Honest Review

A critical one, I’m afraid, but the writer walked away from the night enjoying himself, nonetheless, and praising the gusto and heart of our little community production. I chuckled at what could be a stretch to find something nice to say about us, but it really did warm my heart: “The company’s exuberance and commitment filled the space with energy,” he wrote, and he’s right. “I couldn’t find anyone doing it halfway.” In other words, Wellll, they tried really hard, and good on ’em. (Thank you.)

I appreciated the author, too, because he was very thorough and thoughtful, and because his findings are precisely how I feel about our show’s weaknesses. For whatever reason, they chose to do these cheesy-ass projections behind us on set. I finally watched them Saturday before the show, and they’re worse than I could have imagined. Awful! So distracting, awkward, and embarrassing.

(Oh, and the face I complained about weeks ago is up there larger than life. Not even one smiling shot of Adelaide to introduce her. Just that bitter, angry mug of aged disappointment, haha! That was so dumb on the part of production. “Angrier!” the photographer commanded, with no sense of character and variety. Production told him “Angry,” so he got one look locked in his brain. He wouldn’t even take the shot unless I exemplified something akin to rage. So ugly and out of character. Duh.)

I’ve also been sincerely annoyed by our choreographer, bless him. While I do appreciate his demand that we Level Up, he has to choreograph to the group’s ability as a whole. It’s so disjointed and glaring. Some are dancers, and some are not. You blend. That’s your job. But his ego required this frenetic, intricate stuff that some simply can’t do, and it looks out of balance and amateur. I can, but barely. (I’m OoooooLD, and man! My feet are starting to scream.)

(I get to wear my beloved patent-leather red stilettos for 5 minutes in the closing scene. I will pay for this.)

Finally, the performances. He liked us, though we don’t “overflow with triple threats.” (Ouch!) He said that my choices “told a million tales in subtext,” which I appreciated so much! I always wanted to play Adelaide’s sincerity. She’s a caricature; that’s why she’s great. But she’s a real girl with a broken heart and massive, hilarious anxiety. I love her.

I love our amateur production. I love my castmates. I’m glad I have time left to appreciate and enjoy our show and my new friends. Hell Week is hell. I try always to keep that in perspective, but ours, as I mentioned, was the worst I’ve ever experienced. I was pissed.

I was also moving, having a nervous breakdown, and being terrorized in a tag-team assault by my ex-boyfriend and his new bride (whom he dated for 5 weeks). I was stuck in the home with them, when they didn’t need to move in before my apartment became available 3 weeks later (and hadn’t planned to before they decided to torture me in their first act as family). The man with whom I was trying to have a baby just months before, who had chosen my move-out date himself, was now mercilessly harassing, abusing, and mocking me, and I couldn’t get free.

Oh, and motherhood passed me by. The plot is known at last, at 44. I’m no one’s mom. Ever.

I forgive myself for losing perspective.

It’s back now. I’m looking forward with some hope and joy.

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Bad Review

My Nathan asked his 9-year-old son what his favorite part of the play was.

“None,” he answered. “I liked it all the same.”

“Except for the dancing with no clothes,” he added upon reflection. “My eyes rolled back to my brain, my hands went on my face, and my head went between my knees.”
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minky goodness

Ladies Night, Family-Style

My family made up a group of 11 for my show Saturday night! I was surprised by tears that threatened to fall when the curtain rose. The Overture was well on its way, but that curtain lifted and I was ready to cry! It meant so much to have them there. (They boycotted me and saw none of my shows in 1993, when I hit my mother back for the first and only time after a lifetime of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, so it’s a really charged, emotional issue.)

I’ve never had such a large crowd rooting for me all at once. Mom really came through for me. I asked her to bring “all the girls.” 2 aunts came with 1 uncle, my GRANDMA, all 4 nieces, my sis, sister-in-law, and mom. ❤

My aunt made fun of me for not acting at all. “I’m uniquely qualified to play a neurotic showgirl,” I agreed. (One reviewer wrote, “The real standout is Adelaide.” She doesn’t need to know it’s not an act.)

