Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Last Show

Let me be the first to give Colin's line:  "That is all?  Why don't we take it on the road?"  Colin would say that every show.  And we did one time.  We took Later Life to Milton, Florida.  Yee-haw!  To the biggest stage and theater you could imagine.  And this at the local high school.  Milton is much larger then Jefferson county.  There are about twice as many people that live in Milton as in all of Jefferson County.  I like Jefferson County just fine the way it is, thank you very much.

But back to Colin, "We've put in all this work and did all these rehearsals, six shows is just not enough."  He is right it is a lot of work for 6 performances.  But our fun is done.  We earned good money for the Opera House and today we will break the set.  I miss Colin.  

Last night's show was the best of shows and the worst of shows.  Best of shows because the entire cast worked together to make everything work and be fun and give every bit the audiences monies worth.  The first challenge came early on in the first act.  I had just done my part of the lights and had needed to pee, but the last 20 minutes or so before the show opens is quite hectic.  We are working the door checking reservations, taking people to the tables, making sure everyone is OK.  Coordinating with the serving volunteers and the kitchen staff.  Making sure the actors have everything they need.  Getting their food and drink set.  Are all the props working and in in place?  Costumes set, makeup on, lights working, sound effects check, piano player taken care of.  Audience ramped up. All done, and then the lights go down and the stage lights go up.

So here I am free for the next 10 minutes and all I needed was just a couple to myself.  I was barely inside the ladies room when I heard a noise I had never heard before.  I stood still and thought to myself, "That did not sound right".  As I washed my hands to get back out there, I heard applause.  I had never heard applause at this point before.  That did not sound right.  I stepped out of the bathroom and saw Judy running behind the Opera House.  I thought I have never seen her do that before, that did not look right.

I found out , that  George, our Thuggee had spun off the stage as he swung his saber over his head.  He made it look very athletic as he tumbled and rolled off the stage onto the floor.  He has been having a fit with his hip anyway, this did not help.  But he walked off the stage in character and continued the play.  And today he was there in the thick of things breaking the set.  I love our Thugbert, mathematician, author, zen leader, haver of anything you can not find anywhere, sweet, funny person.  My "sister" Sioux came up to see the show and she started talking to Thugbert and math comes up as it so often does in conversations and so now I am mailing her one of his books because we all think it might help get her mind in the right place to soar through her last 3 classes to complete her AA.  Three math classes.  Sioux is an artist and an extremely talented woman, but she sometimes feel a little threatened by math.  And who of us hasn't?   Remember 3rd & 4th grade learning the multiplication tables?  Rote memory is how they taught us.  And that left a bad taste in the mouth.  But Thugbert's book will help her to see math in a new light.  A common sense, why it is done the way that it is.  I mean really talking about math.  It is very cool.  And I know it will help her.  Thanks Thugbert!!!  He is self published and the price of the book is so reasonable for the perception change it gives you about math.  If anyone is interested in talking to this Author about his book, I will try and hook you up.  If you have someone in your life struggling with math, this is a wonderful present to give yourself or your loved one.  And that is an unpaid commercial.  Let me know and I will find out from George if I can post his email address, or how he would like to get in touch with people.  But once again, I digress.......

Back to the play........between acts 1 and 2 Mystic got sick.  And in between each act sicker and sicker.  It looked and sounded like food poisoning.   And she was as sick as anyone I have ever seen with food poisoning, The cast got together and went over the dialogue and reworded it so the Mystic did not have to say anything at all.  If she could just sit there then they could get work out the dialogue.  They also left her the opportunity if she felt well enough to give her dialogue.  I can't tell you how proud I am of them.  They are an amazing team.  I have worked with a lot of casts and we have been close.  But I never used the term "team" before this cast.  But that is how they worked. And it was genius.  The Mystic insisted with "On with the show"  and made every entrance on time.  She looked sicker and sicker on stage.  She lost one of her contacts that turn her deep brown eyes into blind eyes.  That made her look even more "mystic" and crazy.  She could not focus.  She could barely hold her head up and when she was not on stage she was being sick.

