Tag Archive for theatre

Wednesday Wonderful 06.06.12

Wednesday Category

This week on the Wednesday Wonderful… seaside engagement sessions and beachy jewelry, rediscovered relics, and the most amazing looking purple cake I’ve ever seen.


Remains of Elizabethan theater unearthed (via Kim Mead)

The interim theater of The King’s Men (best known as William Shakespeare’s home company), The Curtain Theatre, has been discovered by archeologists in London. My excitement about this gives away what a huge Shakespeare nerd I am. Can’t wait to see what they learn from this discovery.

Little Mermaid Engagement Session (via Mandi Fraser)

As a girl that grew up wanting to be Ariel (since we shared the red hair and all), I LOVE this engagement session and hate that I wasn’t clever enough to think of it when I was engaged. Kudos to the couple and photographer Elizabeth Sassman for this fantastic photo shoot.


Purple Ombre Cake (via geekgirlsmash on tumblr)

Purple Ombre Cake from Beantown Baker

This cake is stunning and my first thought looking at it was “I could never do decorating like that.” Beantown Baker made a helpful video, though, showing exactly how easy(ish) it is. I definitely think I’m going to have to try and make this cake for my own birthday, just to accomplish such a feat.

Etsy Find of the Week: Stones in a Bottle Summer Memories Charm Necklace by MustardAmpersand

Stones in a Bottle Summer Memories Charm Necklace by mustardampersand on Etsy

This delicate, summery necklace speaks of all things beach, seaside, vacationy, and relaxing. I’m just in love with so many thing from Bailey Thomas’ shop and if you are, too, you can snag one of her pieces at 25% off through this Friday, June 8th with code BEATtheHEAT

Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune

Theatre Category

I finally got around to watching the Canadian show Slings and Arrows this weekend. It’s an hour long, six episode season, three season show about a Shakespeare festival in Canada. I haven’t finished it all yet (two episodes into the second season), but I really like it. The only bad thing is that I think it sent me into a funk and I only just realized that it’s the cause of the funk.

Since morning Sunday, I’ve been really down. Not quite depressed, but pretty down. I teared up at the season one finale of S&A. I teared up at pretty much every bride on Say Yes to the Dress. I couldn’t shake the gloom all day and it was still hanging around yesterday. And this morning I realized:

I miss acting. I miss directing. And dear god, I miss the classics.

I think I can pinpoint the moment that caused the funk. In the season finale, Rachel McAdams character, Kate, the ingenue, the understudy ascended to Ophelia gushes to another cast member that she saw her as Ophelia when she was 12. The character, Ellen, expresses some surprise at this and Kate reveals that she first read Hamlet when she was 10. Ellen regards this as completely odd. I think most people regard that as pretty odd. I mean, what 10 year old reads (and somewhat understands) Hamlet?

When I was 10, I read (and somewhat understood) Hamlet.

The love has been in me since then. The love for Shakespeare, which grew to a love of the Greeks, which grew to a love of Jacobean and Medieval and Shaw and Ibsen and Chekov and Miller and O’Neill and all things theatre. The classics brought me into it. For more people who love or work in theatre, the moment they wanted it was the moment they first saw that big musical opening number. It brought them into the experience and they wanted to be a part of it. It was nothing but the text for me. Words on a page. Sullied flesh and rosemary for rememb’rance and more things on heav’n and earth and the rest is silence. The words made a story for me and I loved that story.

My middle school had no drama program, but I picked Shakespeare for an independent study project (making a model of the Globe). I took an acting class at another school and picked a Juliet monologue. It wasn’t until I was 13 and saw Guys and Dolls at the high school that I’d be going to that I saw (and fell in love with a) musical. Once I went to high school, because I was in chorus as well as drama, I was pegged as a singer… a musical girl. Two problems: a) I couldn’t dance and b) I wasn’t big enough for musicals. I had a quiet stage presence, one meant for drama and classics, not for spectacle. I tried to force myself in the round peg for three years and got frustrated with my back of the stage chorus parts. My senior year, my teacher gave me two challenges: he named me student director for the fall play (and drama aide, directing my own one-act) and he asked me to put together competition monologues.

