A complete play, in 12 lines

I’m at the Alabama Thespian Festival as a chaperone, and yesterday I went to a playwriting workshop. The guy leading the workshop had us write 12 lines of dialogue  that would establish character and conflict. I was pleased with mine.

“Can I go see a movie with Matt and Kevin this weekend?”

“You’ve done your homework?”

“… I did my math.”

“That’s all of your homework? Don’t you have an English paper?”

“…not due until Wednesday.”

“Have you started it?”

“…in my head.”

“You’ve started… in your head.”

“In my head, yeah. Sounds stupid when you say it.”

“You haven’t … written any of it.”

“Well, I kinda have an outline. ….so, can I go?”

“I’m kinda… thinking of an answer… in my head.”

Kinda prissy for me, but…

Moda Chez Moi 9-patch

Originally uploaded by messygoat

During rehearsals for Sweeney Todd I needed to have a project that I could work on that would keep me from getting too consumed with the negativity that was so pervasive in that show. I had tried to knit, but that wasn’t enough — I needed something that appealed even more to my tactile side. I needed to be handling fabric.

I needed it to be simple, and something that I could stop at any moment for my random scenes that were scattered throughout the show (I was on the stage in a lot of scenes, but never for much more than about 45 seconds at a time except for my last two when the plot twist was revealed).

I found this pattern at the Moda Bakeshop and had the perfect fabric to use for it.

I cut squares of fabric from leftovers of a diaper bag that I made for Jerry’s sister, and matching squares from a white-on-white print. During rehearsals I’d pin the sides together, and then I’d come home and sew, cut, and press them. Then I’d pin through the next rehearsal, and come home to sew, cut, and press.

Four rehearsals later I had all of the blocks made, and I was in a much better place emotionally.

I layered the quilt a few days before Christmas and quilted it on December 25 and 26 in a bit of a frenzy.

Tonight, I finished sewing the binding on this lovely lap quilt (that Helen has been BEGGING for as soon as she saw all of the blocks on the design wall in June). I’ll take photos of the whole quilt tomorrow in natural light, but I wanted to share with you a picture of the quilting that I took last week.

Interesting that Helen has been asking for this quilt; usually she doesn’t take much notice of the things I make, but her interest in this one has been consistent. Last night she snuggled under it with me while I hand-sewed the binding on, and kept reiterating that she really loved this one and pleasepleaseplease could she have it. So I guess it’s hers.

Pretty nice start for a new year, to finish a quilt on the very first day. I won’t be able to keep up that pace, but it’s exciting anyway.

31 days

It has been 31 days since I last posted here. Part of that is because we were deep in tech week and then performances of Sweeney Todd, and then my requisite 2 weeks of decompression after a show ends.

Part of it is just that I have nothing new to say. I’ve been running and lifting weights and swimming and being with the girls all day every day, and there’s just not a whole lot to say about that. I should be celebrating this time; I know I should. But it’s just been wearing on me.

I got a nice break this weekend (in the form of a three-hour nap in a totally empty house), so that was helpful. And now I feel a lot better about Things.

But I do have to say this. What took me so long to get over this time in this show was not that the show itself was a horrible experience. The cast and crew were amazing. The performances were incredible, and it was great to be part of a show like that.

However, I will say that it was one of the top three unhappiest experiences theatrically of my entire lifetime. And that’s saying something: I’ve had some doozies. I’ve had directors yell at me because my knees popped when I knelt. I’ve had directors tell me that I’m going to ruin their show because I’m such a terrible actress (I’m not. I know this.). I’ve had directors who so very CLEARLY wanted the role I was playing that my head movements were carefully choreographed with my breathing. I’m not kidding. And I could go on, but I won’t.

But this was the first time that I have been reduced to feeling like I was seventeen again. This was the first time in almost 20 years that I have been treated like a talentless hack, like a person who has no business being on the stage.

And yet, somehow, through the grace of God and the miracles of live theatre, I didn’t singlehandedly ruin the show. Good thing.

But it’s a lesson I don’t have to be taught twice. I won’t appear on that stage again. Others, sure. But not that one.

Yeah, hi, I need to rant.

I have thirteen years of classical piano training.
I have three years of classical voice training.
I have zero years of orchestral training. I am not accustomed to looking at a score and counting out the beats until my entrance, much as an instrumentalist would do. It’s a completely foreign concept to me. I need to see what the whole orchestra is doing — read the score on the page and how my part relates to the whole — before I can fully grasp it. And I need to see and hear it at full tempo, not just in slo-mo during rehearsals. Then, and maybe then, I might understand when I’m supposed to start singing and be able to do it at full speed.

Throwing your hands up in frustration when I miss the entrance — again — is not the way to inspire me to work harder for you. It just makes me angry and makes me think you’re unreasonably mean.

I went home last night, cried angry tears, finished a bottle of wine, and went to bed at a reasonable hour. And I was still irritated when I woke up this morning.

Act 1 was reasonably good last night, at least. I can hold on to that, I suppose. I found my character (finally), and felt good about that. But Act 2 is just so freaking HARD.

I think it’s going to be a while before I want to do any theatre again.