well, that was a lost week. CB brought a cold to rehearsal a couple of weeks ago, and gave me some of the germs. :(

Saturday was OneAct Regionals (competitive theater), hosted at CHS. DB got offered an emcee job, rather than the backstage/sound he was expecting(*). I emailed early in the week, asking if KA (who was running the site) needed any help, and zie did -- zie needed a non-Theater Guild/Theater Booster adult to tabulate scores. KA couldn't do it, as zie had a team in the competition, and it looks sketchy to have a parent do it. KA said zie was wracking her brain trying to figure something out until I emailed. (MSBOA gets around this by supplying a tabulator, but MIFA either hasn't thought of that or doesn't have the money.) It was a pretty easy gig -- show up around noon, tabulate four flights of scores and awards, then go home. I snuck out during a show, and came home to get some actual food for KA, my reading glasses, and to feed the fish.

KA is vegetarian, and whoever set up the volunteer/worker menu either neglected to request vegetarian food, or whoever was supposed to bring it didn't, so zie was eating plain bagels and popcorn. I was a little annoyed that there wasn't any food for zir -- it's not a secret or new (KA's been at CHS for four years now), and it's really a bad idea to let the site boss get hungry. I had a bowl of rice/beans/corn in the fridge, and another bowl of green salad, which solved the problem of a hungry KA very well.

After making MIFA change the rules a couple of years ago, CHS is going to State competition! (They really should have gone a couple of years ago, but didn't make it out of Regionals, and the other teams at Regionals raised a stink about *that*, hence the rules change.) It's been 10 years since a CHS team made it to State, so that's very exciting.

I'd go and see them at State (didn't get to see them at Regionals because the room was small and I got there late), but it's next weekend, and I'm planning on being at Capricon. It's one thing to miss Capricon because I've got a kid in competition....

DB may or may not come to Chicago -- he's contemplating going to State and seeing the other shows. (State is in Charlotte, which is the closest it's been other than when Chelsea hosts.)

* he says he just does his impression of jebra as "Mr FCB Announcer Guy"; his boss says that he's got lots of people to run sound, but only a couple who can emcee OneAct, and with two stage tracks running.....
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DaBoy graduated from high school yesterday. It was a typical high school graduation. The combined bands & orchestras (minus the seniors) played the march from Pomp & Circumstance 25 times -- they play 24 measures over and over so all the seniors process to the recognisable part of it. (The record was 38, the year before SR graduated. When she graduated, they only played it 37 times, despite her class having about 10-15 more students --there were enough musicians in her class that they processed as quickly as they could* to minimise the number of repeats.) The class flower was snapdragon, and every senior had a spear of snapdragon to carry.

At the Theatre Banquet on Thursday, DB got "Guildee of the Year". The producers and directors of all three plays got together and nominated their top two Guildees for each show, and when he was nominated by all of them.... He also earned a varsity letter for theater (to go with his band letter). DB was barely at the banquet -- he showed up long enough to do a scene from Much Ado and grab some food, and then went back to work on the Ballet Chelsea recital.

* aka 'how fast can we walk before the guides tell us to slow down'
It started raining around midnight. Not raining very hard, but I don't think it's stopped for more than a few minutes since it started. And until yesterday, it was too cold for me to do much work in the garden, especially since my knee is still being annoyed (it's better though -- much as I dislike wearing the brace, it cannot be denied that it helps). Tomorrow, there is a gig scheduled, so I won't be able to work in the garden then, either -- and if there is no gig, it'll be raining.

I worked strike on Monday, and went straight from there to FCB rehearsal. When I got to rehearsal, I realised that I had a pocket full of screws that I had taken out of the set, and a square bit. Ooops. I don't realise how much work I do on a HS show is until it's over, and it takes me the better part of a week to catch up and recover.

The hummingbirds are back. I hadn't set out the feeder in the front yard, and SR said that they were looking for it one day last week. So I put it out, and within a few hours there were birds at it. Yesterday, she and I watched a goldfinch tear apart a dandelion head for the seeds.

And STRIKE!

May. 11th, 2015 07:28 am
jennlk: (Masks)
(well, that was annoying. wrote up an entry, went to preview it and it went away. So I get to retype. whee.)

Yay! DB's last show is over. (Well, there's still a concert and a parade, but those won't require as much familial support. There's also a recording trip to Lansing with the Symphony -- the orchestra teacher is the subject of some local PBS show, and there've been camerapeeps running around all year.) The show went well -- no major trainwrecks, although there was a fair bit of people forgetting lines or throwing them in out of order, but not bad enough to throw actors out of the scene entirely. The kids, in general, spoke too quickly for the unmiked house, but were generally intelligible. DB and AT (as leads) did well, although they could have slowed down even more. Dogberry was quite intelligible, but he's such a doofus that it didn't really matter. As is usual for a Shakespearian comedy, there's a lot of physical humor, and DB is quite good at that. The watchmen got lots of laughs as they jockeyed for position.

