, she's sitting very sloppily, stuffing her face w/ Cheese Nips. But not just eating them; at one point she was positioning them under her upper lip to resemble fangs, then making growling, biting and clawing motions. During the funeral scene, she had an ice cream bar to eat and at one point brought the show to a screeching halt while Delightful experienced a prolonged and apparently quite painful brain freeze. At the bows, she easily got the biggest appaluse.

Which was not to say that the rest of the cast were less talented. There were a few thankless roles, but I thought everyone did a good job. My friend was very believable in her role (funny how Lucille rather resembled Mrs. Macafee; both peace-makers), and I thought the cast worked very well together.

On the road again

Found out about a week ago that work is sending me on the road again. Only for about a month this time, but the timing could be better. Mid-October into November means I had to drop out of Christmas Revels, after only 2 rehearsals - wah! I've already told them I'm willing to help w/ costumes, make-up or some such thing so I don't have to go thru total withdrawal, but it's a pity this project couldn't have waited until January. (Will the world ever learn to arrange itself for my convenience?)

But when I e-mailed the Revels powers that be that I'd have to pull out of the cast, I was amazed at the response. I had showed up at one more rehearsal because I hadn't gotten a response to my e-mail and wanted to be sure the director had gotten the word. Well! Not only did I get an apology when I showed up, but the MD e-mailed that night to apologize and encourage me not to give up on the group, the chorus manager e-mailed me, the stage manager called me at work on Monday to apologize and say a few kind words, and my "husband" called and left a message on our answering machine. A friend of mine in the group had told me that the group was more like family than theater, but I guess I thought that her experience with them in time of need was because she'd done so many shows with them. But when a newbie gets that kind of response, I can't help but realize just how right she was!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of the challenges of being in the chorus

Driving home this afternoon, I was pondering life, the universe and everything. Didn't come up with "42", but did realize a pseudo-logical connection between a performer's insecurity and the hunger for bigger, better roles. It's all about being noticed - when you're the 3rd lovesick maiden from the left, 2nd row back, and all of you are dressed in aesthetic pastel gowns, about the only people who'll notice you are the audience members who know you. If you're the character whose only function is to answer the phone in 2 or 3 scenes and tell the ingenue "It's him again", you're likely to feel more like a piece of the set than a member of the cast.

On the other hand, if you've got lines, or a big scene, a solo or a bit of special "business", the audience is likely to notice. Mae Peterson is remarkably nasty to Rosie; it was fun to hear the audience gasp at some of the vicious digs she made. ("What does Rosie need a job for? In a year or two she'll be on Social Security.") When I played Pitti-Sing, I could be more of an individual than when I've been a chorister. No worries about pulling focus; as long as I shared it with the other leads on stage, I was "legal".

I've almost never gotten comments on my performance when I've been a chorister or had a minor role (although "Sr. Mary Velcro" was a lot of fun!), and then it's been along the lines of "you moved well in the choreographies" or "you were always so engaged in the action". Which is certainly complimentary, but my performer's ego wants more. It's greedy - it wants to hear how funny or moving or just plain wonderful my performance was. ;)

And the fewer people you share a curtain call with (20-person chorus? the other 2 members of the household staff? you & your chief foil?), the more likely you are to get a hand from the audience. Lee Adams had it right - "the sound that says love: applause!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

iTunes don't know from Mozart

I've been loading some CDs into my iPod and was amused to see that iTunes assigned my Mozart chamber music to the Electronica/Dance genre! Wooing the Lorelei got an Unclassifiable for a genre. Can't wait to see what it does with my Hungarian folk, Bonnie Raitt, doo wop...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Was that Elvis?

Earlier this week, I was driving down the highway, minding my own business, when I happened to glance over and realize that the driver next to me was sporting a perfect "early Elvis" do - pompadour, sideburns, the works. An impersonator on his way to a gig? I'll never know...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back to being a TW

Today was the first (marathon!) rehearsal for the Christmas Revels' chorus members, so the Chief is back to being a Theater Widower, poor thing. His day got off to a rather early start, too. I woke up at 4:30 this morning w/ a migraine, which despite meds was still with me as I was trying to get ready to be at rehearsal for a 9 a.m. call. TW, bless his heart, offered to drive me, which offer I immediately accepted. (Driving w/ a migraine, even one that's finally backing off, is not fun, and not a very good idea.) So instead of taking his time over his morning coffee and the Business section, he got dressed and ferried me to rehearsal, then packed up all his toys, um, power tools before coming to fetch me home again in the afternoon.

However, this rehearsal schedule isn't nearly as bad as most I've had - Wednesday nights and one or two weekend rehearsals a month (unlike Birdie, when everyone was called every Saturday, Sunday or both), and no rehearsals at all over Thanksgiving week.

Of course, once I start my bellydance class next Monday and change my voice lesson to Tuesday, only one weeknight rehearsal won't seem quite such a light schedule to TW - I'll still be running out on him for one thing or another.

