Saturday, May 30, 2009

What is happening right now...

Jackson: Mom, I smell spiders.
Me: Really? What do they smell like?
Jackson: ...spiders.

I am sitting on my couch waiting for the stove timer to beep, telling me my macaroni is ready to be drained in anticipation of the packet of powdered orange goodness that will transform it into macaroni and cheese. I am such a gourmet. It isn't even Kraft, it's generic. What does that say about me? I am not sure I want to know.

So indeed the Chronicle did pan my show, calling us too loud, too fast and too broad for a Noel Coward British comedy of manners. Of course any of you who have ever done any live theatre, especially of the unpaid variety, know the mantra of comedic shows. Say it with me, please! "Louder, faster, funnier!" We were just doing what we have learned the audiences like. And our audiences are enjoying the show. And this particular critic has a reputation for being a self-important ass-hat. We have been receiving condolences from other local theatre artists who have been 'Pineo'd' as we are now calling it. So whatever. As my friend Andy said, all publicity is good publicity.

Last night the show was sold out. And we had a pretty darn good show. A few little ups and downs. But all in all, it went well. The problem we are having is with the air conditioning system of the City Theatre. It is loud. Very loud. And situated directly over the stage. The initial plan was to run the AC before the show and during the intermissions, but to leave it off during the performance. But it isn't working out. It is simply getting too hot. With a full house of 75 in close proximity to each other, the stage and the hot stage lights, we simply can't leave it off. They are miserable and so are we. So the stage manager has been experimenting with timing to turn it off and on based on which scene is happening. But the only outcome is that for half the show the audience has to strain to hear us and the other half they are fretting about the heat. And it is very distracting onstage for us to hear the very loud AC turn off and on. So after the show last night we talked about it as a cast and decided to cave to the Texas heat and turn the damn thing on and leave it on. It is hard to hear in the back two rows, so we have to really work to be louder so those people can hear. But the stifling, distracting environment is no better. So with more of my effort having to go to being heard, my character might lose a little life and luster. Especially since she is shy and uncomfortable a lot. It is hard to act 'quiet' when you have to shout your lines. Sigh. But there isn't any choice.

Moral is, if you are coming to the show, don't sit in the back. And get there early cause parking is somewhat limited anyway.

David has started rehearsals for Big River and has taken Jackson with him to a couple of dance and vocal rehearsals. Jackson makes me smile because he really wants to participate in the whole thing. If they are learning dance, he wants to stand up with them and try to do what they are doing. And he gets frustrated that he can't do it. He says "They all do it better than me!" He's not quite four! He expects that he can do the dance that the teen boys are learning. He is unforgiving of himself. And during the vocal rehearsal he sits with them and holds a libretto book just like they do. Because I have been playing the soundtrack in my car for months he knows these songs and actually sang the correct words at the correct time just like the chorus.

This morning we were heading to a rehearsal and he asked if he could be in the show. David told him he was still a bit too young, but that he could be in lots of shows when he gets older. About ten minutes later we pulled up to the dance studio and Jackson sadly started to cry. We asked him what was wrong and he said, "My Daddy said I can't be in the show..." Poor boy, it was very sad. We told him that he could join the dancers if he stayed out of the way and that today he could be 'in the show.' I guess that was a lie. He can't be in the show. But he can be in the rehearsals as long as they are learning things and he doesn't disrupt anything. And in a couple of years he can do the summer camps at the Palace and be in those shows. And someday maybe a mainstage.

So my husband has a broken pinky toe. He accidentally kicked a roller blade that was hidden under a garbage bag in the garage about a week ago. His poor toe swelled and bruised up and has been giving him grief enough that he went to the clinic yesterday and had it X-rayed. And it is broke. Not much they can do about it, though. He has to tape it up to the toe next to it for a month. And take Advil. And seek sympathy from his wife.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why no blog?

Why don't I want to blog? WTF?

My show opened on Friday last week to appreciative audiences and kudos. I have been very, very busy prior to that and have been busy since trying to catch up on sleep, TV, yard work and laundry. But not blogging. I don't really feel like blogging. It just seems that when there is so much going on to write about, it becomes overwhelming and I don't write about anything.

So, yes, my show opened and it is a good one. I am having a good time with this cast and the audiences are laughing at my bits and seem to be enjoying the show.

Come see it if you are nearby. Here is the link to the site to make reservations. There are two more weekends.

And here is a link to a review on They liked us too. The Chronicle review will be out soon, and who knows how that one will be. The reviewer that came out is reported to be a not-so-kind one and he may or may not pan us for any reason. But whatever. The show is good, I think. Solid cast and we look and sound great.

Here is a pic of me back stage that my cast-mate Martina took on Sunday. You can kinda see how I cut my hair for the show into a more 1920's style bob. I actually like it a lot.

And now it is my turn to stay home with Jackson while David does a show. He is directing Big River and starts rehearsals with that this week. So I am hoping the forced house-boundedness will prompt me to find my inner blogger once more and stop being so anti-social - at least in the online community.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rehearsal and Jackson Boy

Oh, I have to share this awesome picture that Elaine created for her photo shop class. I love it and her teachers thought it was good enough to be included in their end-of-semester show that they do. She titled it 'Wild Man' cause that is what is on the shirt he is wearing. This photo piece truly captures the essence (and the sticky-out tongue) of my little boy. And that is one reason I haven't blogged in so long. Elaine borrowed my laptop for a few days to do this picture since her new laptop has not arrived yet. But mostly I have just been so busy rehearsing for Hay Fever and running around on the weekends that I have had no interest in sitting down to blog, or even surf the web much when I am actually at home. I apologize for the blog silence(Dad). I promise to do much better when this show opens.