The costume worked out pretty well, I think:

although I probably could have made a bigger size. The capelet really emphasized some of the stompy/swirly bits in the next scene.

This week, I get to catch up on all the things that l had to let slide while I was busy with theater. yay. Lots of weeding to do (the east garden is overrun with dandelions :( ). But not until tomorrow -- today it's foggy and still chilly, and I do have rehearsal tonight. And the first day of strike this afternoon -- I'll take in the leftover snacks/water from GreenRoom, and a hammer, and help with that.
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So there's a masquerade dance in the spring show (Much Ado About Nothing), and the director wants "animal costumes". DB decided he wanted to be a crow. You'd think there'd be black things that would work somewhere in the three theater's worth of costume rooms in town. You'd be wrong. And there's certainly *not* a good bird mask (or even a bad one we could paint). The intarwebz and my workroom to the rescue -- the mask came from a MardiGras store in Louisiana; and I dug around in the pattern stash and found a coat pattern that's almost exactly what he'd envisioned. We're leaving off the capelet, and using this one instead. And a hood from here. Everything's cut out, now I just have to put it together. Just, she says.

And the gardens need a lot of attention, and I just can't do it all. So the weeds get a reprieve. Next week! Except that next week is show week, with rehearsals running late and thus 'feed the cast'; and I'm scheduled to work the election on Tuesday. Come to think of it, I've not gotten my absentee ballot -- I know I turned the application in. I should contact them.

Last night was the showcase Concerto Concert, featuring members of the senior class. DB did not put together a tuba concerto, but he did play in the accompanying symphony (which puts him one up on SR, who never did. Then again, not a lot of demand for saxophone in the orchestral tradition>). There's almost always a couple of kids who are tops in the state on their instruments, and it's always a pleasure to hear them.

The Anna-cat seems to have settled in elsewhere (earlier she was "helping" me with newsletter layout), so maybe I can go sew now.
FCB stage rehearsal Friday evening, concert Sunday. The concert went pretty well, I thought. It was quick -- I think we would have been out of there in just over an hour if we hadn't had to do a complete stage reset at intermission. It was a collage concert, so the first half was small ensembles, and then the full band came on and did a mini-concert (fanfare, tricky piece, march, orchestral transcription). Then there was a whole band picture after, and then we struck the stage *and* organised the music folders. So I still didn't get home until 17:30. Tonight we get new music. For a concert in four rehearsals (no rehearsal on Easter Monday, because no rehearsal space).

DB's collage concert is this Saturday. The pictures J took at last year's concert are being used in the PR for this one (with permission, and credit in cases where the publication gives it). Mum was planning on coming to this one, but instead is in FL, dealing with AJ's estate. DB did get Benedick for Much Ado About Nothing-- while he menaces well, KA didn't have a lot of realistic choices for the lead. And there are other ways to do menacing than looming over people.

In yard/garden news, the snow is melting, and exposing a lot of birdseed hulls. A couple of days ago, there were fresh bloodstains on the snow. I don't know if a squirrel squabble got vicious or if it was a hawk strike -- there were no feathers, but the blood was still bright red.
State One Act Finals was Friday and Saturday. There were 13 teams competing, with Chelsea hosting. Eight shows on Friday, six (counting the Black Box demo) on Saturday and the awards ceremony. Two very long days, with "strike the school" on tap for the Chelsea team afterwards.

Chelsea did their show as the entertainment between the last show and the awards ceremony (while the judges were tabulating all the scores and ranking the teams and making decisions on individual awards). They were On. They got a standing ovation from a full house. (hah! so much for that III at Regionals!) The tournament director did a bit of a spiel before they started, about how MIFA was contemplating changing their categories to make it easier for new programs to be competitive, and doing Mainstage (traditional theater, with elaborate costumes and props and sets and sound) and Black Box (no scenery, minimal costuming and props and sound) tracks. He went on to say that it was a difference much easier to see than to explain, and here's a fine example of a Black Box show from this year's competition.

[There were, of course, complications, mostly due to CHS not actually running the entire show at any time last week because they were setting up for hosting the festival. The weapons had gone back to whichever of the props rooms (there are at least six in town, between CHS, CAP, & the Purple Rose all having multiple spaces) they'd been borrowed from, and nobody realised it until CHS went to warmup. Fortunately, somebody knew which space they were in and who had access to it, so it was a matter of 20 minutes to get them to the HS. DB's jacket was hanging in the front closet, so he borrowed a leather jacket from somebody (it may have been from the costume room). One of the girls spaced on the warmup time and had to be tracked down.]

