Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is it crazy in here or is it just me?

If you've ever been in theater, you know the point at which you feel you've completely lost your mind. You don't have time for lunch, you accidentally eposit a facial tissue into your checking account, you call your boss "sweetheart"...that time is called TECH WEEK.

In the last two days I have done 13 hours of rehearsal. More or less. Two days, 13 hours, and this is the weekend. The resting time. I've just come off of a week of rehearsals and next week is a week of dress rehearsals. I have blisters beneath my pinky toes, my foot is dyed red from my stockings, my quadriceps are burning from the stairs. My back muscles are sore. My arms hurt to reach above my head, and I haven't stopped being hungry for 3 days.

In addition to this, I come home to a baby who thinks, "WHERE ON EARTH HAVE YOU BEEN? I NEED TO SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOU." Last night I fell asleep 3 times while watching "baby tv" (this is a generic term I now use for any television designed for children under 5, and if you're an insomniac, I highly recommend it). During the first "catnap" baby S got up, emptied a vase of flowers onto the dining room table, creating a lake of water. She put napkins, toys, candy and the phone into the lake, crushed the flowers in her hand and spread them all over the room, and somehow destroyed all of the paper plates.

So I attempted to stay awake with her tonight, and did much better. I can't believe I taught for 90 minutes after coming home from a 5 1/2 hour rehearsal, but somehow, I was even perky. Oh yeah, you heard me FRIGGIN perky for the lessons.

I must finish this blog by telling the story of what happened Thursday morning.
Around 11:30am I was cleaning the house and getting myself read to go teach at the high school. The baby was relatively quiet.

Suddenly, I heard a knock at the door. The dogs went insane. I answered, and there was a policeman, smiling. (You never really want to see a policeman at your door unless you were expecting one). Anyhoo, he says, "Is everything ok?" and I say, "um...yes?" and he says "Well, we received a 9-1-1 call" and I immediately knew the source of said call. I said, "I'm so sorry. I have a one year old". He smiled and encouraged me to keep her away from the phone. I remembered that my husband sits next to a police scanner all morning, and immediately checked my cellphone. 5 missed calls.

I called hubby and said, "yes, I know why you're calling. Everything's fine, I'm putting the phone away." and he just responded by saying, "i was hoping that was the case..."

I'd like to offer my transcription of the 9-1-1 call.

"Hello, 911, what's your emergency?"
"HI!"
"Hello--do you have an emergency?"
"HI!"
"Is this a child? Can you get your mommy?"
"NO"
"Hello?"
"No. GINGY. NO."
"We are calling in your emergency..."
"NO NO NO. BYE BYE."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Schoolgirl Crush


Is it possible to have a crush on a show? Today after leaving a meeting downtown I drove past the theater where I'll be singing Sweeney Todd in about two weeks, and my heart skipped a beat. For a second, I remembered being 14 and having a hopeless crush on some boy in school, waiting to see him come out of his house in the morning.

At the beginning of rehearsals for this show, I feel calm, almost sleepy. It's not about being exhausted (although I do feel exahusted with this insane schedule and my "spirited" toddler to chase after). Instead, it's like all of my energy is coming in tight, storing inside me, like the focus of slowly checking your makeup before a first date. During the rehearsal I await the feeling of Mrs. Lovett--I love these brief moments when she actually kind of touches me. Sure, a big part of this is memorization, and counting 6/4 against 5/8 and trying to do a consistent accent and sing well, and all of that is good. But the real thrill is the second where I am no longer myself as much as I am the likeable liar, the bubbly murderer, the strangely deluded piemaker.

It's not quite love--certainly isn't full of acceptance and peace, but it's definitely the other part, wanting to prove myself, wanting to take risks, wanting the show's approval, feeling like I'll make the decision to be with the show over almost anything else.

And when I leave, when I drive home, the radio is silent, the night seems alive. I am exhausted, and smiling.


This is not my first crush. I once had a crush on Cosi Fan Tutte, although I've never liked seeing it. I sang Dorabella, and felt that character take me over..painting my toenails pink and feeling more naive than I really am. I once had a crush on the Pirates of Penzance, being half woman and half pirate, and feeling naked without my pirate boots.

The first time I wanted to find someone to love I was almost 30. In fact, I remember thinking for years that I wanted maybe a boyfriend, or just a dog. I have watched just about everyone in my life long for passion and companionship when all I wanted to do was have another show crush.

The show would end, and I'd come home a little lonely, a little depressed. I'll look immediately for the next one. I'm already planning an audition before February's out. Sometimes I wonder if it's a curse or a blessing to know exactly what makes you light up.

I'll miss Mrs. Lovett, and thank God will come home to hubby and Baby S. 12 years into this, I have figured out the crush certainly wasn't enough.

But damn, it's good while it's happening.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Owning It

I have been so happy the last few days. I went to sleep smiling last night. Valentine's day was nice, although I got nothing for hubby besides a "good time" he seemed pretty happy with that gift. Since then I've gotten him a little half-price candy. What else would he expect from his frugal wife?

I am happy mostly because I am beginning to "own" the character of Mrs. Lovett. I am still not sure, there are holes in the show, and memorization is a PAIN IN THE BUTT for this show. Wow! First time I've ever done a show where I couldn't memorize in a week. Of course, it's also the first show I've done where I scarcely have a minute without a baby. "Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama...mama mama" WHAT? That's a big part of my day.

