Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The new ferns and their neighbors

A few pictures of the bed my oldest nephew engineered and which he & the Chief built. I've got my fingers crossed that we don't lose more plants this winter, since our nurseryman is going out of business. :(

More goodies for the garden!

We spent the weekend out at the cabin and I ended up buying a lot more than I'd intended at our nurseryman's going-out-of-business sale. I came home with 6 ferns (Japanese painted, running lady, mexican male, Virginia chain) and 6 miniature hostas. The ferns went into the beds at the cabin, filling holes left by plants that didn't survive the winter, while the hostas will go into the bed at home where the Chief first planted calladiums, not realizing they would survive winter only if brought indoors. Maybe the hostas will get planted tomorrow, more likely they'll have to be coddled aboveground until the weekend. One way or another, though, I'll get something sturdy in that now-empty bed.

My first new 'do in YEARS!

I'd been getting itchy to change my hair, after wearing it long (sometimes "only" mid-back, sometimes down to my hips) for 25+ years. However, I had to wait until after Thebes closed, as I used my hair as a character prop. We closed last weekend, so today was the big day; Locks of Love gets another donation, and I have my first new hairstyle (styles I've worn for shows don't count) since the 1980s! The hairdresser whacked off my donation, then evened things out, then gave me some "long layers" so the end result wouldn't be "triangular". It'll take some getting used to - I have all this fluff around my neck but no hair even on my shoulders, because whacking off all that hair freed up my natural curl.

I can't help but wonder what I'll do with my hair the next time I'm in a show, but I'll worry about that when I'm cast in something. I may well grow it out again at some later date, if only to make use of all the hair "tools" (rollers of several different kinds, curling irons, that Vintage Hairstyles book) I've accumulated, but I expect I'll stick with this for a while, since the initial reviews have been favorable. ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big plans for the weekend

Now that Thebes has closed and my weekends are my own again, I've got big plans for this weekend:
  • First of all, I'm making the long weekend even longer - I'm taking Friday & Tuesday off work.
  • Friday I plan to hit an outlet mall to replace the summer sandals that gave up the ghost last year, and maybe find a dress to wear for my voice teacher's studio recital next weekend.
  • We're getting a new storm door installed at the cabin. This one will have a full-door screen for more ventilation; I'm looking forward to sitting in "my" chair and enjoying the additional breezes.
  • The Chief & I will go window shopping, as in shopping for windows to replace the contractor-grade junk in the bedroom.
  • I'm getting a massage! Maybe J can work her magic on my arthritic shoulder and get it to leave me alone.
  • The Chief & I will probably hit the gym at least once or twice over the weekend, maybe more.
  • I need to visit our nurseryman to pick up some ferns and hellebores, maybe a few other shade-loving plants.
  • Tuesday I've got an appointment for a consultation w/ a hairdresser to decide what to do with my hair. After wearing it long and straight for 25+ years, I'm overdue for a change (and Locks of Love will get another donation).
Now to draft the list of "provisions" for the Chief to take to the cabin this weekend...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goodbye to "Thebes"

The Burial at Thebes had its final performance last night. Definitely one of my top theater experiences. It was my first tragedy, and in modern language, in a very intimate space, so I had to learn more "normal" reactions than you would use in a larger space, such as where I just did La Belle Helene. Last night during my long backstage break, I finally counted up my lines - 32 in the whole show, including the unison lines in the choral odes. I spent a lot of time on stage in this show, but with so few lines, I obviously was spending most of that stage time reacting to what others were saying and doing. All that time I've spent doing just that in ensembles was good preparation! ;-)

But nothing prepared me for crying real tears on stage. I've done a fair bit of mock crying, but this was different. I always ended up crying at least a little during the Haemon-Creon scene but last night was the soggiest. At one point Haemon came up to me during one of his speeches (I spent nearly all my stage time at the back of the set on one of the platforms), which he'd never done before, and we held hands briefly. As he turned to go back to his increasingly heated exchange with Creon, I squeezed his hand, then raised one hand toward his cheek. That little exchange "primed the pump", as it were, choking me up. The tears came more readily then, as Haemon & Creon got more & more upset, to the point where I had to make a conscious effort not to cry audibly. By the time I exited on Creon's heels, the tears were running so freely that I had to check a mirror in the dressing room to see whether my eye make-up was running. (It wasn't. Maybelline Ultra-Liner - good stuff!)