I just got home from rehearsal a few minutes ago. It is 10:30 and we got there at 6:30. And I do want to head to bed soon so this will be a short blog, just to say that I am alive and all is well. Tonight's rehearsal was good, one of the best run-throughs. We had a couple of people watching tonight and that makes such a difference. When the cast is just about ready to open a week and a half before we open it can lead to what I call Stale Cast Syndrome. None of the jokes are funny anymore, nothing seems spontaneous and there is little energy. But add an actual audience, even an audience of two, and viola, the actors remember why they are working so hard and remember to perform instead of phoning it in. Tonight had renewed energy and I can see that it will be a good show. We move into the theatre Monday and open on Friday, May 22nd. Come see the show if you live in Central Texas! Make your reservations here!

Jackson is doing well. He likes to talk. All the time. I can't believe sometimes how much he has to say and how continually he will say it. In the car, he talks non-stop from one place to the next. It is a constant stream of stories and questions and lots of comments about my driving. Today he was telling me not to crash into any cars in front of me or I might "destroy the city." He said that. I might destroy the city. He has also told me to be careful pulling into the garage because I might run into something and damage the house. Then he told me that damage means broke, just in case I didn't understand the word.

He has decided that he is going to be a race car driver and drive a purple race car when he grows up. He offers this information to anyone who will listen. And he likes to ask me what I am going to be when I am grow up. I tell him I am already grown up and that I work at the Palace. He announced to his Dad that he (David) is going to be a singer when he (David) grows up and that Mommy is going to be a worker and that he (Jackson) is going to be a race car driver. Lucky me. They get glamorous jobs and I get to be a worker. Typical.

It is bedtime now. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Trip report number one

Even though I had a stomach bug that kept me in bed more than I would have liked, I had a really good time in Salem and Boston with Andrea. The weather was gorgeous and there were so many flowers and trees in bloom. And I just love the whole atmosphere up north. I could really see myself living in Massachusetts. If only I wasn't so scared of the winters.

But it is so different there. In Salem, they don't have lights at the crosswalks to tell you when to go and when not to go. When you are walking along the sidewalk and you get to the crosswalk, the cars simply stop and let you go. And the drivers don't even seem at all annoyed at having to do so. They just stop. In Texas you'd get run over by a two-ton pick-up truck and the driver wouldn't even stop to render aid. And the courts would honor him for doing so.

Salem is beautiful and is full of museums and historical sites dedicated to their unsavory history of having hanged a bunch of innocent people for witchcraft on the word of some bored 11 year-olds. There are shops full of arcane paraphernalia and witches weeds (clothes, I discovered, of the robe and skirt variety). Psychic reading and tarot card shops line the streets. And there are cats everywhere. I ran into probably six cats in the 24 hours we were in Salem. A Black cat came right up to us when we were walking around near the House of Seven Gables. It makes sense though. Cats and witches, right? Seems that although the famously hanged witches were not actually witches, Salem has become somewhat of a haven for Wiccans. They have a population numbering in the thousands. Not sure it makes sense, to move to the town notorious for witch hunts, but there you have it. Salem really has witches now and hopefully they go out and taunt the graves of the bastards who killed the innocent ones.

We went on a Ghost tour, with a tour guide in costume, and walked around Salem at night, visiting a cemetery and several haunted houses. Our guide talked about the haunted history of different houses, most having to do with the witch trials. It was cheesy, but fun. And I won a shot glass. The guide gave a prize to the person to answered a question correctly first. The question was "How many people were burned as witches in Salem." The answer is zero since they were all hanged, except the one they 'pressed' or crushed to death. So I won a Salem shot glass. Yay me.

Above is a pic of our tour guide in front of the Clue house. Apparently the Parker Brothers are from Salem. And there was a grisly murder in this mansion that involved the victim being bludgeoned with a wrench and stabbed with a knife. And there was a major court case that argued whether is was the pipe wrench or the candlestick. Turns out the victims daughter was to marry a man her father didn't approve of. So her fiance hired a man to kill him so she would not be cut out of the will. The daughters name? Mrs. White. So the Parker Brothers made a game of the whole thing and we all still play it. It this true? I haven't googled it, but it sure sounded good on the ghost tour.

We stayed in a lovely B&B called the Morning Glory and our host, Bob, was as delightful a man as I have met. Very warm and welcoming. And our room was sweet and comfortable. We talked with him a little and he confessed playing up about the B&B being haunted because he gets a lot of people asking. He says people want to come to Salem and stay in a haunted house. So he says yes if they ask if it is haunted. And he put a creepy kid painting in each room. Cause old paintings of kids are creepy. They just are. He says every once in a while he goes in to clean after a guest leaves and finds the creepy kid picture has been taken down and placed facing the wall so the guest doesn't have to look at it. Funny. Here is the kid painting from our room.

Boston is a gorgeous flowering city that is so pedestrian-friendly. I could really get used to the mixed residential/commercial layouts and the subway. It is unreal to me that you could actually live somewhere like this and not have a car. And not miss it.

We stayed in a gorgeous row house B&B that was not too far from Boston Common and the start of the Freedom Trail. I loved walking the trail and visiting the historic sites and enjoying the weather. Here is Andrea and me on Boston Common just before we headed off to walk the Freedom Trail.

And here is the street our B&B was on in Boston. There was block after block that looked just like this. It was gorgeous. I would love to move there, but would surely be unable to afford this neighborhood. I got the distinct feeling we were in a very expensive area.

More Boston/Salem stories later when I have time. I promise!