Friday, September 23, 2011

Anne Frank

   We open The Diary of Anne Frank in a week.  It is a beautiful show, but oh, dear Lord, so sad.  I am not looking forward to watching it three nights in a row during dress rehearsals, because it is so exhausting!  A friend of mine is playing Mrs. VanDaan, and we were talking today about how, even though we know the ending, we go watch something like this play praying for the deus ex machina to swoop in and save them.
    I am ready for the fun of She Stoops To Conquer - a nice, old-fashioned comedy of manners.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Web Friends

All summer long I have been keeping track of a couple of  spiders that hang around out patio and back door.  The one by the back door we always name Pete because for some reason it makes the spider seem less intimidating to the children.(We think Pete is really a girl, but she doesn't seem to mind her moniker). Pete  has been known to bluff - you know, race out to the edge of the web as if to attack, then  she chickens out when we blow at her. 

This is a friend of Pete's.  This spider hangs below the window boxes on the patio, keeping the mosquito population down to a manageable number. This spider fascinates me with its contrasts.  It will hang completely still for hours, then, wham! attack a bug with lightning speed. 

The following are some shots of her attacking, wrapping and taking nourishment from an unfortunate insect which found its way into her web. Some are not very clear as she was moving  too swiftly for my camera to catch it all.


more wrapping

finishing the meal
After the meal, she climbed into the well of the window box to rest, leaving only her leg sticking out

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Good to Leave Your Comfort Zone

    When it comes to theatre, I am a costume and scenic designer , as well as a teacher.  I have acted, but not a lot, since my hubby is an actor and director, and his schedule is pretty well booked most nights of the year.  This summer I realized he was not in a show first thing in the fall, so on a whim, I auditioned for Cabaret at our local community theatre.    I was hoping for Fraulein Schneider, but when the actress who did get that role opened her mouth at auditions, we all knew she was it. (Bless you, Patti, you were "truly magnificent!") I was imagining I might get a part as a member of the ensemble, and if I was lucky, as Fraulein Kost, the hooker in the play.  Imagine my surprise when I got the part of Sally Bowles!
    It was a great rehearsal period. My choreographer worked me hard, and was so patient and supportive.  Michelle never got mad, and took extra time out of her weeks to have solo rehearsal time with me. I loved working with all the dancers, who were so helpful and patient with me as I slogged through dance rehearsals while they glided.  They never made me feel ungraceful, or slow, and they were always ready to show me moves I was not comfortable with.
     Throughout the entire process, I met and made friends with so many actors who kept encouraging me.  It was a wonderful thing as there was quite a bit of self-doubt.  After all, with the exception of a directed reading and one short stint of The Vagina Monologues a few years ago, I had not been on stage as a performer in 20 years, no, more than that!  Our Emcee was a hoot - very funny, very talented and so sweet! My dear "Cliff" was very helpful and kind and always covered if I dropped a line - which I totally did closing night - sorry, Doug! Our Schultz and Schneider were such a wonderful couple - as they danced to "Married" the cast would be swaying along in the wings as we watched them.
     I have to admit to being exhausted on the days of double dance rehearsals.  I am not sure my thighs will ever be the same (and that, my friends, may be a good thing!) and I certainly have a greater appreciation for all the dancers who make everything look so easy!

     For a few days I put on the short wig, the fishnet stockings and the revealing costumes.  I let myself have fun playing Sally, a naive, self-absorbed, yet surprisingly sensitive character. I danced. I discovered that I CAN belt a song.

     So now I am back to being just me - mom, teacher and costume designer. I have homework to check at night instead of mic check, no one is looking critically at my makeup, and I am just singing for me once more.  But what a lovely time it was.
   Thank you to our wonderful cast, crew, and artistic staff.  A special thanks to Sarah Lynn - I love a cabaret!