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Archive for the ‘The Theatre’ Category

Much Ado About Much Ado!

Joe and I went to see a production of Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare in the Parking-Lot, sponsored by Arts Fifth, starring the incomparable Izzybella as Margaret! Okay, it starred Emmy Klein (Hero), Jordan Cole (Beatrice), Paul Logsdon (Claudio) and Joseph Aholt (Benedick) under the able direction of Shawn Gann. But if you didn’t think Izzybella could play a seductive sleazebag, you’d better think again. I’m just sayin’. 

The cast did a great job. Logsdon played it a little cheesily, but really, it’s very difficult to take Claudio seriously. Cole and Aholt played well off each other, particularly when they’re being set up to fall in love by the conspirators. Aholt’s migration along the bottom of the stage was nearly as delicious as Cole’s wide-eyed shock at hearing that Beatrice does not deserve such a good man as Benedick. Dogberry and Verges were well-played by Patrick Kegley and Matthew Duecy. I nearly laughed myself into hiccups at their antics, stopping just in time. (When I get hiccups, they echo. They can also be heard two counties over. I think that would have been disruptive for the actors and the audience.)

The person who really stole the show, though, was Aja Jones as Don John. She startled her castmates and delighted the audience by donning an accent nearly as outrageous as her huge black moustache.  It got to the point that all she had to do was enter to get the audience laughing.

All in all, it was a good show. If you’re in the DFW area, you’ll want to go see this one. Arts Fifth, Fifth Avenue at Allen in Fort Worth. It runs again this weekend–10/17, 10/18, and 10/19 at 8 p.m. Admission is free; concessions will be sold during intermission.

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This weekend I saw one play and two movies, one of which was at the theatre and the other of which was at home on DVD.

First the play: Annie Get Your Gun, at Theatre Arlington. Izzy kept telling me, over and over and over, that she has a girl crush on Jenny Thurman, who stars as Annie Oakley. And I can definitely see why. Thurman has character in spades, and a gorgeous singing voice that can go from husky to pure to sexy, and that’s just in one song. I was crushing on Jim Johnson as the appealing Frank Butler. If you’re in the DFW area, you really should call for reservations and go see this play. I sent Joe to go on Saturday night, and he liked it as much as Izzy and I did.

Then the theatre movie: Tropic Thunder.  This movie is just wrong in so many ways. More than once I caught myself laughing at something just before telling myself that I can’t believe I was laughing at that. It pokes a LOT of fun at actors, and Tom Cruise does a delicious job of poking fun at himself.  Unless you have an exceptionally strong stomach, this isn’t an eating movie. So if you just have to have popcorn with your movie, you might want to get there early enough that you’ve got time to eat popcorn during the pre-movie show, the ads, and the trailers. I’m just sayin’.

Then the DVD movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Until Elle told me she hadn’t seen it, I had pretty much assumed everyone had seen it. So I made her watch it. She didn’t complain. Too much. 😀

Okay, next, I also did some reading.  I had some brain candy in the form of two Body of Evidence books by Christopher Golden (Head Games and Skin Deep).  It’s an entertaining series, and I enjoyed them. I’m also 2/3’s of the way through Charlatan: America’s most dangerous huckster, the man who pursued him, and the age of flimflam. Gentlemen, is your manhood failing you? Why not get a pair of goat testicles implanted? You think I’m joking, don’t you? Well, for some years in the early part of the 20th century, a man styling himself Dr. Brinkley did just that, and got fantastically wealthy by doing so. He was pursued by Dr. Fishbein. I can’t tell you what happened in the end, because, as I said, I’m 2/3’s of the way through the book. It’s a fascinating read, though, and I’m planning to finish it tonight. I also started reading Atonement, as I liked the movie so much. However, I’m not a fan of McEwan’s writing style. I sort of doubt I’ll finish that one. And the best book I’ve read this weekend was Tweak (growing up on methamphetamines) by Nic Sheff.  It’s a painstakingly honest memoir detailing his relapse after a year of sobriety, and then in and out of sobriety. It’s a gut-wrenchingly good book.

How was y’all’s weekend?

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Las Mujeres de Juarez

Here are a few photos from Las Mujeres de Juarez. To see more, click on the link for Las Mujeres de Juarez, on the right; more photos are under the link for show pix.  Looking at the photos makes me wish that I could have seen the play from the audience’s perspective. This first photo, especially, just creeps me out, and that’s the scene that Soleil and I wrote together!

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This is the Audacious Mr. O. and L-squared. 

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This is me with my sister Izzybella; in the story we’re telling here, we are scaring away the monsters in the closet.

 

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This is Vanessa, me, and L-squared, with M. on the floor at our feet.