Monologues were the most competitive competition category at our school. While we got 8 entries in other categories, we only got 6 in monologues. Add to that the fact that our school had placed highest in monologues in the district in the past three years and a monologue slot was coveted. I went to work picking mine. Each person had 5 minutes to do two contrasting monologues. Part of the challenge was in picking monologues so contrasting that they showed an immense range (and talent in switching gears within two seconds). It didn’t take me long to find the perfect ones: Electra by Sophocles and Workout by Wendy Wasserstein. One, intensely dramatic (and classic, which NO ONE tackled for competition) and one frenetic and comedic. I was issuing myself a challenge: the Greek would be cake… the physical and vocal comedy of the other… that was the challenge. I did my monologues at competition and got highest ratings (was runner-up for best in the room to another kid from my school). I rocked both. I made people tear up *and* laugh out loud in a five minute span. To add to that, I finally got a named role in a musical. Grease, 2000My teacher cast me as understudy (there were some messed up politics and we all believed that the understudy cast was his true cast) Frenchy in Grease. Yes, Frenchy. The only Pink Lady without a song. Most people saw this as an insult… a slight. I didn’t. I knew what it was about. It was my teacher, telling me that I could be big. That I had the talent to immerse myself into a character and act. That I was more than a pretty singer, more than someone who could harmonize and keep a chorus in tune. One of the parents photographed the show and caught a picture of me during the “you look like a hooker” part of “Beauty School Dropout.” It’s one of my most cherished pictures. It’s amazing. I have a face that could be seen to the rafters (not that we had rafters). I always kept it posted to remind me what I could do.

I went to college out of state, far away, where no one had preconceived ideas of me as a singer or classic girl or anything at all. One of five theatre majors in my year (all girls), I landed the lead in the freshman show (over my roommate, who filled a similar niche to me: curvy, redhead, pretty voice). I scored another lead my sophomore year in the fall musical and in the spring, got to perform in assorted classical pieces in a showcase (including Viola, Goneril, and Iocasta). It was a great year, finally getting to study classical drama and getting to perform it. It was also my last year in college.

I took a break after that year. I don’t even remember all my reasons why. Money was surely one of them. Wanting to travel, too… there were plans for a study abroad semester (that fell through last minute). During the Spring of my second break year, I visited my college to see one of my good friend’s senior thesis show. I told my advisor that I would’t be coming back in the fall. He told me “you don’t need a degree to do what you want to do.” I’d realized in this break year that I didn’t have that all encompassing need to be an actor, that need to be on stage. And I’d decided, in the wisdom of my twenty years on earth, that in order to be a professional actor, you had to have that. To put up with the stress and the lack of money and the rejection and the lifestyle, you needed to be incomplete without those hours in front of an audience. Otherwise, you’d just crack and give up.

Like I had.

I auditioned for a local production of my favorite musical (one I’d seen three times professionally), Cabaret. The director was so terrible that I got myself passive-aggressively kicked out (translation: I just stopped going to rehearsals citing transportation issues). That was the summer or fall of 2002. I really did give up on theatre after that. I focused on work and my new dream of being a travel agent, maybe owning a bed and breakfast one day. I fell in love over New Year’s 2002/03 and spent my days working so that I could travel and see the boy.

In 2006, I started to get the itch again. A small theatre nearby was doing my favorite Christmas show, It’s a Wonderful Life. I auditioned and got cast as Violet. I spent nights driving half an hour to rehearsal with a castmate, rehearsing for hours with a great cast, and chatting until the next morning in the Waffle House. I remembered why I loved it. I still didn’t need it, but oh, did I love it. And oh, did I miss the other end. The directing end. I thought that maybe I was confused those years ago… I didn’t need acting, but directing on the other hand… maybe that’s what I needed. I threw myself back into theatre, assistant directing and directing, getting a job as an office manager at the local professional theatre, being around theatre day and night, looking into programs to finish out my degree, changing to non-profit management. I knew it, finally… this is what I wanted to do.

And then I got fired. And the subsequent depression that I didn’t even completely understand (or admit to understand) at the time. The next spring, I didn’t get a directing slot at the theatre that I’d busted my ass for to direct the Christmas show. The theatre dream was officially dead. Officially just a hobby. Yeah, I still run the social media for a company (on a committee and everything *shudder*) and I had fun in a chorus role this summer. Hobby.

And now this weekend and I’m crying because a simple line in a television show makes me profoundly sad about what I’ve given up. What I’ve left behind. I know I have great things in the life that I do have (my wonderful husband and amazing puppy chief among them). I just didn’t realize that I’m deficient in the things that I thought I didn’t need.

