Thursday, August 30, 2007

A little something about Zeta... it's been so long!

I haven't mentioned Zeta in awhile.

She's grown into a beautiful teen with few adolescent issues.

In fact, tonight I was killing a wasp hanging out on the door leading to the patio in my bedroom. She stayed right where I told her to whilst all the distractions of my frenetic swatting occurred right in front of her... and she didn't move, even as I scooted the dead thing out the open door. She was terrific. I knew she was trained but this was a situation when I needed to really count on her.

I see the value of training -- otherwise one or both of us could have been stung!

Yay Zeta! I am so proud of both of us!

Interview Questions

Marsha sent me these interview questions quite some time ago. Life got away from us, so to speak. I have finally done them.

1. What was the first show you ever directed? Would you like a do-over or are you happy with how it went and what it taught you?

I count Agnes of God as the first show I directed. I did scene work and short plays throughout my education and the Directors Workshop at Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock -- so erm... officially, I did Agnes of God. It was amazing. It taught me the most important thing about directing: Choices. Make only those choices that you can back up with logical evidence that is clear to an audience. I also, for lack of a better way of putting it, experienced the show romantically. I was deeply in love with what I was doing, in love with the cast, in love with the work, the script, the characters. I was very fortunate in that respect. That's not the case in every show, as we all know. Good thing new works keep rolling off playwrights pens, or the list of plays that I would love to direct would be awfully short. That, along with Artistic Directors who will actually work to marry you with a show you love is helpful, though rare.
2. You have been into directing these last few years. But I know you are an actor first. What role you would most like to play in what show?

Role? Not roles? Pssst... a secret... I've only just tapped into singing and am now getting secure enough to feel I won't scare off anyone if I sing in at least the chorus. I fantasize about doing a musical
( I have recently learned I am a soprano whilst all these years I thought I was an alto!) As I evolve, maybe I could play an adequate Mona in Best Little Whorehouse. That would be a grand fantasy! Then there's a fantasy of playing Rose in Gypsy or at this point being in any musical at all. But let's discuss the non-musical: Sabina in Skin of Our Teeth -- but no one will produce that behemoth -- it's so long. I could cut it! And I could look ten years younger too. ;-) I'd like take a shot at Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in a few years and if he ever finishes his stage adaptation of it, I'd do Aurora Greenway in Larry McMurtry's Terms of Endearment, eventually. Finally, I would love the opportunity to reprise my role as Lorraine Sheldon in The Man Who Came To Dinner (without 9/11 dust all over it this time!) I LOVE it when the integrity of the character actually REQUIRES me to chew the scenery in a role.
3. What is one thing about being a step-mom that took you by surprise?

This week?

One thing? ONE thing? Ok, I'll give you the top two:

1) How I knew it would be harder than I thought and it was harder than I thought than I thought that I thought!

2) Nurture is as valid as nature. We think I may have actually birthed GMan P and erased it from memory, as his personality, sense of humor, and temperment resembles mine so much more closely than his own parents.
4. Tell me about your favorite book or author. Fiction or non-fiction, but not a play.

Gone With The Wind
-- don't laugh! (Also, The Stand and Mysts of Avalon) My grandmother instilled in me a love for that grand story -- and it remains with me to this day. If you haven't read it you really should. It was indeed the grandmother of romance novels, but remember, it did win a Pulitzer prize for literature -- it is an epic story, not just a romance. It broke my heart. I stayed up night after night at my grandparents in my 13th summer reading the book and I remember weeping as if in personal grief. It's a lot more powerful and grand in scope than the movie, and is about survival and the courage of a woman. The film did more romanticizing of the whole thing. AND! It has sold more copies worldwide than any other book except the Bible. Don't knock it until you try it.
5. If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play and what would your role be?

Ack! Lawdie, I dunno. Er... boring, but... I'd play brass (and I love the french horn) in a big band and make some money working in the pit for musicals.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Steel Magnolias

Yesterday the SB and I planted a magnolia tree. So... I've been pining (no pun intended) for a magnolia tree for my yard for several years, first for several Mother's Days past as a gift to one another, then, as a Memorial for my mother. Wouldn't you know, it would occur in the most unceremonious possible way.

"Hey! These 5 gallon Southern Magnolia trees are only twenty bucks," I said.

"Ok, let's get it. Grab it, let's go," SB replied, as she was at the register already, paying for the eight bags of red mulch some of which she insisted putting around the tree prior to my snapping a pic. So insistent was she, that she rose from a nap and put her clothes on to ensure her magnolia was adorned properly, and, er... her gnome was positioned properly.

We do not have a pool in which the magnolia blossoms can float, but our neighbors do. We're saving that for the next house. Unlike in the production of Steel Magnolias, there will be no question as to whose side of the fence this tree lives.

BTW, we also bought this plant.

In other Magnolia news, here's the full cast of Steel Magnolias. In this photo Shelby is portrayed by the brilliant Nikki Zook.

I would imagine this production as being a powerful one for any cast that performs it, if, imho, they've done it right. With this production we had our own plot that was similar to the plot within the show down to Marsha, who originated the role of Shelby, being the one who got sick! A friend who played Ouiser in another recent production said a similar circumstance had occurred during the run of the production she did. I'd say Steel Magnolias, based on certain circumstances, holds potential to be the modern day "Scottish play," but I can't -- because in the face of said circumstances, we all had a ball, and came to deeply cherish the experience and one another.

This is NOT commonplace in the realm of theatre, but in my estimation as a director of this particular show -- chemistry offstage should be as much a requirement as onstage. I'm not talking like everyone should hang out together, but that the cast for this show should be the kind of women who have a high regard for one another, their work, and the good of the play.

I couldn't have asked for a better cast. Or a better review, except that the review outright swore the actress playing Truvy was channeling Dolly Parton and she was in no way shape or form doing such a thing! We received the reviewers highest praise and rating, broke the record for highest attended non-musical for the Georgetown Palace, and the cast had a wonderful experience. Couldn't ask for better.

And so... now I proceed again with NxNW Theatre and it's first production: The Nerd.

Oh, and maybe get a job or something. Seriously, I might take up photography occupationally -- it's become a great financial supplement. Let me know if you want me to do some photos for you. ;-)