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The show’s over. For now, at least. It’s been something. I’m sort of at a loss for words. I say that, and yet I know that I’m going to find plenty as I try to express my feelings.

I’ve met the most amazing people, and made some friends I hope will be my friends forever. V., you’re going off to Ohio to grad school. You’re leaving us for 3 years, and when you come home for holidays you’ll teach us new things, and of course we’ll road trip. And yes, we’ll get the play written and you’ll be the awesomest zombie ever! Yeah! Thank you for showing me that I had it within me to be Ramona all along. I know that I’m only a beginner at this, and knowing how much I’ve already learned, I also know that you can teach me so much more. I’m going to miss you like crazy. I can’t wait to see your crazy green and purple house.  Soleil, you’re a true friend. I love you with all my heart, and we’re going to spend lots o’ time together. I love talking books, and seeing movies and eating good bread and butter and fromage and hanging out and learning from you, and just spending time with you. I can’t wait for our banned book party! Everybody else–Izzybella, L-squared, D.O., D., O., M., G., K., C.A.–it’s just been the most amazing journey. I’ve laughed with you, and I’ve cried with you. We’ve stepped on each other’s toes–sometimes literally–and seen what seemed like everything going wrong, and then watched as somehow, miraculously, everything seemed to go right.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching. I plan to spend a lot more time researching. I’m not dropping my interest in Las Mujeres de Juarez just because the show is over, for now. I am confident that we’ll be able to take it to New York next summer. And when we go, I want to have the rest of the names to put on the crosses. I want to give voices, and names, to the rest of the women and girls whose lives were so cruelly ripped away from them.  I’m going to keep writing letters. I’m going to keep telling people what’s happening down there. I’m going to keep pleading for change. Because something has to change.

Today my mother said something really profound. So many times we see something that strikes us as unjust, and we say to ourselves that we can do nothing to effect any change because we are just one person. But one person multiplied can do great things. V. and Soleil saw something, and they decided to do something about it. They made it part of the MoMentuM season this year. I got involved when they so graciously invited me to be part of the MoMentuM EnsEmblE (THANK YOU!!!!) and I got to research and write and act.

Together we told the story to 8 audiences. The people in those 8 audiences were touched. I know they were. Because I got to walk slowly through those 8 audiences and look them in their faces, and talk to them. I saw the tears stand in their eyes, and slide down their cheeks. I saw the rapt looks on their faces as I addressed them in the person of Ramona, and tell them what has been happening in Juarez. I told them how Ramona has fought for change, for justice, for help, and how we, the United States, have not helped. I saw them.

And you told stories too. You gave voices to the voices that have been silenced.

And all of those people, all those audiences, they were touched and they’re going to talk about it. They’re going to tell people what they saw. And they might write letters, and they might do something.  They gave generously from their hearts, and we were able to raise a respectable amount of money for Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa, the organization that we have been working with in Juarez.

And even if beyond the financial assistance to Nuestras Hijas, the only long-lasting change we are able to affect is the one that has happened within ourselves, it is a good change. It is a good thing for a man or a woman to be able to change his or her heart. I know that I am a better woman for having done this project.

I know that I have written in this blog before about my sister A. I’ve talked a little about her death. And I’ve talked about how I’ve drawn from her experiences as I do another piece in the show, Yvonne. Last night, Friday, when I asked for her help, she briefly came, told me I didn’t need her help, and left. You know what? She was right. I didn’t need her help. When I went backstage, our other sister, Izzybella, didn’t know that A. hadn’t been with me. I felt good about that. I realized that in this short period of time I truly have grown as an actor.

Tonight when I was getting ready to go onstage and do Ramona’s piece, I asked Ramona’s daughter Sylvia to be with me. Not to help me, just to be there. She was. I felt that she was very grateful that we are doing this work, telling these stories, trying to make a difference.

And as the show came to a close, and the cast was congregated in the hall backstage waiting for the slideshow to be over, I think we all allowed ourselves to feel. And as we carried our roses out and lay them at the bases of the pink crosses bearing the names of more than 200 women and girls who have been killed, the tears pouring down our faces were tears of joy and sorrow. Joy that we were together. Joy that we have survived this epic adventure. Joy for the love that we share. Joy that we achieved our goal to tell these stories. Sorrow for the lives that were cruelly and brutally ripped away from their owners. Sorrow for the families that were left behind and forced to deal with a corrupt and inhumane government while at the same time coping with such horrendous losses. Sorrow that we no longer get to spend long, tiring hours with our best friends every night.

Mixed emotions? You’d better believe it.

And I loved every minute of it, even the ones that hurt like hell.

