Tuesday, August 4, 2015
And it’s week six. The slippery slide down to final performances and emotional goodbyes has begun.
And I start the week at 5:00 a.m. with a horrible headache, clearly brought on by some barometric pressure changes, as evidenced by a sick stomach. Blech. I’ve got a dress rehearsal this afternoon, so I don’t appreciate this start to the day or week.
Quiet morning, as it was photo call. The director and photographer finished at 12:10, we took cast and crew pictures, then I raced back to my dorm room for inspection. One signs an inventory sheet at the beginning of the summer, and then the dorm supervisor inspects the room to make sure you haven’t knocked holes in walls or painted the walls fuschia. Then I went to health services; I’m sick of this cold. I can’t stop coughing and now I hear myself breath in the night. The nurse or PA or whatever he was listened to my chest and said it sounded fine. He suggested cough syrup and a nasal decongestant. I had hoped to get to Walgreen’s to pick up some OTC stuff, but couldn’t make it happen, so it must wait until tomorrow.
Grabbed a piece of pizza from the Melody Freeze to try to settle my stomach (don’t laugh at me—this is what works when I have this kind of headache), I headed back to the theatre for Dress Rehearsal #2. We were trying to use synthesized drum sounds to make up for our inability to find a drummer for the show, but trying to keep playing and start the drum machine in sync with Dr. Anne’s downbeat proved catastrophic for me. There’s only so much this girl can do with ten fingers and an overloaded brain. And two hours later the show was over. Tomorrow we will try to clean up problems that surfaced in today’s rehearsal.
I went to Hofbrau for a glass of wine and some comfort food, then decided I’d close my eyes for 20 minutes before Leslie’s dress rehearsal. Alas, at that precise moment, my nextdoor neighbor cranked up his electric guitar, and his ditzoid girlfriend started giggling at everything he said and did. Listen, we know exactly what he sees in her, and I’m not going to elucidate it on a family-friendly blog if you can’t figure it out for yourself!
And then it was time for “Yo, Vikings!” Dan Ryan and Leslie Williams did a fabulous job co-directing this show, Mike Clark did a great job accompanying, and the stage manager and wardrobe mistress and other crew worked wonders in six weeks with these 4th-6th grade actors and singers. Great voices, great staying-on-pitch, great voice projection, great focus. “Yo, Vikings” is a sweet show with themes so pertinent to kids’ lives today. Congrats to the full cast and crew – Job Well Done!!
Then I headed back to the theatre to practice and try to master some of these settings on the Clavinova. All I wanted to do was go to bed, but that darned machine is not going to get the best of me!!
And now to bed. Four more sleeps at Interlochen.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Took strong medicine for my headache before going to bed, and didn’t wake up to cough all night. Yea!!
Morning rehearsal consisted of music director, director, and choreographer reviewing notes from Tuesday’s Dress #2. Then we spent the rest of the morning fixing problems. I went to Maddy’s for lunch so I could sit quietly in a corner and review my music. Then back to Harvey Theatre and half an hour of practicing before afternoon rehearsal, which was intensive review and tightening of several musical numbers.
For dinner I made a sandwich and went to sit on the deck overlooking the lake. I’ll miss that vista when I head back home in three days.
After dinner and half an hour of practicing, I met the rest of the “Oliver!” family at Corson Auditorium to watch the High School Musical Theatre Production, “Crazy for You,” by George and Ira Gershwin with book by Ken Ludwig. Wowzers! What a fantastic, high-energy production. Ever since I learned this would be this summer’s high school musical theatre production, I’ve thought the show dated from the 1930s. It actually dates from 1992, and is based largely on 1930’s “Girl Crazy,” by George and Ira Gershwin, with a few more old songs thrown in. I think in tonight’s production I was most impressed by the three young men who sang close harmonies in several numbers. Great ears on those guys.
Honestly, to see what the faculty and staff production team did in less than six weeks with these high school kids is sobering. If you had blindfolded me, sat me down in the theatre, and told me I was in a professional production in a Broadway theatre, I would have believed you. Corson Auditorium’s 950 seats appeared to all be filled with Theatre Division students, faculty and staff. And to hear those kids, from 3rd grade through 12th grade, applaud and cheer and yell for their theatre colleagues absolutely warmed my heart. The calibre of performances these kids are exposed to is inspirational.