Today's rehearsal would have been a lot better had I felt better, but I still enjoyed it. Looks like we'll have a cast of 80+ once you add up the adults, teens, children, musicians, Morris dancers, and any other folks I'm forgetting at the moment. I sure am glad I don't have to ride herd on this horde! We never got around to doing any dancing today, but we did do a lot of singing (I can't believe how well most of these folks sight-read!) and were divvied up into "families". I'm a henwife (i.e., I keep chickens) married to a farmer and we have a lovely daughter who takes our eggs and wheat to market. (My husband sells the barley & hops directly to the tapster.) Many families, probably including ours, will get at least one young child once the director finishes her casting decisions.

Sounds like we're going to get our costumes comparatively early in the rehearsal process - we get our first "dress" rehearsal a week or two before Tech Week so we can see just how much they affect our movement. Even though I'll have a fairly plain costume - brocade's just not right for feeding or plucking the chickens - I'm still looking forward to seeing what I'll get to wear, as it sounds like our costumer is striving for as much authenticity as budget and modern skeletons will allow.


After much thought, and with the help of some of the Chief's deployment money, we just replaced the french doors in the kitchen with spiffy new Pella version - better weather seal, more solid, the Chief decided we'd splash out on the in-glass blinds, but best of all - screen doors! (Ignore the power tools populating the fringes of the first picture.)

I came home from rehearsal this afternoon to find the front & back doors wide open (we didn't want to the leave the old kitchen doors open - no screens). SO nice to have both back doors open, and the screen is such a fine mesh that you don't notice it. At least not yet; I'm sure that'll change once we've had it a while and it starts filling with insects, tree trash, and such.

Today was a lovely day, the first that's felt cool enough to be fall rather than late summer. We ended up eating dinner in the kitchen, with the breezes circulating around us; worth every penny we spent on those doors! (Now if we could just loosen the spring on the screen doors so they don't whack us every time we go in or out.)

Oh, and those boxes out on the deck? The Chief made those today to help us climb into our very tall bed in our new bedroom out at the cabin. He used bits of 2x4s and 2x8s left over from redoing the deck, so those things are solid as rocks, and almost as heavy!

Friday, September 07, 2007

My kinda quiz

Finally, a quiz I can believe in. :D I don't disagree with my results, but do wonder if my answer to the last question might have skewed them. Looking at the other possible results, I'd say I also have a lot of cabaret and folkloric dancer in me.

What Kind of Belly Dancer are You?

You are a Classic Belly Dancer. Your idol is Samia Gamal, and you long for the days of the Cairo greats. You're saving up for your first Madame Abla, and after that it will only be a matter of time before you star in your first Cecil B. DeMille style epic choreography. Your one regret is that the photographer they hired for your student recital wouldn't shoot you in black and white.

Take this quiz!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cabin progress - slow but getting there

Well, so much for installing that window a/c - turns out the little slider things on either side are the wrong shape for our windows, the unit is too wide for the other sash windows we have, and apparently you need a completely different style for sliders (windows that open from one side to the other instead of bottom to top). The unit is now back at its original store, where they took it back w/ very little fuss. "What was wrong with it; didn't it work?" "Don't know; it was the wrong shape for our windows so we never even plugged it in."

We pulled into the driveway Friday evening to find a deer downhill of the driveway, probably nibbling on some of my poor ferns. At any rate, it took off at speed as we pulled in; I'm always amazed at how quickly they can disappear!

I was right that the flower on my impatiens wouldn't last, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it's got another bud. Maybe the deer will let it bloom before they eat it. Of the plants I put in, only the pachysandra seems to be doing well. Some of the euonymus couldn't take the drought, the deer devoured the lilies of the valley and keep munching the new fern fronds, but the pachy just hangs in there. Come October, I'll probably go back for more of the stuff, now that I know how well it does despite the clay, rocks, deer and other adverse growing conditions.

The weather was lovely (though we still desperately need rain!), The Chief managed to find someone to come clean out the gutters (our ladder's not tall enough) and I finally got the last of the towel bars installed. Well, except for the handtowel-size one we bought when we took the a/c unit back. That one needs a very tiny - perhaps 1/8" - hex wrench for the set screw. We'll have to buy one, just for this job, and I think it's gonna take some finding. After all, who uses hex wrenches that tiny (except perhaps railroad modelers or dollhouse makers)? Why on earth couldn't that manufacturer have gone w/ a normal set screw; we have a flathead screwdriver that served quite nicely for the other towel bars' set screws.

We saw that the contractor hadn't made much progress upstairs since the previous weekend; replaced the dry wall where they had to open up the wall to remove the old shower and bring in the new one, plastered a coupla places (and got plaster all over the shower stall), filled the hole where the old, broken heater had been removed, and that's it. However, even the patched, not-yet-primed walls look better than the old, yellowed, crooked wallpaper that used to be there.

That's going to be the moose bathroom. The Chief recently developed this interest in moose things. One of his Christmas presents was a pair of moose-print flannel pajama pants. When we were in Cabela's over Christmas, he bought a stuffed moose, a moose toothbrush holder (holes in the antlers), and a switchplate w/ a moose in one corner. I was subsequently able to find him another switchplate and outlet covers in the same design for his birthday. He also bought a smaller stuffed moose while we were in Montreal. So this bathroom will have the moose outlet & switchplate covers, a wallpaper border at about chair-rail height with moose & bears on it and the moose toothbrush holder, and we're trying to find a moose shower curtain that doesn't cost an arm & a leg.