Tech week was officially the worst of them all. They kept us after midnight every night before opening! One night I got home after 2am! I was livid. The next day, 2 hot box dancers fainted onstage. I was one of them. When they advised me to take care of myself, I nearly walked off. Let me SLEEP! And when am I supposed to be feeding myself (or shopping for groceries) if you keep me for 7 hours after I work 8?

I’m still annoyed.

I’ve never rehearsed for 7 hours when I wasn’t getting paid. This is community theatre. You have no right to ask more than 3-4 hours after work, and whatever you like on Saturdays. Or you start sooner. I wondered from the beginning how they thought they were putting on such a big show in less than 2 months. I was furious to be proven right, and then completely dismissed and mildly chastised.

“You have to take care of yourself.”

You better take care, right now!

Then we opened, and it all went away. (I was surprised. I was pissed.) I felt united, excited, and full of togetherness and nerves.

I was terrified. I’ve never felt less ready to open, but we just needed our audience. There’s nothing like that symbiotic energy. It’s magic!

I love this part. “Guys & Dolls” is just great, classic American musical theatre, and Adelaide is my love song. You know what else? I’m good in this role. I don’t know why. I’m not the best dancer, singer, actor, anything, but I have heart.

I guess that’s it. I feel it. I’m not faking. You can feel me all the way to the rafters. I hold nothing back, and theatre seems to be the only place that’s appreciated.

Also, I’m hilarious. I got props in the review for comedic timing. In any case, I crack myself up. (A friend described me in 1995. “The thing I love about Christie,” he said. “is she laughs harder than anyone at her own jokes.”) There’s one other guy whose ad libs are funnier than mine, and we’ve been competing all rehearsal long.

More than anyone, my Nathan has become a dear friend and confidante. I love him. I love that he’s on the planet. I love that he’s raising children. He’s been so kind to me. He’s a good, kind person who humbles and inspires me. I’m so glad he’s my Nathan.
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Theatre has been so generous since my return at 40. I hoped to be a dancing secretary in the ensemble of “How To Succeed,” and I got Hedy Larue! That was far beyond what I expected. I just wanted to play, to feel that particular expression of creativity again. Meeting Maurie, my director, is forever one of the greatest gifts.
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I did “9 to 5” for Maurie 2 years later, upon request, just because I love her.
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“Avenue Q,” at a community theatre in UTAH? Come on! Bad Idea Bear? Best part!
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And now Adelaide, who’s all I ever wanted. Everything else has been a surprise and a freebie along the way. I’m so fortunate. I’m proud. I enjoy my talent, finally, and I feel honored by the generosity of those who chose me and worked with me.
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I don’t know when I’ll do another show. I’m satisfied.

In 2018, I’m looking forward to centering and simplifying. I want to sing for old folks again. I’m excited for yoga, belly dance, Afro-Brazilian/Samba (easier on the body than full-on African), drumming on Saturdays, guitar (songwriting will fall out of me if I just commit to getting those callouses and chords), and mastering the didgeridoo after 10 years of knowing Marko. It’s all right there, and I just sat on it.

I’m not sitting anymore.

That’s A Wrap!

I’m ready for the show to close. It was at its best, in my opinion, about a week and a half ago. Some of our liberties and characterizations have begun to affect the timing of the show and our chemistry was officially off last night. That being said, let me again sing the praises of my experience at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre and publicly express gratitude for my amazing reintroduction to theatre. It was everything I wanted from coming back.

I love this company! It is without question the nicest facility I’ve ever performed in. For heaven’s sake, we have a Green Room! I’ve never been in a show with a full crew of techs running around managing our choas linked to each other by headset. They applaud us and cheer every night as we exit! My director, Maurie, took a chance on a girl who didn’t fit the bill (body) of Hedy LaRue, but had “something so immediate and likeable [she] knew she had to have [me].” That is humbling, indeed, and she was wonderful to work with. It was always a fun, uplifting, inspiring experience to rehearse with her.