I wanted to say, "give me your wig and your robe.  I can go in your place and the cast will do the lines."  But I saw the look on her face.  She felt like she was letting the cast down.  And there was no way I could possibly convince her otherwise, especially if I tried to wrestle her part away from her for her own good.  The idea of doing her part was frightening, but a necessary back up plan.  I kept it to myself.  I stood by and watched her again and again wipe the sweat from her face and shakily walk back to the stage, her dialogue weaving back and forth between her and the rest of the cast.  Each supporting the other.  Each watching the mystic with such respect at her will to do her part.  She did not let anyone down.  She gave the cast the most amazing gift.  To deal with a challenge together, and to share the burden of the challenge together and to make the Directors proud.  To give the audience the show they paid to see.  Because they never thought twice that there was another option then pulling together like ants in a flood, holding on tight to each other and each person doing what they do best to make everyone shine.  I can't tell you how much I have grown to love each of the people in the cast, as individuals as well as a team.  

Each play experience is so different.  Each directing experience adjusted and challenged by your own knowledge, skills and abilities and that of each member of the cast and crew.  But then when you put it all together, you have a totally unique entity unto itself.  That changes each rehearsal and performance on such a vast number of variables.  Sometimes, most of the time, it is an exhilarating experience.  But sometimes you have a cast that is just so big it fractures, or there is one person who does not fit in, or maybe the chemistry is such that the cast/crew just never meld.  But when everything comes together each night for 6 shows and a preshow and you see how much fun they have together, and how they watch out for each other, and together they are working for that applause, not just one member or each for their own vanity.  No when you have a group that grew together until last night when they had the ultimate challenge for a small theater group.  A member of the cast is sick and can not perform, with no one waiting in the wings to take their place, it changes the entire play.  You can not stand up and just go one like they are not there.  There is dialogue and blocking.  One of Jack and Jan's jokes as Directors have always been, "if you die, you are responsible for your replacement."  Is so true when everyone is a volunteer and have really given there all for this night, the final performance.  And they met every challenge and were absolutely amazing.  

After the show they brought out beautiful arrangements of flowers for the 3 directors, Judy and I, and Denise who is our costume and prop director and really every much a director/stage manager during the performance as Judy and I are.  But then they brought out this box of a wind chime with a rocking chair.  Everyone had signed the box.  And the most wonderful wind chime hanging from a rocking chair.  They said it was for my sittin on a porch, which is my email address, and my soap company name, as well as this blogs.  I was pleased and embarrassed by the presents.  And not just any presents, but the most fitting and perfect ones.  As you saw from my header photo.  Yes, that is the wind chime.  I can hear it now just outside the back door with the breeze blowing through my back porch.  And the pink mandavilla looking vine was the last present they brought out for me for my porch.  I love all of my presents, the flowers, the chimes, the plant.  You all shouldn't have, but I love that you did.  And I think the most touching part is that all of the presents were just perfect.  They know me.  And they still let me direct and then give me the most perfect presents.  I am so grateful for this play.  I am so grateful for this cancer.  It is part of who I am, and affects my thinking and emotions and actions and because of this, maybe they got to know me a little better.  They saw my worst side and stayed.  They laughed with me when I could laugh, they made me laugh when I could not.  And they were never judgemental of me, and gave me now some of my most happiest moments to remember right now.

Then at the after party Jack and Jan presented Judy and I each with one of the plants from Colin's Memorial Service.  We had picked this play partly because we wanted Colin in it.  But that was not to be.  But it meant so much to Judy and I to each get our own little piece of Colin.  So special.  Colin I miss you.

Everyone loved the show.  The Caterer made sure that the entire cast had dinner after the show, and Sioux was there and got to be with my friends and see what I do.  She made friends of her own, and I think this was her first murder mystery and she loved it and had a wonderful time.

