Saturday, May 31, 2014

Squash and rudbeckia are planted; now to see how they do.

Today I took the plunge and planted my rudbeckia and butternut squash seedlings.  The squashlings are 2" to 3" tall and pretty robust.  My baby rudbeckia are a little shorter and much more delicate-looking.  They also didn't get quite as high a real-dirt-to-clay ratio as the squash, as they're in a spot where I haven't planted before, so this is my first season improving the soil.

If my gayfeather ever germinates (it's hard to be patient when the other seeds have sprouted and are now in the ground), I'll put them in the same spot as the rudbeckia, since there's plenty of room there. I do hope that happens; it would make for a very cheery color combination.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Panic resolved - whew!

After being out of town last weekend, tonight I checked back in with the "Arabian Nights" cast.  I was pleased to find that they are now completely self-sufficient with their make-up.  However, one woman arrived in what should have been plenty of time, only to realize that she'd left her make-up kit at home and didn't have time to go back for it.  Panic, with a large side order of swearing at herself!  I offered her the use of a few of my supplies, and there's a drugstore conveniently located right upstairs, so she ran up and bought what she needed to get stage-ready.  When she came to me for a make-up check, I was able to assure her she looked fine.  She later thanked me, twice, for "talking me down off a ledge!"  All part of the service, folks. :)

One of the other cast members relayed that friends of hers came to see the show and commented on how remarkable everyone's eyes looked.  Yes!!  That's exactly what I was going for!  That, and one of the techs commenting on how "fierce" Shahriyar looked in full make-up let me know I accomplished my goal with the make-up design.  The one audience member I chatted with at the opening night reception who commented to me about the hair was surprised to learn that only one woman on stage is not wearing at least a hairpiece if not a full wig.  That tells me that what I put on that stage looks natural.  Striking make-up and natural-looking hair that still balances that make-up - my work here is done!  :D

Monday, May 26, 2014

A different audition experience

Friday I auditioned for the Christmas Revels on my way out of town for the weekend.  I was first given a name tag and ushered downstairs to get my picture taken.  I was then sent up to the mezzanine to learn the dance combination, which turned out to be a piece of an Irish set dance, complete with a couples turn.  That part was fun - it had been much too long since I'd done that sort of thing and I had to restrain myself so I wouldn't throw my partner & me into a wall or another couple. :D  We ran that sequence several times, then I was summoned back to the main floor to sing my two a cappella pieces.  Each of us went in individually, so unless you listened at the door, you didn't hear how anyone else did.

The singing was enjoyable, too; very "live" room, unlike some, where you can't hear yourself so it's easy to oversing and go off pitch.  No, I knew exactly where my pitch was, and the room seemed to be just the right size for my voice, which was feeling pretty good.  It certainly didn't hurt that the young woman who seemed to be there in an assistant capacity had a big smile on her face the whole time I sang, and the music director pulled one of those "not bad!" faces.

After everyone in my group had done our solo pieces, the whole group was called in to do the dance sequence.  We ran it once, then were told to do it again while talking with each other: "This is a social dance, after all!"  Then again, "and this time make some noise."

They gave us a few minutes to catch our breaths before having us do a little group singing.  The MD gave each of us a copy of a section of a 3-part kyrie, assigned each of us a line to sing, went over each part, then had us sing together.  There were 6 of us, so 2 on a part, and we seemed to be pretty well matched.  I thought we sounded pretty good, anyway.  The MD then had 2 of us switch parts, then we all sang the kyrie again.  It was a very pretty arrangement; I wouldn't have minded singing another repetition or few, but we were only the first group of the evening and they had to move things along.

For the last part of the audition, two of us chose the option of reading a few lines, available ahead of time, "in your best Irish accent".  Considering that I'd never attempted an Irish accent before, I won't vouch for how well (or poorly) I did, but at least they didn't laugh me outta there. ;)

The unusual part was how everyone treated us.  I had auditioned and been cast once before, but had to withdraw when I got assigned an extended business trip.  That was 7 years ago, yet the couple who are the life & soul of the local Revels organization both remembered me and even recognized me, despite my weight loss and hair cut!  They and everyone else working the auditions was very welcoming and encouraging, wishing everyone good luck. 