And here’s what Wikipedia has to say, when I checked it again tonight: “In August of 2015, High School Musical Theatre majors performed “Crazy For You” at the Interlochen Arts Camp.”
How honored I am to have been involved in the joy everywhere around me this summer.
Home to bed, as our open dress rehearsal and opening are both tomorrow.
And “Taps” tonight was a duo of clarinetists.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
The Phoenix Theatre, ready for opening.
[Photo credit: Danny Fender, Stage Manager Extraordinaire. Love him. Can’t wait to see where his career takes him.]
Oh, Thursday. (Written on Friday morning. Searching my brain to find good things to say about yesterday.)
Our group went to see “The Wendy: A Tale of Peter Pan.” This was the world premiere of an original work by Intermediate Repertory Theatre Director Scott Harman. Loved it. Loved how hard the kids worked, how perfectly they knew their lines, how they engaged and stayed in the moment. I loved seeing the “Proud Papa” look on Scott’s face when the show was over, and the smile on his face when I told him how much I enjoyed the show.
After about half an hour of last minute touch-ups and reminders to our cast, we broke for lunch and came back to get ready for our 2:00 Open Dress Rehearsal. I love each and every one of these kids. I don’t think any of them thinks, I’m just going to do a halfway job today. To me, to my perspective from my limited knowledge of theatre, they each did a great job. After notes from the director and music director, we broke for dinner. I ran back to my room and changed into concert blacks, and came back to review my music before our 7:00 start for opening night.
The thing that is the strangest in this performance is my invisibility. The audience sees Dr. Anne, but all they see of me is the back of my head. How strange to walk through the crowd afterwards and have no one unknown to me say, “Great job.”
There was an after-party, but I chose instead to commune with my pillow and my bed.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Another beautiful sky on my morning walk to breakfast.
And now it’s Friday morning and, after waking before 5:00 with a headache and mastering that after two hours, I’ve got to quickly review my notes from yesterday, get dressed, and head to the theatre. The best part of my morning is the knowledge that the Jazzman is on his way here. When I get out of my 10:00 a.m. performance, he’ll be waiting for me, will throw his arms around me and remind me that lots of people think I’m a good friend and a good pianist and much more competent that my life circumstances have led me to believe.
As I was preparing to shut down my phone before the show was to begin, I got a text from Jas that he had landed. Then at intermission, got messages that he had been to my room to drop his bag and was out walking the streets and alleys of Interlochen Center for the Arts. Joy filled my heart.
My contribution to the music for the show went better today than yesterday. Here’s hoping that tomorrow afternoon I’ll pick up the rest of the notes I dropped today.
Sleeping Bear Bay in Lake Michigan
And then I found my honey, changed to street clothes, and started my return to our real life. We went to Maddy’s for lunch, where my director and two of my kids were all sitting around tables with their respective friends and families. Then we headed to Empire to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes. As I told you on Sunday, a very strong storm blew through the area. The Dunes National Park area was hit hard. The scenic drive and the dune climb were both closed. We drove out to Glen Haven so I could dip my toes into Lake Michigan, then started the circle route. When we got to Glen Arbor, we noticed that most stores and restaurants were without electricity. The area reportedly suffered winds in excess of 100 mph, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many trees either down or dangerously leaning. Glen Haven is a cute little town, and I’d love to visit there again, when they have power.
We made a decision to try to get together with Leslie tonight, so I left the circle tour and headed back to Interlochen, while Jas slept in the passenger seat.
Got back to the dorm and Jas immediately laid down on the bed to nap. Within ten minutes, Thoughtless Nextdoor Neighbor came into his room and cranked up his electric guitar. I was sure it would wake Jas up, and I was looking forward to his saying, “Now I understand what you’ve been going through this summer.” Alas, he slept through the entire repertoire. And then Giggling Girlfriend came in. Ten or so minutes later, Jas woke. After listening to her giggling, he said he could never live with that next door. Vindicated!!!
