Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That went well, I think.

Another audition behind me. I think this is the first time I've really worked my audition piece (Katisha's recitative and aria, from The Mikado) outside of my voice lesson. I even scheduled an audition coaching session with my former voice teacher, who knows G&S inside & out, both musically and dramatically.

I've started to get at least a little serious about working on specific technical things lately, which is starting to pay off. I also made myself stage the piece and tried to remember to pull out all the stops for the audition panel. Not sure I managed that, but I'm actually reasonably pleased with how I did, which I can't often say.

I doubt I'll get the part I want (the competition includes a mezzo who's done at least a few leads with the company), or anything but chorus, for that matter, but I think I gave one of my best auditions so far. Now it's up to the panel, whose decision will be based on a lot of things I can't control.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane?

The Chief decided back in December, prompted by watching a few travel shows, that we should take a December vacation to England this year, whereupon we immediately started saving our pennies. Tonight I've spent nearly 3 hours looking into airfares, lodging, etc. The exchange rate is surprisingly low right now - only about $1.45 or $1.50 to the pound. We can only hope that's where it is come December.

Yes, I know perfectly well that all those stunningly photogenic gardens, fields, etc, won' t be nearly as photogenic in December. Still, after looking at all those pictures, I'm psyched about this. Even if it's gray and rainy the whole time, we'll be looking at different architecture, listening to foreign accents, exploring the historic sites and needing all day to walk off our English breakfasts. (Broiled tomatoes and mushrooms - yum!)

Feeling virtuous

No, I didn't get to the gym last week, but I did get there twice this week, despite missing a day and a half of work due to migraines. Weights yesterday and half an hour (and 1.45 miles) on the treadmill today. Not only did I give myself a good workout, but today I kept the treadmill boredom at bay by mentally rehearsing my audition piece: characterization, dynamics, etc. And once the other treadmill users left, about 10 minutes before I finished, I even did a little sotto voce singing. Not as good as actually singing, of course, but better than nothing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More dancing for lawyers

This is one of the reasons I keep my eye on Facebook - it seems the Washington Post article on Saphira a friend directed me to prompted NPR to do a feature on her too. It comes out in the NPR interview that her school has nine instructors - that's a big dance school!

All of which is just feeding the itch I've already been feeling to get back to dancing myself. A belly dance class would be so much more interesting than the gym at work, more fun (better music!), more social, and great for flexibility to counter "Arthur". And unlike working out in a gym, it's also a performing art, where I get to boogie down to fun music in some pretty spectacular "glad rags". What's not to love? :D

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Plans and ramblings

Oh, lots of things coming up - prepping for Gondoliers auditions, pencilling the Follies dates into my calendar, trying to get to other people's shows, determining which work training I absolutely have to do and what can wait (so that I'm actually at my desk more than two weeks at a stretch).

I'm finding that the harder I work to prep for an audition, the more I get my hopes up even when I know how long the odds are against me. If I go in not caring, it's not a big deal when I'm not cast; if part of me thinks that I should get it because I've worked so hard that I must be a better singer, I tend to take it personally. The paradox, of course, is that if I don't work on it, then of course I won't be as good as if I do. Maybe my prep needs to include a little psych session on myself. :D

And of course there are the Holy Week services, starting with Palm Sunday (April 5th this year). Only once have I ever sung all of them - between rehearsals and services, it was like tech week without the sets & costumes. It was certainly exhausting, but singing all that music was exhilarating. I'll have to play it by ear and see how I feel, and how many of the services the Chief might be willing to attend.

Busy theater support day

Busy day - flew home from church to change and inhale some lunch before heading off to a meeting called by the Follies make-up designer. We'll be doing some specialty and some age make-up, so I'll get to learn and practice some new techniques. Sounds like conditions will be cramped, to say the least - a cast of 45 crammed into 2 small dressing rooms and a coupla classrooms, along with their costumes, wigs (at least 50!), props, and who knows what-all else. Tech week really will be hell week as we try to get the logistics down, but we'll manage.

From there I drove 27 miles to a board meeting for the company that just did Merry Widow. I was late because of the first meeting, but was still there for a goodly chunk of it. Since I'm supposed to be the recording secretary (this is the first board meeting since the July elections that I've actually made, thanks to rehearsals and performances), that's a good thing. Now I get to write up my notes and send them to the rest of the board.

Let's see - at least 2 1/2 hours in the car (and 71 miles) for just over 2 1/2 hours' worth of meetings. I think it's a tie between driving and meeting.