But what impressed me the most was Mrs. Revels' response when I asked when we might hear back.  She told me we should all hear by Wednesday, with the Yeses hearing last.  This was because she started with the Noes, giving each person feedback!  They anticipated 70-80 people auditioning; I don't know how many they'll cast.  Even if they cast 40, that's still a LOT of individual feedback emails!   Every other company I've ever auditioned for notifies the Yeses first; those not cast usually get a form email.  Which is fine; it's certainly better than not hearing at all.  But feedback on an audition?  That NEVER happens!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The toadlilies are spreading

Last spring I really had to wrestle with my toadlilies to separate them and they seemed to take the rest of the year to get over the trauma.  They did bloom, but not as profusely as in the past.  This spring, however, they're coming back with a vengeance, having spread a few inches to send up an outlier under the downspout, and a bit further to send another outlier where I had some begonias last year.  I may put just one begonia in that spot this year, and let the toad lilies fill in the rest.

The foliage isn't particularly noteworthy, but when it blooms in October, the flowers are well worth the wait - like stems full of little orchids, lavender with tiny purple "freckles".  The fact that it likes shade and damp is a bonus.  If I thought the deer would leave it alone, I'd take some out to the cabin and plant it in the beds with the hellebores.  Actually, given that the deer find something in the hellebores to be an irritant, maybe I could plant the toadlilies behind them and let the hellebores "stand sentry" over them.

They look great!

The Arabian Nights opened Friday night.  The cast did a good job - good energy, story-telling and movement (and the director has given them a LOT of movement!).  As I expected, they look fabulous!  She built wonderful turbans and other headgear for men and women alike, put them in lovely, rich fabrics in both muted and vibrant colors. The set includes "oriental" rugs all over the floor of the performing space, which also makes it look richer than the usual black floor one always sees in community theater productions.

The cast also did a good job of getting their make-up up to the level we wanted to go with the rich-looking costumes.  Many of them had trouble getting used to applying as much eye make-up as I kept urging them to do, but by Friday they were there and are even starting to like the effect.  (One woman, who came in a nice dress for opening night, decided she likes the dramatic eye make-up for evening wear.)  The hairpieces are working well, too; everyone has gotten so comfortable with them that if I didn't know they were "add-ons", I wouldn't be able to tell.

Now that I have an award nomination on my resume, I'm eligible to be a presenter at next year's awards ceremony.  I'd love to be the one to present the award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Play to our costume designer.  I'd bet serious money that she'll get a nomination for this show, and I won't be AT ALL surprised if she beats out the competition.  No, it's not about the awards, but I'm THAT impressed with what she's done - gorgeous work!

I hope they make it

The Chief and I spent last weekend with my family, as Mother's Day fell on Mom's birthday day this year.  While we were there, Sister3 dug up some of her lilies-of-the-valley for me to bring back.  These are special because Mom had transplanted the originals from her mother's house, so the flowers aren't just from my sister, it's as if they're from Mom and her mom, too.  I finally got them in the ground this afternoon; I hope they do well.  Got my fingers crossed that they'll bloom next year.  (The pips Mom brought me several years ago never did bloom, hung in there for a few years, but finally gave up and died.)

I also started some butternut squash, rudbeckia and gayfeather in "Cowpots".  I knew I wanted to try the squash again this year, but as we told the gentleman helping us at the nursery, last year's attempt produced plenty of flowers but only that one tiny little squash.  He recommended attracting pollinators by planting something butterflies love, suggesting 4 different flowers.  We settled on the rudbeckia (black-eyed susan) and gayfeather.

The rudbeckia sprouted first, but the squash is catching up fast - this morning's tight little sprouts have already opened a few leaves. We're still waiting for the gayfeather to sprout, but my online searches tell me they take anywhere from 20 to 45 days to germinate, so we'll just have to be patient.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quote of the month!

Sometimes my voice teacher will have me beat on my chest while vocalizing, to release tension or distract me from the bad vocal habits I'm trying to unlearn or some such.  Yesterday she had me doing the chest-thumping thing, then had me sing without it.  She obviously was pleased with the results, as she declared, "I think you should beat on yourself more often."

Friday, May 09, 2014

Did they really expect us to consider that a serious offer?

The Chief and I decided the queen-size futon is just too big for the guest room, so I advertised it for sale.  We bought it new only 3 or 4 years ago, barely used, so listed a price 1/3 of what we paid for it.  We got one person who seemed seriously interested - wanted details on size, pictures, etc.  Then came the counter-offer - less than half of our listed price!  Did they really think we'd consider that a serious offer?  The frame is solid hardwood, and everything's in like-new condition.  I replied "no, thank you."

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The wigs will have parking places

Eight of the nine women in the show will have wigs or hairpieces, all of which I bought yesterday.  Oh, and a few wig heads to put the wigs on.  I brought the lot to rehearsal tonight and asked our producer if he or someone else could put some dowels onto a board to hold the wig forms with their "residents". That will keep the styrofoam things from toppling over from the weight of the wigs, which will help keep the wigs and pieces in some semblance of order.  I should have it by next Monday, just in time for tech week.