And off we went to Höfbrau for dinner at the bar. Leslie dropped in after the High School Musical Theatre Workshop. And she brought me Leland Blue earrings from her afternoon explorations!!!
Started packing on Monday or so. Packed more items this afternoon as Jas napped, and started carrying things to the car as we left for dinner. By about 4:30 tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be on our way.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Our stage manager, the talented, skilled, and kind Danny Fender, making sure props are set before our final show.
Got up at 7:00. Showered and dressed and packed more things as Jas showered and dressed. Went to breakfast and ate with several of my friends. Quickly finished packing, then walked up to my parking lot and brought the car back to the dorm, and we loaded everything.
Went up to Upton-Morley Theatre and watching the Intermediate Musical Theatre Workshop performance. Loved it as much as I had three weeks ago. How do they make this happen in three weeks?!
Then to catch up with Jas, who had gone on a tour of the campus while I was watching the show, to lunch, where he met more of my regular lunch buddies, to the dorm to change into concert blacks, to Stone Center to turn in my room key, to the piano building to pick up my pay stubs, then to performance.
Costume Designer, Stage Manager, Director, Collaborative Pianist, Music Director, and Choreographer. Great team!
The kids did a great job. I did a great job. It’s done. I’m relieved. Enough said.
Said goodbye to my crew, posed for a couple of pictures, changed into traveling clothes, and drove off the campus at 4:04. Stopped in Flint at about 7:30 and drove down the street for a nice Italian dinner including a glass of wine.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Happy to be home!
Up, breakfasted, and on the road at 8:18. Stop for lunch at the rest stop, and arrive home at 1:15.
So greatful to be home!
If you aren’t on Facebook or don’t follow what I say there (ahem, a certain man who shares my life …), here are some of my posts for the same period as this blog post.
I’m doing a lot less schlepping ever since I realized I could use my car as a locker for my music backpack. (August 4, 6:31 p.m.)
In the interest of saying something positive, I’m loving hearing WYSO rehearse “Les Preludes” within hearing range of my dorm room. (August 4, 6:51 p.m.)
Sam Wilmott’s “Yo, Vikings,” in the hands of Dan Ryan and Leslie Williams, with Mike Clark on the piano great costumes and sets and stage management – what a show! Wish I could see it again – or see it for the first time without coughing and needing to leave the theatre! (August 4, 10:14 p.m.)
Hey, hey! A whole night’s sleep without waking up to cough!!! (August 5, 9:24 a.m.)
I have really enjoyed all my visits to Maddy’s this summer. There are times I just want to sit quietly, studying my music while I eat and not talking to anyone. Many thanks to the friendly staff who made the effort to remember my name and my favorite drink. — feeling sated at Maddy’s Tavern. (August 5, 12:53 p.m.)
And how about the bird that kept flying through the theatre tonight during “Crazy for You?” Was that three separate birds, or one making multiple trips? So lifelike! (AUgust 5, 10:42 p.m.)
My sweetheart got up at 3:00 a.m. to fly to Traverse City. Can you guess what he’s doing now after lunch at Maddy’s and a drive up the Leelanau Peninsula? Napping, of course. (August 7, 5:12 p.m.)
So glad nextdoor neighbor decided to crank up his electric guitar while Jas was trying to sleep. Not he can truly understand what my summer in Hemingway has been like. (August 7, 5:41 p.m.)
Almost halfway home. Checked into hotel. Will be asleep by 9:00 p.m. (August 8, 7:30 p.m.)
So I’m working on some new coping techniques: If you’re standing five feet away from me, in the middle of a room (or theatre) filled with much noise and/or music, and speaking sotto voce to me, I simply cannot hear you and I cannot read your lips. That’s just a fact. So instead of the criticism or correction you’re issuing, I’m just going to imagine you’re saying one of the following to me. “That was lovely.”, “You play so beautifully.”, “Keep up the good work.”, “That was a good choice of how to finger that run.”, or “We make a great team.” (August 8, 8:50 p.m.)
How did we deal with insomnia before we had smartphones? (August 9, 3:50 a.m.)
Dang! Wish I had discovered that mistake 10 rows ago! #Unknitting (Auguust 9, 10:41 a.m.)