"Belly dancing for lawyers"

... is the title of the article I found thanks to a link on a friend's site. Nice, lengthy, positive article about a lawyer-turned-dancer in the Washington Post that also has some footage of one of Sapphira's classes. (Her studio looks tiny!) I've danced alongside many a lawyer myself, so I'm not surprised, and I'm pleased to see that her studio seems to be doing well - 300 students, to that she's hired instructors to help out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Theatrical update

So I won't be doing Catch-22, not because I wasn't cast, but due to a work conflict during their tech week. A pity, as I would have gotten to play a batch of blowhards & bad guys, which would have been fun. However, the one bright side is that at least I can audition for Gondoliers, which techs in a week later. Now I'm cramming to get a new audition piece under my belt so that I'll be ready when the Gondoliers audition dates are announced.

I'll be helping w/ make-up for a local production of Follies. I auditioned for them, wasn't cast, but hope that this will be a way to make myself known to at least some of the company. And since I'll be working with a "real" make-up designer, I'm sure I'll learn some techniques that will stand me in good stead in future shows.

One of the local professional companies is looking for non-Equity singers for their summer productions. I'm sorely tempted, but first need to find out what the rehearsal schedule looks like. Being a professional theater, they may rehearse during the day. Since I already have a day job, that wouldn't work so well for me. ;-)

I'm already starting to look ahead to the 09-10 season, though only 1 or 2 companies have announced their season so far. I've already spotted one show I want to audition for; a long shot, but I don't mind auditioning even when I know I have only a snowball's chance because of the strength of the competition.


I saw my first crocuses of the season nearly 3 weeks ago, and the daffodils are blooming almost concurrently with the crocuses, instead of 2-3 weeks later. The forsythia is already starting to come out, several different kinds of trees are already in bud, the Bradford pears may well be in bloom by the weekend, and even our dogwoods are sporting some pretty healthy buds.

Two weekends ago the highs were in the 70s, which brought all these blooms along right smartly, along with the first wave of allergens. Last weekend, though, the highs were only in the 40s, with the occasional light rain and some pretty stiff breezes. By now we should be used to the way spring loves to sucker-punch us like that, but those warm temps lasted more than 2 days running so we made the mistake of allowing ourselves to believe...

Still, I do love seeing the crocuses. Yes, I know they come up every year, and I even know which yards to watch and which colors come in where, but I still get as excited as a little kid at Christmas when I spot those first purple blooms.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Another audition

In about an hour I'm off to audition for a local production of Catch-22. No clue what the turnout will be like, and therefore whether I have much competition, but if I'm cast, it will certainly be a change of pace from anything else I've ever done.

Pros: the theater & rehearsal location are only about 8 or 10 miles from home, there are a few good pre-rehearsal and post-show dining options nearby, I'd be stretching myself and working with a new (to me) company.

Cons: Catch-22 runs concurrent with another show I'm interested in and for which I want to try for the contralto lead; it cuts into my time with my favorite retiree; I'm a little nervous that I might find myself cast in a show I don't particularly like. But these are problems only if I'm cast. ;-)

Guess we got a brush-up after all

Pity our poor audience last night. We didn't have a brush-up rehearsal this week, but maybe we should have. We certainly weren't at our best last night - our Danilo was ailing (modifying his top notes, speaking a few of the "talkier" lyrics, singing at only about 60%), energy was low, timing a little loose sometimes, some tempi sluggish and in general we didn't exactly give a very tight performance. :-(

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not good news

... though it's too soon to tell whether it's bad news. Lab results from last week's doctor visit were mostly normal; the one anomaly "is a surprise" given the other results, according to my doc. She's gonna refer me to a rheumatologist, which has me a bit nervous about what I may learn. Pray for me!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Still standing

... if on tender feet (gotta get better-fitting character shoes). I survived Tech Week and the green room sweatshop; I only built two Pontevedrian dresses, but I trimmed several - 3 rows of trim, 4 yds each, plus bodice trim. Then there was the sewing of random skirt hooks and hems, ransacking of my stores for accessories & props, and trying to survive the up-ended schedule (getting to bed about 4 hours before my alarm usually goes off for work). My fingers are full of holes now, but the costumes look even better than the batch for the last time this company did the show 13 years ago. Same costumer; it was her first show with the company. She's still costuming shows, getting better with each one, and she sings, too - she's Hannah Glawari.

The first weekend went well, we had enthusiastic houses, especially for the outreach matinee, we sound and look wonderful, and I love having the Chief in the wings (he's helping with set changes).

The chorus doesn't have a lot of singing in this show, but the music is wonderful. I'm bummed that my stupid knees keep me out of the running for much dancing - even the 8 bars of polka I do can be uncomfortable on bad days - but the singing I get to do is feeling really good. The harp adds a lot to the orchestral sound, and the harpist is a stitch. Yesterday he brought canteloupe for green room munchies, with the hollowed-out halves upside-down on a plate with one labeled "Glawari" and the other "melons". (Reference to a joke in the show; the Pontevedrian ambassador mistakenly decodes "Glawari millions" as "Glawari melons".)