Sioux and I stayed up way too late, and then had to get up way too early this morning.  Sioux had to get on the road for the 6 hour drive.  She has home work that must be done tonight.  I had a day planned of rest and activity.  I sat at the Camilla Garden Circle table from 12 - 2 with Georgie.  We sold atlas garden gloves to raise money to send kids to the 4H club.  We sold one pair, but we bought some ourselves.  They will make wonderful Christmas gifts, if I can hold on to them that long.  A double gift, a child goes to camp and my friends get wonderful garden gloves. The world is such a magical place.

The Mayhaw festival at Golden Acres Farm was where the booth was.  There were other vendors and everyone was so nice and happy and the weather was perfect rain scrubbed and cooled, the light clear and sharper without all the dust and smoke in the air.  Families with children raced by with the little ones crowing and pointing at the chickens.  Goats waundered through the crowd.  Hay rides drove wagons full of people out and around all the different varieties of goat and sheep.  Bob Cooper and I discussed Lulu and Bunny.  Two baby girl goats they have for sale.  I think Nigerean dwarf goats might be part of who they are.  I told him I could not consider getting any pets until after I return from Europe with Dad.  He said he would hold them.  I said, "No, look for a home for them, and when I get back we will see if they are available or if they have gone to their new homes.  I would like them for goat milk soap.  Bob and Melanie have this 7 page contract you sign when you buy their goats.  No eating.  No eating of their offspring of any generation.  They are to be kept in certain secure situations, other pets must be reviewed, etc.  I like that.  I like that they love their goats so much they want to make sure that they will be taken care of appropriately.  I am not sure if I want to take on goats.  I have had them before.  They are no more trouble then a dog.  But that would be like getting 2 new dogs.  hmmmmm.  I will think about it.  I would love goats in my pasture.  And I love goat manure for my gardens.  

After the Mayhaw festival the toy flew me to the Opera House where we broke the set.  There was a nice turn out of volunteers from the cast and crew to break things down, and it went quickly.  About 2 hours and most everything had been moved back into its place, and now we just need the 2 guys who move the stage for us come carry the stage outside and Virginia Jones and the Curse of Nergal will be another happy memory.  

And I am home and will make a few phone calls to catch up and then hopefully get to bed early  to read and then to sleep and to dream.  I was walking with Bob around the yard this afternoon and looked at my hydranga garden and all the colors of the mass of flowers.  I wanted to get a picture to show you.  Maybe tomorrow, Marina is sitting on my lap and I can't get up.  She is a long story, but I am just going to be grateful that she wants to be close right now, and enjoy it and hope that she does not hurt me.   But I realized as Bob and I walked about my yard that I was happy.  Truly deep in my soul euphorically happy with the weather, my house, my yard, my kids, my life, the play I shared with so many, spending time with Georgie at the Mayhaw Festival.  Selling a pair of gloves to try and send a child to camp.  To see chickens scratching and bunnies slipping through the bushes this way and that.  Bob next to me with the stuffed pheasant in his mouth.  The baby chickens wanting treats as I walk by.  The grapes and figs and pears fruiting in my orchard.  My bells and chimes ringing in the wind and by my hand.  Flowers floating on green stems and leaves overflowing my yard and porch.  And my porch.  The symbol of so many happy parts of my life.  I think I will take my book and phone outside and listen to the chimes and bells and talk to my dad and Vicki.  Oh, yes, and early to bed.  I am happy today, deep down happy,  happy that brings a smile to my face as I realize all the things around me that make me happy.  Happy, grateful.  two words that are so similiar in meaning to me.  Two words that best describe this day, this life.

And I am grateful for the play with its amazing cast and crew.  And for the audience, so many familiar faces coming to all the plays and events at our Opera House.  And for this glorious cool, over cast spring day.  The light almost shaded blue like looking through pale sunglasses. Happy to have seen Sioux, grateful that Ms Moon is home.  Grateful that Marcy and Fred will soon be home.

1 comment:

  1. Petty frustrations sometimes put me in a sour mood. I need to learn more about shifting back to gratitude. It's the only frame of being that makes sense.