And another poem: The Approaching Cue

Wait in the shadows

Stay out of busy paths

If the prop’s not yours, don’t touch

Wait

Listen

Follow the rhythm of each scene

Act

Moment

And then it’s time…

Creep behind the set

Legs quiver and palms damp

Heart pattering rapidly

Review the words

Prepare to speak

Deep breaths to calm the nerves

Timing is everything 

Volume on top

Enunciate and emote

Eyes, lips, body language

Within the bubble of the stage

The words flow within 

A vein of expression

A ribbon of type

A stream of thoughts

My turn to voice

Show

Share

Live

And then the moment ends

Exit smoothly

Breathe normally 

Assess and evaluate 

And wait again

Grinning.

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Opening Night & the Adventuring Teen Returns Triumphant 

Good day. 

I made a fair dent in my end-of-year marking, working productively through the  day before heading home to rest before our first official showing of The Comedy of Errors

We had a nice crowd who laughed in all the right places and donated generously afterward. Nobody noticed when I messed up my lines, or that I was so cold that my teeth were chattering. We did have a great time, though!

   
                     

(The bug spray I borrowed was effective, but it also stripped the blue paint off the beads I’m wearing, dying the skin on my neck blue!)

Right after getting out of costume, I ran up to the school to meet our boy. Well, technically I walked. Hubby had the car and was already there. I was almost at the school when the bus arrived, so I was able to wave at them as they pulled up. 

Sadly, my phone was out of juice so I don’t have a pic of my son coming off the bus with this awesome fluorescent green squid hat on, clutching a small Chibi Flash doll and smiling tiredly, his face a mix of relief at being home and sadness that his fun adventure was over. He had an amazing time, a trip he will never forget, overcoming some fears and building friendships and trying new things. I’m sure he grew another few inches while he was gone, too. 

The whole house feels more settled, now that he’s home again. 

And the earth turns on. Tomorrow I have to go back into the school to keep marking, we have to start cleaning for visitors next week (I’d actually love to have the cast and crew for a campfire on Sunday if I’m able to get the house presentable by then), and the second show is tomorrow night. No sooner does one thing get done that the next needs doing. 

Slow down, Earth. Just for a bit.

 Addendum: the Squid Boy!

  

Survival Tactics for the Final Weeks

The last day of classes has come and gone, and exams begin tomorrow. 

I should be feeling some relief but my job is far from over, and the pressure continues . . . 

In previous years, I’ve spent the last two weeks swamped in marking. I’m still swamped, but I’ve chosen to participate in this play, to unwind a little in Shakespeare, although it’s not really unwinding in a sense — I’ve only put more on myself by doing this. And it’s not like it’s helping me a whole lot at work; I ended up having a crying fit this morning in the CYW’s office after a run-in with a disrespectful student, and I’ve got a persistent tightness in my upper left shoulder and the left side of my neck that I’m fairly certain is stress. Maybe some strain, too, from carrying the bags of marking around that I convince myself every night I’m going to get done . . .

But damnit, in spite of the time commitment and the bug bites, I’m having a fantastic experience attending rehearsals and learning my lines, playing a part in a show with awesome people. I’m doing something for me that will be over in two weeks. I think it’s doing something good amongst all the demands. 

Here’s my backstage view — it’s riddled with caterpillars and swarming with blackflies, mosquitoes the size of your thumb, and itty-bitty no-see-imd, some of which were off-put by my liberal application of that Shoo-fly soap from Blackberry Creek (tomorrow I may have to bring it with me, as well as a bottle of water, or a backup bottle of Off Deep-Woods). 

 

See that little path leading up to the rocks? That’s where I get to make my entrance!

  

Pretty much the same shot, but isn’t the lighting nice in this one?

  

I’m hoping that the crew will be able to put a roll of carpet down here, though — I’m a bit worried about tripping.

  

There’s trouble brewing under that hat!