I ran the volunteer room and fed 35-40 kids and adults second breakfast-lunch-dinner for two days. We had a kettle, a toaster, and multiple stoves and refrigerators (we were in the Home Ec room). I was very nearly the last person out of the building.

In other news, we did not quite get drifted in -- I did plow a little snow with the van on my way out Saturday morning, and the driveway will probably need to be shoveled before J gets home in my lower car, but the wind changed Saturday evening so it's blowing down the driveway, not across. It is, however, currently -12F in the backyard before the windchill, so I will wait for it to warm up a bit before shoveling.
or something like that....

I have been put in charge of the volunteer room at State OneAct competition. whee? Again, someone else (also competent) put together the sign up sheet, but she's assistant site manager, and will have a bazillion other things to do this weekend. So I will be essentially be doing a Green Room on a convention weekend.

In other theater news, CHS has been officially asked to do their show as an exhibition. Apparently (probably due to comments/complaints from schools without lots of money and man-hours to throw at extravagant sets/costuming/makeup) MIFA is considering adding a separate category for Black Box (minimal set) shows. So they get to do their show at State anyway, for *everyone* to see, not just the ensembles that aren't in warmup or critique. (Maybe enough people will be "And they got a III? Wow. This system is broken." that something will happen. One can hope.)
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So the CHS OneAct team trundled off to the MIFA Saginaw Valley region yesterday. Where they got a III, which indicates that the judges disliked their show so much that they had nothing good to say about it. The other competitors (and their coaches/directors and the folks running the site) thought that The Firecracker Incident was the second or third best show on the day, and the show that won probably didn't even deserve a I. But the judges there don't like contemporary shows written as one acts. They want traditional shows edited down from longer plays with extravagant sets and costumes. An uneven show based on Shakespeare and one poorly edited from a "classic" play (to the extent that if you didn't know the original show you were confused), both with full sets and showy costumes and sets and makeup, came in ahead of the two contemporary shows with minimalist sets and makeup (and great acting), despite most of the observers thinking otherwise.

One of the judges decided from the first minute of the CHS show that it was horrible because the fight scene (which s/he didn't understand the point of*) was "unsafe" (the fight choreographer from The Purple Rose did it). They got downgraded for "volume", because they don't travel with a sound system, which is apparently "necessary" in HS theater these days. The director's partner (also a theater professional), acting as the director on this trip because she had a paying gig, actually walked out of the critique after about 10 minutes of valid critique, because the judges were getting into stupid stuff that had more to do with their distaste for contemporary theater than how the show could have been better. Which may have torpedoed Chelsea's chances for the next five years, but he felt it was worth it. At least some of the kids wished they could have done the same.

At least no-one is thinking "what could I have done better?" -- they're just upset with the judges.

There is a movement afoot (spearheaded by the site head at Regionals, who thinks that CHS got shafted) to have CHS do their show as an exhibition at State OneAct, as the event will be held at CHS, and there is a sizable gap in the schedule between the last show and the awards ceremony which would be a good time to do it.

And MIFA wonders why their membership is shrinking.

*While the narrator was talking about playing World of Warcraft, there was a raiding party moving across the stage.

Theater!

Jan. 25th, 2015 08:51 am
jennlk: (Masks)
Thursday night was the public preview performance of The Firecracker Incident. It went pretty well, I thought.

Yesterday was the District competition. Apparently, it went *really* well -- they came in first. The entire cast got Superior Acting awards and the entire crew got Superior Presentation, as well as awards for Props and Lighting. (It does rather sound like the judges hand out Superior awards like candy, but they really don't.) Apparently, working with a professional director (on loan from The Purple Rose) makes a big difference.

I drove and ran the feeding tables, so I was gone all day. And then I get home and there's a note from the choir director "am sick; no choir practice (do the piece we rehearsed last week); Jenn, can you play offertory?" I'm thinking that we may skip the Anthem altogether, as the "choir" may be only three people, and I'm not really a soloist. We shall see.