I guess I still have the dissatisfied perfectionist in me because Maurie reminded me several times to trust myself. “You have great instincts onstage,” she said more than once. (I was unaware that I continue to be so hard on myself, because I truly enjoyed the experience of developing this character and “growing” a show, and was never short with my co-workers or sick with my own incompetence.)

Above all, my cast has been such a joyful, beautiful bunch o’ good folk. I was blessed to spend a summer with them. It was a different experience than those I’ve had before. I’ve only done summer stock, where we live, eat, breathe (kill, puke, suffocate) each other. I didn’t expect to become so emotionally invested in people I simply spent time with for a few hours after work each night. I love them.

Our family started to really gel after the show went into production. The ladies dressing room was a place of laughter, support, a little wickedness, and a lot of love. We saw each other through some amazing things: a brand new best-friendship between our 2 darling high school girls, 2 new love affairs (including mine), freaking out in relationships (just mine), the loss of a grandchild, and an adoption approval!

When the daughter of a castmember suffered a miscarriage, another woman in the cast came in on Monday and hugged her after a weekend apart, as we all did, but when she said, “Please tell your daughter she’s been in my prayers,” I actually felt her praying and began to cry. It’s common in this community to hear people say to one another, “I’m praying for you.” I think all expressions of concern and prayerfulness are unifying, healing, holy, really, but never have I “seen” someone kneeling in her home pleading with the Lord to comfort this young mother and all of her family.

The men took longer to bond with but, then, we didn’t get naked together every other night. Of course, the usual backstage pranks and hijinks did their work and cemented the whole lot of us into one. And now I’m ready to be rid of them. 🙂

How I have loved this experience. A true blessing.

Three things have changed since I last performed 2 decades ago: Stage make-up looks a LOT better on twenty year-old skin! Back then, we sat in the dressing room and chatted with each other, not with absentees via text. And social media didn’t exist to draw the crowds. In a month, there have been only two shows in which I knew no one in the audience. I feel so supported and humbled, and so very grateful.

Oh, and one more thing: My mom came. mom and meAnd my sissy, but there’s nothing new about that. Meet the only person who’s come to every show I’ve done. That’s just the kind of girl she is, to everyone. mel and me

I only got one sister. The best one.

My First Review!

I only got one [shared] sentence, but that sentence liked me. Hooray!

http://utahtheatrebloggers.com/16535/centerpoints-how-to-succeed-in-business-is-satire-done-right

Other reviews were weird. The Standard Examiner reported that I got out of theatre at 23, which I did, and that it was a choice I regretted, which I didn’t. I left the stage because I was a flailing young woman from a chaotic upbringing, who needed to reign in her personal drama before she could usefully apply and enjoy her theatricality. It’s a choice I’m proud of, and the break accomplished precisely what I intended. (Incidentally, I announced to the press that I turned 40 this year, haha! I love FORTY!!!)

The other review was more plot synopsis, by a writer who failed to proofread or check her facts, and hates the show. (Sexism in the workplace in the 60s was galling, and I still cringe at a few albeit satirical lines.) While she saw my portrayal as a mere caricature, she seemed to think I brought some comedic thrust to the production.

Africa Heartwood Project

It’s amazing how, when I’m tense or intimidated, I cannot keep rhythm! I know simple upbeats, for heaven’s sake, but I’ll be damned if all I could do today in my first rehearsal with Africa Heartwood Project was find the downbeat. Sometimes.

I learned the basic melody and lyrics to 2 songs, and in 3 hours I perform with them in a Benefit Concert for Water. One day I hope to dance, too, but tonight I’ll just smile, sing, and shake a bead-covered gourd thing. (And my tail feather… just a little.)

http://www.africaheartwoodproject.com

It’s amazing how, when I’m onstage, I relax into simple upbeats and words I don’t even know! I sang all but one of the songs, and I rocked the rhythm! The Benefit Concert for Water succeeded in raising more than enough for the bore hole at Kukwaado, as well a hand-dug well in a Liberian village, and to begin saving for a third water project. It was a great evening. I felt honored to be a part of it, and happy! It confirmed that I belong on the stage. I love performing. There’s something about a live audience that makes my spirit sing. I’ll participate with Africa Heartwood Project whenever I can, and continue auditioning until I get a musical. And another and another and another!