 

Just some photos from my day…

I spent my afternoon in the park at rehearsal (plus ferrying my daughter to a friend’s birthday party and back again). It was lovely, but the fresh air and busy week have worn me out. Enjoy these pics from today, and I’ll see you tomorrow! 

 

part of my process is to write out my lines as prose, so i can find the tone and begin internalizing

  

the spider wasn’t my only visitor — i was landed on my a ladybug and two caterpillars! i think the ladybug pooped on me… they have scratchy feet, too

  

getting to know each other

  

set free to eat mosquitoes! do you think spiders are ever envious of other bugs with wings?

  

(Keep your fingers crossed that today’s good weather continues for the next two weeks!) 

Feeling optimistic after a good day

Went to my first play practice in a long time today, and you know . . . I’m so very, very glad that I’m part of Shakespeare in the Park this year.

The play is The Comedy of Errors, and I’m playing the Abbess Aemilia. It’s a nice part, kind of like Dumbledore — very steady, firm, wise. I don’t come on until Act V, and that’s okay. I’ve got enough going on right now that any more would send me over the edge, I think.

But I realized today, as I was waiting backstage and recording my blocking and practicing my lines, how much I’ve missed being a part of live theatre. I usually end up directing or producing, you see — oftentimes, it’s both — and while I can get into demonstrating for my actors how I want the scene to be played out, that’s as far as I get. I usually do theatre with high school students for them to have the experience. Last year, I opted to just advise and produce, stepping back from directing, and this year I didn’t do either for a whole list of reasons.

And I missed it. Oh, how I missed it. My husband told me at one point that he didn’t miss the usual drama of my springtime theatrical endeavours, but as weird as it sounds, I felt a little empty without it. There’s a painful side to the pleasure of being in a play. It’s all worth it in the end when the performance is out there.

There was a time, years ago when I was still in high school, when going through for a Fine Arts degree was a goal I held close to my chest. I wanted to be an actor, to try costume design, to direct — whatever I could. I wanted to audition for the National Theatre School of Canada, or try out for Julliard just for the hell of it, to have that experience and if I was very very lucky, to be accepted into the program. But I didn’t. I went into teaching instead. I get my bits and pieces on top of the performance art that teaching sometimes can be.

I take comfort in knowing there are examples of successful actors who entered the profession and industry later in life, although it’s funny — when you search up “successful actors who started late” you get mostly men, and the majority of them started in their late 20s or 30s. I’m pushing 40. I’ve got ten more years of direct parenting before both kids are out into the world. And I know that there are many, many pressures on women in the theatrical world.

So the more community theatre I can do to fill that inner need for expression, the better. I write, but I’m a performer, too. Sometimes my writing is just the performance taking place in my head, so to speak. I’m also interested in film-making, though I’ve never devoted any time to a film project other than attempting fan vids. There’s a local group that performs a cabaret-style variety show every winter, but I’m not into that. I’m happy doing Shakespeare. I’m happy pushing boundaries with experimental and social performances. I’m happy writing plays and seeing the words come to life beyond the page and my own imagination.

Maybe, in an alternate universe, teenage me got up the courage to fill out the audition forms, travel to the places where the recruiters had gathered, and strutted her stuff across the stage. Maybe she got accepted and was lucky enough to live for a year or two in the big city, learning the craft for the love of it, the challenge of the roles and the thrill that comes with all of that. Maybe I’ll find out in my next life, if I take my love of theatre with me.

Or, maybe, one day in fifteen or twenty years, I’ll get an agent or pour some money into a project of my own. Maybe I’ll make a movie out of one of my books, and have a walk-on role, just for the taste of it.

In the meantime, I’ve got the writing and the start of a return to community theatre. In a way, it’s relaxing to be involved with a play in which I’m not in charge. I’m a part of the whole. It’s like being in a band again, my voice a part of a chorus of images and voices and action. I’ve gotten an outlet back.