The subject of arts and passion and whether artists need fall backs came up at work today. So I told my boss about my sadness. She suggested I find some children to teach the classics to. A local group is doing Much Ado early next year, which is my favorite Shakespeare. I want so badly to audition, but after my last experience being in one of my favorite shows, I’m wary of ruining it for myself. And I worry that I’m not as good as I used to be. I don’t know how to move on from here.

Post-script: The Producers

Theatre Category

So, Amy, you know how you said that you looked forward to hearing about my next theatre gig in real time? Yeah, well, I totally failed at that.

This weekend, we closed “The Producers” at the local community theatre that I’m active in. I was in the ensemble and had a bunch of fun being a First Nighter, a Little Old Lady and a scantily-clad Valkyrie. It was fun, and I met a lot of great people (and got to know some existing people better), but I’m very glad it’s done now. I don’t know if it was all the downtime backstage, starting a full time job during the run or the fact that we didn’t even start “Springtime for Hitler” until 10pm (from an 8pm start time), but this show absolutely exhausted me. I’m still recovering (and probably will be until next week when I spend three days at the beach). I would have liked to blog about the process, but, see above re: exhaustion. One nice thing was that the theatre finally got wifi hooked up, so I was able to get some work done while I was there.

Oh, hey, that full-time job thing! Yeah, after interviewing and being offered a job with another department, the department that I was temping in didn’t want to lose me and quickly got together a full-time position for me. I’m still not on benefits, but hopefully should be later in the year (once they get some repositioning of jobs done). We’re still catching up financially and paying off some debts, but it’s been really nice to get to breathe a little easier again. We even treated ourselves to a Water Park Day on the day before my birthday. We were invited by a group of friends and rented a cabana and it was an absolutely fantastic day (even if I came back a little sunburnt).

I also got a job with a social media firm as an Account Manager. I’ve been account-less for the past month (which has been partially by choice), but should be starting on another one soon. I’m also applying for a Board position at the theatre to get a title for all the social media work I’ve been doing for them for the past year or so.

So, that’s all the good things. Being busy is good. Not getting to spend enough time with my husband and puppy, not so much. Being at work all day and getting bagels for breakfast and fast food for lunch, definitely not so good. My apartment complex has started a Crossfit Boot Camp type thing, bringing a trainer in, and while I missed the first class due to a show, I’m going to try and start going to get myself back into shape.

Also, in connection with my Epic Life Story (in progress), I’ve found out more details that pertain to my grandmother’s death. When I get all the information, I’ll continue the story.

That’s where I am now. Vowing, yet again, to be better about blogging and to get myself into shape. We’ll see how it goes this time.

End of show wrap-up

Theatre Category

Prelude to a Kiss ended Sunday. The run went well and I should be ecstatic and accomplished feeling today. I’m not. Before I get to why, I’m going to force myself to run through the things that I should (and do, I swear), feel accomplished about.

  • I directed a show. And I did the set design and the light design and the sound design, as well. I can’t really show you a picture of the sound design, but how ’bout this for some light and set:Prelude Center Set
  • I got three first time actors onstage acting and doing pretty darn good at it by the end of the run. This is our “Old Man:”Old Man
  • We had a high attendance of 58 last Saturday (the venue seats around 70) and had between 20-40 on many of the other nights of the run.
  • While we had a few walk-outs, the majority of the audiences really liked the show. Some were absolutely raving about it as they left. A couple of my co-workers saw it and really liked it. The former president of the theater saw it and thought I did an amazing job with what I had to work with.

So I directed a show and people liked it and at heart, that’s the most important thing. Despite the small problems we had getting there (I know shows that have had much bigger problems), the shows went well. I saw the evaluations that the actors all filled out and I was expecting pretty much everything I saw written about me, but was amused at the juxtaposition of some of the comments in the “weak points” section. Two or three cast members wrote “too patient” or some variation on that. A couple wrote “not patient enough.” By other comments and handwriting, it’s pretty much the people that had memorization problems that wrote “not patient enough” and the more experienced, but younger actors that wrote “too patient.” And I can see both sides of that coin. I was there to be a director, not a drama teacher and I certainly didn’t have time to be both for half the cast. Among the many things I’ve learned from this experience is that, if it can be helped, I am never working with first time actors again.

Another thing I’m probably never doing again is directing at this particular theater. » Read more..