There are three parts of a role (in my opinion)
Learning it
Experimenting with it
Owning it

The learning in this show has been so tough that it took me a while to get to stage two, but now I actually tremble a little before scenes. I feel nervous, excited, and I want to experiment. I want to find what the boundaries are. Occasionally now, I am starting to get the feeling of her, the stuff that works. I am starting to get a little bit of ownership....ahhhhh....and this is probably my favorite part.

Although I probably love the whole thing. Who wouldn't love this? It's better than cake, it is.

I am still flubbing lines, forgetting blocking, and messing up the music, but I am starting to get a feel for the part that I will desperately miss when the show is over!

I kissed a co-star with cigarette breath last night and drove home wanting to smoke a cigarette. Does that seem strange? I suppose it would considering I've never smoked. But I think it was the moment, the excitement. I was going a little nuts with the part, enjoying myself, and the fun of still tasting the cigarette kiss in the car might have been my lingering joy too.

When I told hubby this he was quite confused. But still happy for me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Musing

If you haven't been through a midwest winter, you don't know winter.

Seriously, I have lived everywhere, and I say this with great confidence. I remember the first year that I lived in NYC we had a "record cold" winter....in fact, colder than it had been in apparently 50 years. But I still don't think it compares with the burning, stinging, 15 below nights of Iowa.

I guess it wouldn't be too terrible, if it didn't last forever and fight me for my cheerfulness. It's like a battle of wills, with the winter yelling at me, "GIVE IN" and my real life, so full of things I never knew I wanted, yells back "BE GRATEFUL".

I realize I must love the Sunday night blog. I am hoping to blog a few times a week, but at least I get these Sunday night ones out! I think I partly do it in honor of my friend who reads them, who used to spend Mondays talking to our mutual friend, who passed away. I figure she must still need a distraction! But tonight I am also doing it because if I have to look at the score for Sweeney Todd one more time this week I'll scream!

Why is this so hard? I am struggling with memorizing this part and the show is in two weeks! Can you believe it? I have no idea what I'm doing on stage, I feel like. I think this is normal, right? I forget. I have done shows on every end of this spectrum....over rehearsed, under rehearsed, too many dress rehearsals, too few run throughs. Somehow, by opening night, it works. It works. I work. It works. My new mantra :)

I was just asked to audition for another show that performs this summer--a Mikado! I would love to do it. I doubt it pays anything, and I'm starting to not give a crap. I'm just going to sing as much as I can. I'm tired of figuring out where this lies in my career. I have had such a good time at this so far, doing Mrs. Lovett, I wonder why I ever make such a big deal out of any of the other stuff. I want to sing, darnit!!!

I have never had anyone love me like this baby. It's kind of strange, kind of everything you ever wanted when you were feeling needy, and then way too much when you're feeling good. I am amazed sometimes at how much I feel it back for her. I know, I know, mommy-love is supposed to be all-encompassing and life-changing and all that stuff, but I guess it really is. You don't just say it. I simply feel delighted at her, I love her laugh, and her tricks and I am filled with smiley gooey crud every time she shows me her belly or says that the cow says "moo." I feel depressed when I think of how much I am DYING to take this trip that hubby and I have planned at the end of March. The first trip in 4 years that is just for vacation. And ....5 days without the baby. Eek. My womb aches already.

Tomorrow is Valentine's day, and I haven't even picked up some chocolate for hubby. I have no idea what to do...I just bought him a birthday present, man! This holiday is the half-way point between our birthdays, and two days after our half-aversary (we've been married 2 1/2 years), so I'd rather kind of skip it a little. If only he weren't so darn traditional.

I lost 3.5 pounds this week. I have been exercising like a fiend. I want to write a whole blog on that, and maybe I will, time permitting. Maybe if I could figure out a way to scan them directly from my brain?

Ok, back to Todd.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

27 minutes


In 27 minutes, I'll be 37. I suppose at some point I should update my description on this blog that says I'm 35, but who knows when I'll get around to that...37 seems like a popular age. I have noticed it being used for people on sitcoms who are young enough to fall in love, to be successful, but are also starting to worry about getting older.

I will tell you that in the last few weeks I've thought a lot about people in my life who didn't make it to 37, making me feel unusually grateful just to be here. I am also telling the 21 year old me that I feel quite a bit better physically than I did back then--being a person who now loves exercise, eats healthier, relaxes more, and takes things in stride. I am also afraid of getting up tomorrow morning and feeling depressed that I haven't met the weight loss goals that I struggle so badly with defining my life. And what if I don't ever get that opera career that I want--blah, blah. I could care less about New Year's resolutions....I seem to go from birthday to birthday.

I have had almost no voice for the past few days--I finally caught the "coughing flu" that both my husband and daughter have had. Honestly, the combination of the coughing, the dry weather, the furnace and long rehearsals where I speak emotionally (yelling, whispering, etc) have done their job at making me sound like Demi Moore or E.T. I look forward to having my own voice back.

Tomorrow's plan is a haircut, maybe a pedicure, thai food (yum), and then something in the evening (although we're not sure what yet). Hubby has done a good job at buying a birthday present in advance, and making enough plans that we're not scrambling to get it done now. I told him if he comes home after midnight he has to bring flowers! Wives are so annoying...

I am going to wake up slowly tomorrow, pray and meditate and be thankful. That should beat the years of self-analysis on birthday mornings. It is the first year since meeting my husband that he is actually off work on my birthday! How amazing! We did not procure a babysitter, so I'm hoping Baby S is in her lower-maintenance mood.

The weather was warm enough to melt a few inches of snow--of course there are feet still out there, but warm enough to melt snow is really all I'm asking for these days. Thank you God, for this little rest from the bitter cold.

And for another birthday.