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Monday, Monday

Well, what to say. It’s Monday. That means we’re halfway through the run. We had a great audience most of the time, but I will admit to being a little, um, kerbobbled at doing a show for one person at Saturday’s  matinee. Not that I objected to doing a show for one, not at all. But she kept checking her watch during the performance, and as soon as the show was over, she took off like a bat out of hell.

I slept as late as I could on Saturday, and much of the day on Sunday. It’s going to take a lot more sleep to catch me, up, though, apparently, because I’m walking around like a zombie today. Of course, I was coughing up a lung and a half last night, and couldn’t sleep much. Joe fed me some Nyquil (ugh) and some herbal tea at some point during the night, after which the coughing let up and I was finally able to rest a little bit. I’m glad he was home. I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing that myself. Too angry and frustrated that I finally had a night off and couldn’t do anything but cough, I guess.

MoMentuM’s end-of-season banquet was yesterday evening. V. and S. did a hilarious skit in which they made fun of everyone, including themselves. I was mocked for twitching when people use the word “quote” when they mean “quotation.” I admit that it drives me a little bonkers. Okay, okay, it drives me a lot bonkers. And I was officially inducted into the EnsEmblE, along with Danielle. It is truly a privilege to be associated with these great people. I love them, and we have a lot of fun together. I’ve learned a lot, have grown a lot, and am really looking forward to whatever comes next.

The first part of this week should be pretty tame. Work, of course–and month-end (which actually hits me the first day of the month)–and cleaning house, getting ready for Mom’s visit. Running lines to make sure I don’t forget everything by Thursday. I think Joe’s heading back out of town on Wednesday for a few days. Mom comes on Thursday; the play starts back up on Thursday; we have a show on Friday; and two on Saturday. Liz and Mom are heading out of town on Sunday, and I’ll probably sleep all day on Sunday.

I sound boring, don’t I? I’m just so worn out it’s hard to be entertaining.

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Well, since you asked, about now the happiest dog in the world is doing back flips in my house.  Joe’s home for a few days, and he came here from the airport to get my car and go home. I just know the two of them are hugging and kissing each other, and Molly probably peed herself, and she’s doing backflips, and they’re extremely happy.

The show got a fantastic review. You can go read it here if you like. We’re all excited and pleased. Opening night went really well. Of course, there was the rain that blew in right after we got all the lobby stuff set up outside, so we had to bring it all back in. (Our space is a very small area, and our lobby is actually outside.) And the corrections I made to our PowerPoint slide show didn’t take for some reason, even though I hit the Save button. But we had a lot of energy, and a very receptive audience. Everyone did a beautiful job.

I’m sooooooooooooooo tired today. Thank goodness it’s Friday! I’m not going to the after-show festivities tonight; I might be tempted to if Joe weren’t home. But I wanna go home and (a) see my hunney some more and (b) sleep. And I can sleep in tomorrow morning. Call is for noon, so even though I can’t sleep as much as I’d like, I do get to sleep quite a bit later than usual.

Hey, if you’ve got some white light or positive energy to spare, please send some Chicory’s way. She needs it. Some of the entries she’s posted lately have just brought nightmarish memories back to me, and make my heart hurt for her. And I love my Chicory and don’t want her to hurt.

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Opening Night!

Did you know it’s possible to fall asleep while you’re preparing a report? It is! I know because in the middle of doing a sort on a section of a report, I fell asleep and didn’t know it until my head jerked and I woke up and realized that instead of sorting that section, I had instead replaced the heading for one part of that section with a “Y.” But my head jerked and I woke up, so I only slept for a second or three.

We ran the whole show twice last night, got a lot of kinks ironed out. And the second time I made it all the way through my Ramona piece without freezing up or missing any lines. Yeah! I knew I could do it! Well, technically, I didn’t know I could do it, but I did know I knew all those dadblasted lines, so I wanted to prove that part at least. Anyway, we didn’t get out of there until 11:30 last night, which meant I didn’t get home until shortly after midnight, which meant I didn’t get to sleep until after 1. Which means I’m good and tired today. Again. Major sleep deficit going on here. By the time Saturday morning rolls around, at which time I can sleep in at least a little bit, I’ll be running purely on sugar, caffeine, and adrenaline. Fortunately, we only have to run the show once each night; rehearsals are over; I can sleep all day on Sunday until time to get ready for the banquet. I do have to do a bit of housecleaning next week to finish getting ready for Mom’s visit, but because I really was trying to get it done before Joe got home (he’s coming tomorrow), I’ve got a head start so it won’t be so awful.

The show opens tonight at 8. The set is incredible.  Everyone’s done such a great job, and all the pieces have come together just beautifully. And after last night, I’m even feeling confident about Ramona. So tell me to break something, and if I manage to stay awake long enough tomorrow, I’ll let you know how it went.

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