Manifest 2013

Turn 40! Jump out of an airplane – at last! – on my birthday, April 27th… weeeee!

Go paragliding on my bestie’s 40th – June 18th… weeeee!

you are

Fit and Fabulous and Forty is living AWAKE and all the way. Here’s how I’ll do it:

Eat actual food… Learn a new recipe every month… Play with slowcooker and solar.

Lose this 15 pounds! No reason not to be my high school weight. Healthy, strong, trim. (Binge-eating/food addiction journal?)

Coffee and Diet Pepsi are occasional treats, not daily necessities. Green tea.

I am smoke free. Completely smoke free. Not one cigarette. Bright, clean, pink lungs!

Move to a place with more space, SUN SUN SUN, and cheaper rent (suburbs, gulp).

Surround myself with plants.

Write every day… journal… blog… poetry… vignettes… articles… Write every day.

Master circular breathing… Didge daily… Play with others… Meditate

Pray every morning… Angels said Leaf Pose for me… Pray every morning. For reals.

Choose gratitude every day, even the bad ones. I sit peacefully at the center of my life.

Read A Course In Miracles! A miracle a day for me in two, zero, one, and three!

Study throat chakra blockage and clearing… Heal it… and others… eventually…

Get voice coach… Learn 2 each, upbeat song and ballad… Have them at the ready.

Identify and perfect 2 monologues, comedic and dramatic… At the ready…

Audition for everything… Fail gloriously!… Relish every chance to improve and learn… Have fun! ENJOY the practice! “Thank you for the chance to celebrate my craft!” I love to audition! I love to audition! I’m so good at auditioning! Can’t wait to audition!

Invest in good headshots… ? blerg… hate to spend money… Can’t my bestie just do it?

Get one paying gig… anywhere… anything… Rebuild resume… Network… PERFORM! Love the stage again. Revel in the play and laughter of rehearsal and take it seriously.

Perform with Africa Heartwood Project… traditional chorals/ basic percussion…

Get a drum of my own.

(Re)learn guitar… Progress… My wrist is tight but fine. It will stay fine. Play through it. 

Play the piano. I have such a pretty little [poor neglected] piano.

Travel. Go to a new state. See a new country.

Cruise for the first time, possibly (friend’s June wedding if I’m not in a show)

New York for another wedding (and if so, all of New England!)

At least one old festival and one new festival

$ Oh yeah, money. I’m over it. Poverty is not this life’s sacred! Money. Thank you. $

Continue African Dance… Add Afro-Brazilian (Samba Fogo) and/or Zumba weekly…

Learn poi. 

Add three elements to hooping repertoire… PRACTICE… more fluid and dance-y-like…

Conquer blinding dizziness of  LED hoop… Use it, silly! (smaller diameter than I like)

Get my own fire hoop… ? … At least spin again in someone else’s.

Jog the steps of the Capitol at least once a week.

GET UP GET UP GET UP! I slept the first half. Now it’s fun. Wake up and LIVE!

When you joked, “… epitaph will read, ‘Lovingly gave half her life to sleep,'” you didn’t know you were manifesting the first half, did you? Get up, little wildfire. Don’t be afraid anymore to live out loud. It is what you came here to do. Get up and do it. 

“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” Emile Zola                                                          

me, too… 🙂 

I only just began to understand that I can let go my Screaming Banshee and live out loud. She had a job, to protect me and insist on personal truth. I don’t need protecting anymore. Life isn’t so scary anymore. My truth is finally pleasurable. What a relief!

I freaking love 40. Happy New Year!

(P.S. Totally didn’t mean for my [first] vision board to match my bedroom. Isn’t it pretty?)

manifest!
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