The birds did not get fed yesterday, so I need to do that now. the squirrels have figured out how to pull the seed bell down off the hook and pry at the seeds. They can't get the cage open, but they do manage to dig at the seed cake inside. I really don't know what to do about that. Maybe a pole with a squirrel baffle?
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Which is to say, this is the week that I supervise the feeding of the horde. Someone else built the menu and the signup sheets, I just show up everyday with paper & plastic goods and set out/clean up the meals. And fill in the gaps -- today I threw together taco fillings, both meat and bean, on 2 hours notice; yesterday I did vegetarian soup. The first round of OneAct competitive theater is Saturday (at Novi Middle School, iirc. show up if you're in the area), and they're getting down to the wire. I still haven't seen any of the show, but tomorrow is the public performance, so I'll see it then. I'll probably see it on Saturday, too -- it's considered bad form to miss your own school's performance (last year, I wound up ushering. I think I may avoid that this year). I will be driving, and supervising the feeding of the horde while there. OTOH, I don't think I need to remain onsite the entire day, and there will be places to go, unlike last year at Olivet. The list of things to bring on Saturday is getting quite long. The current plan is that it will all fit in the trunk of the car (I don't want to take the van), so I can't add too much more. (note: get the cooler down and wash it! before Saturday am.)

Monday was the article deadline for two of the newsletters that I edit, so I've been doing layout for the last couple of days. And checking with managing editors to make sure they've forwarded me everything. One hadn't, and that really messed with the layout. sigh.
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Run is over.

Nov. 17th, 2014 09:11 am
jennlk: (Masks)
I hear it was a success. It looked pretty good from the front, and sounded pretty good backstage. DB was a suitably bad boy -- many people told him during the Meet&Greet that they wanted to punch him, to which his response was "good. then I did it right." The girls (Rusty, WendyJo, & Urleen) were great -- their "Somebody's Eyes" was spooky, and the stage direction only emphasised that (the stage musical version, not the Karla Bonoff one). (I did green room all week, and did indeed do set work on Friday-- we did Ariel's "poetry wall" with Sharpies.) I still haven't figured out why Ren & Ariel had such a problem with "Almost Paradise", but DB tells me that they were shaky in rehearsals, and it got worse when they got pit and mikes -- they did fine on their duets with others, so I dunno. The usual stage mishaps were a little worse than usual -- the main curtain ripped as they were closing it for intermission at the first show, the hard drive in the light board died halfway through the second show (lighting designer/tech says that his inner monologue during the second act was "IpeIeeeeIpeEeeeekEeeeiee"), and the piano player and one of the followspot operators missed Sunday's show. DB tells me that he will be on stage for OneAct, one way or another, and Chelsea is hosting State OneAct, so I will not be at any of the January/February cons. The life of a stage mom.

So now I get something resembling my life back (well, after strike today and maybe tomorrow). But, of course, we're heading into holiday season, so I have plenty of things to do. Bell Choir on Sunday, "cello" part next Sunday, Christmas music to work on. And the garden is a mess -- when it wasn't actually raining in the last two weeks, I didn't have time, and now that I have time (FSVO), it's frozen (and snowing, and unlikely to get above freezing before the weekend). I need to water the pond before it hard freezes tonight, and put out the heated birdbath. And do laundry, and put away things I didn't put away last week. And run a couple of errands, and be to school at 3pm for strike.

(no subject)

Nov. 18th, 2013 02:15 pm
jennlk: (Masks)
Show week is over. Mostly -- there's still strike to be done, but as the power is out in town and there is no school, that will be done tomorrow. It was a good show -- lots of people like Guys and Dolls anyway, and it's a fun show to do. I heard lots of compliments, many from people like my mother who are not inclined to say nice things just because they know people in the show. (My mother is of the type who never gives unwarranted comments, positive or negative.) DB was a hit. :) Benny and Nicely-Nicely had great on-stage rapport -- Nicely's mom claims that they played together at school when they were little, but neither of them remembers that. Adelaide and Nathan were both great -- Adelaide has a great voice, and AR is a sweet kid in general -- her mom says that as soon as the announcement was made she started working on her accent. She really wanted to be Adelaide. Sky and Sarah was the hardest to believe, but I don't know how much of that was due to the fact that I have a hard time with the pairing as written and how much was due to on-stage rapport.... DB has many of the parents thinking he's a sweet kid. He claims he's just lulling everyone into a sense of complacency before he goes on his crime spree.

I spent much of last week at the school being useful. I sewed bows and rosettes onto Hot Box girl costumes, supervised the feeding of the masses, worked on scenery, and wrangled props. In the truest nature of showbiz, I was painting a flat at 4:30 Friday for a 7pm curtain. I came home for dinner, and went back to the show at 6, and RG and I slid the flat into position at 6:15. I worked backstage for the first two shows, and went to Sunday's show with Mum.

Now it's on to Christmas stuff. FCB concert is December 15, DB's is that same week, there's a parade on December 7, and the pageant at church starts full rehearsals on Wednesday. No rest for the wicked, as they say at the mission.

(That's amusing. "Nicely-Nicely" is in the spell checker, but "Nicely's" isn't -- I guess it's not supposed to be a name.)

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