I liked the way our director broke up the chorus bits, assigning most of the lines to individuals and designating other lines to be spoken by smaller groups or all of us, instead of the more traditional method of having everyone in the chorus say every chorus line. Having a choreographer block the choral odes was another choice that I hadn't expected but which I liked. It certainly set the odes apart from the rest of the action and made sure that they didn't stop the action dead in its tracks.

This was a good stretch - I got to work with a director whose process was very different from anything I'd encountered before, I got another straight play under my belt, I learned how to cry on stage, and I got to do a show I'm proud to say I was part of.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Spending our 10th in different states

The Chief and I marked our 10th anniversary a couple of weeks ago. We were in different parts of the country, but that's OK. We spent our first anniversary on different continents (he was deployed to the Middle East at the time), so this was certainly an improvement; we'll just celebrate when it's convenient.

The reason we weren't together was that I went west on "godmother duty" - my godson was being confirmed at the Easter vigil Mass at the Newman Center on his college campus. I stayed with Dad, which he loved, and got to spend a lot of time with most of my family.

The Chief went north to spend Easter with a cousin who's currently going thru chemo. While there, he also managed to visit a couple of very senior aunts, one of whom is on hospice care, the other of whom is suffering from heart trouble but is so old that the doctors can't risk surgery.

Friday, May 06, 2011

I made someone cry! :-)

Tonight we all had a really good night - great energy and our timing was spot on. We were all keenly aware of the others' reactions and really hanging on each speaker's every word. I don't know whether it was because we were all eager to get back to Thebes after having to do without for nearly a week or for some other reason, but I think this was our best performance to date.

The Burial at Thebes, being a Greek tragedy, involves a lot of anguish before the bodies start piling up. Eurydice, my character, has very few lines but I spend a lot of time on stage reacting to what others are saying. One such scene involves Creon, my husband and the new king, and Haemon, our son, arguing about Creon's verdict that Antigone, Haemon's fiancee, must die for defying the decree not to bury Polyneices' body (her brother). It starts out tense and gets worse, with Haemon saying all the wrong things, Creon flying off the handle, and Haemon essentially threatening to kill himself if Creon executes Antigone. Eurydice gets more & more upset as things escalate, gasping when it looks like Haemon's about to do either himself or his father an injury, then flings off in a rage.

The first night we rehearsed the whole show, I was surprised to find myself actually getting a bit misty-eyed in this scene. Some nights the tears have been reluctant to flow, others they've come more readily. Tonight I was more into that scene than I ever have been, so that the tears started sooner and just kept rolling. I don't wipe them away, but leave them alone until I get offstage. Until tonight, I never knew whether the audience could see any of that.

Tonight our director decided to have a post-show discussion for any interested audience members, with the cast joining as we got out of costume. Those patrons who stayed to participate were very complimentary. One woman commented that she & her husband are regular patrons of community theater and had observed that nearly every show had at least one performer who didn't quite get into it or stay in character throughout. Not so tonight - she said we all were completely engaged and solid in our characters.

Our Antigone's mother had some good questions for the cast, then looked straight at me (!) and said that she cried easily and seeing me cry during the Creon-Haemon scene had her crying too. Another woman told me something similar afterwards, that she thought my reactions were very moving and completely believable. She also found my final scene, when I learn Antigone & Haemon are both dead, "very powerful". In fact, our Antigone said the same - that when she peeked out one night during that scene, I looked so very bleak upon hearing the bad news that it was quite moving.

Perhaps because mine is such a tiny role (if our director hadn't decided to include me in some of the chorus stuff, I'd only be on for one tiny scene near the end), the director hasn't had much to say to me about what I've been doing. Now all of a sudden, in one night I get all kinds of feedback, all positive. Yep, I'm feeling the love! :D

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Two lush-ous Lumps

Another goody for certain friends: