Saturday, December 12, 2009

To Kill A Mockingbird

-- guess I forgot to put a link to the great review we got in the StarPhoenix.

Ever since working on Cinderella(capO), Leora has been on my case to do more community theatre. When she heard the possibility that Gateway would be doing To Kill A Mockingbird(wikipedia), she would not let me rest. I had to repeatedly check the website for any hint of auditions. When we saw James Hawn (who was to direct it) there would be questions about when auditions might be scheduled, etc...

Eventually, there were auditions. Wendy, Leora and I all tried out for roles and Anwyn hoped to work as a crew member. Anwyn got her way, as did the rest of us. Short of patient, reliable children, James H. eventually convinced Anwyn to also take on a couple of roles in the show. So we were all in the show -- a first for our family. We were excited, yet trepidatious. I know how hard it is for the family with just me in a play. For this to succeed we were going to have to take special measures.

I took time off work at the library and I quit driving school bus. The bus decision was actually separate but was a happy coincidence that helped a great deal. Leora had a lot more rehearsal than the rest of us (at least in the early days) and I was able to make supper during the afternoon, allow us to eat quickly after debate or music and still stay with her at the studio for 2-3 hours during the evening. As the number and length of our practices increased, Wen cut out after work meetings, I stopped seeing family or playing games, the girls postponed all of their extra-curricular activities and I kept them home from school 2 or 3 days each to help them catch up on missed sleep. By the time we were ready for opening night, we were exhausted.

Performance itself is very rewarding and somewhat vampiric. The energy from the people who come to see the play--their laughter, intensity, misery and joy--is what keeps us going though the last week. Our daytime lives become a shadowy sleep, while at night we fed earnestly from the energy of our nocturnal prey, the audience. Life at such times has a special richness and the knowledge that it will "happen" keeps us toiling through the earlier stages. You make new friends at this time and dormant acquaintances kindle to new flame. You begin to wish it for a never-ending.

Fortunately, it does end. The enormity of my exhaustion slaps me hard until I sleep (no matter if I am on my feet) for a week. Then I steal an hour somewhere and take the time to reflect, sigh, and add a link to a few pictures.

To Kill a Mockingbird
** a note to the cast. These are the photos I was able to shoot on my own (plus a few from Catherine Hui, perhaps). I know they only represent a fraction of the process and sadly, I couldn't shoot when I was on or about-to-be-on stage. Sorry to any who suffer an absence in the photos because of this. AND, if you want a picture removed, please email me...

I also shot a video of an intermission ritual that most of the cast and many crew shared.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bagheera Kiplingi

Despite a lingering fear of larger specimens, I absolutely love spiders. When information about "vegetarian" spider started to circulate in October, I was thrilled. I've been busy working on the show and not had much time to look into it. Now that I have the week off during our performance run I've listened to a great radio interview and done a bunch more reading.

For the overly interested: