Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tiny White Daisies On The Lawn

Passover has just begun, and the first matzah breakfast consumed.  We like it with butter and apricot jam.  It's actually good for the first couple of days.  Then later you want to throw it at the wall.

Feeling a little of that "it's newly Spring and I don't have rehearsal" ennui.  On the other hand, it's been nice being home in the evenings, actually cooking a leisurely dinner and continuing with my project to read every Judy Blume book to Jarrah.  She's so funny and perceptive--she's already told me that Margaret and Sheila are similar because "they both lie because they're worried about what people think of them."  It makes me see that all the Judy Blume books basically pivot on this idea.  Which I guess is what makes them relatable to so many kids, even now.  It's funny because I don't find them relatable anymore, which I guess is the whole point of growing up.  I keep thinking, what are these kids so afraid of?  Tell the truth!  Own up to your fears!  Get over yourself!  I suppose I wouldn't have appreciated that when I was 12.

The last few shows were satisfying.  I feel like it took me a week to recover (Daylight Savings didn't help) but I had a lot of fun with it.  I spent a lot more time on this show with young people (like, really young--one of my show BFFs was 14) so I was often the cool kid with a car.  I mean, it's a 12-year-old car with a big dent in the driver-side door, but hey.  It drives.  I feel grateful that my director sort of gave me free reign to create Ms. Teavee, since she has only about five lines in the entire act that she's on stage (and most of them akin to "What's that?") but by the end of the run I had all the Oompa-Loompas running around saying "I am soooo Instagramming this!  Hashtag adorbz!"  That was really fun.  And at the cast party, when we played "Switch" and the kids portrayed the adult characters in a parody scene, seeing Violet Beauregarde mock me was simultaneously thrilling and mortifying.

Now I need to find a new project and have been scouring auditions to that purpose.  There were a few I might have turned up for, but the runs coincide with my imminent trip to the East Coast for my Smith College reunion--I'm really excited about that.  In a strange yet wondrous development, the entertainment committee for our formal Saturday night dinner has asked me to perform for the class that evening.  When I followed up and asked what they'd like me to perform, this gal said "What do you do?"  That's a bit daunting, but I think I've settled on some stand-up comedy.  Still daunting, but less so than singing during the cocktail hour and possibly wearing out my welcome for life.

I also had a pleasing development on the last day of the show, which began with an awards breakfast for the theater company I've been working with.  I was recognized for both my contributions to "Pippin" and my influence as a youth mentor, and the whole experience brought tears to my eyes.  I was very moved to have people notice me.  After the breakfast, my "Pippin" director asked if I might consider being his dramaturg on an upcoming directorial project of his, a very contemporary, talky drama that is set in 1919 New York.  Of course, this is precisely the place and period I studied for my dissertation, so it seemed like a really fun challenge--not to mention the opportunity to work with him in a new capacity.  The cast is only five people and there isn't a part suitable for me, but this way I can put my research skills to use; they're getting rusty.  That show starts up in September, so I have lots of time to prepare.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pure Imagination

Morning after the first weekend of "Willy Wonka the Musical."  I am typically zoned out.  Not helping is the fact that we've just "sprung forward" (which sounds even worse in the past tense.)  Jarrah kept moaning, "I'm so confused..." this morning when we woke her up in the dark.  "We are, too, sweetie."  "They should give a week off from school after the time change."  "I've been saying that all my life."

Looks to be a beautiful day, though.  It will be weird not to go to rehearsal.  The show went really well this weekend and I had my personal best on my solo number Saturday night--David and Jarrah were even there to see it.  By which I mean I got through the singing, the tango, the patter AND "the business" (which includes waving a tiny French flag around) without getting out of breath.  That part was the true triumph.  All the other times I've been secretly praying, "Please let me get to the end of this song without passing out."  Truth.

Everyone has been awesomely nice and we're having a lot of fun, but it's been an overwhelming week. For one thing, there are a lot more kids around on this show.  Sure, there were kids in "Bye Bye Birdie," but they kept the poor things sequestered in a tent outside the dressing room--here we're all together, and sometimes the noise level is pretty amazing.  The other thing is that until opening night, we weren't even sure we'd have a show--we were that behind in tech.  This show has a lot of complicated sets, sound and light cues, as well as video clips that have to be perfectly timed, of course.  None of that happened even at our Thursday night Tech Dress, which was performed for an audience of charter school students and their families.  Let's just say I was reassuring myself that at least they weren't paying.

By Friday, we miraculously had a show with all the bits in place, and except for a glitch here and there, that was true all weekend.  Even as I'm congratulating myself on a successful opening, I'm beginning that melancholy process of letting it all go, as we have one more weekend and then it becomes part of community theater history.  I don't have any other projects lined up, or auditions I'm looking forward to.  The next two shows with this group are for kids only.  Two other productions that interested me have show dates when I'll be away in May for my college reunion.  So I'll just have to keep my ear to the ground.

I'm sure it will be nice, for a couple weeks, not to race out after dinner into the chilly evening for rehearsals, but I know I'll get antsy soon.  What will be next?  Who knows?