Monday, April 29

See See How They Run!

Yep, not a typo - I want to be sure that you go see See How They Run at the Renaissance Theatre in Lynchburg! I saw it on Saturday evening and had a rollicking good time!

You know how you go see some shows or movies and they are "chuckling" funny. You see the jokes coming from miles away and although you chuckle and don't get those crazy uncontrolled outbursts of laughter. I was hoping for laughter like when my Dad watches the boat scene from Weekend at Bernie's. You know, when Bernie falls out of the boat and keeps hitting the buoys? And although the guys hear the bells ring when he hits one - he must hit a half dozen or more before they haul his dead body back onto the boat. When Dad watches that scene he laughs until he cries. The first time we saw it I think he laughed until he couldn't breathe properly.

THAT is the kind of laughter that I was craving. Recently I have seen amusing movies (like Identity Thief) and cute shows (like Suessical the Musical) but nothing like the entertaining farce See How They Run.

Not the Renaissance production,
but you get the idea!!
I don't want to give too much of the plot away...the play is set in an English vicarage (that's the place where a vicar lives) and the key players are the vicar, his flamboyant wife, their cockney maid and a very stuffy old biddy from the parish. To tell you much more about the cast, I might give away the plot points that lead to a parade of vicars running through the vicarage (one of them in his underclothes!).

I was not familiar with most of the cast - but I was so excited to see my good friend Shelbie Filson playing the role of "old biddy" Miss Skillon. Shelbie is always talented, but this was a riot. Her facial expressions from the beginning of the show when she is sternly disapproving of "that woman" decorating the pulpit (which she has ALWAYS done!) until the very end of the show when ... oh, that's right. No spoilers. But watch that woman...she cracks me up.

The great thing about seeing a show at the Renaissance is that the setting is very intimate. The theatre seats about 100 people and I enjoyed a front row seat. At times I could have reached out and touched one of the performers. I understand they frown on I didn't. But I could hear every word of dialogue perfectly and felt like the show was unfolding just for me. It is a great experience.

I think I'm going to one more show this week (trying to, anyway) - E.C. Glass is staging Picasso at the Lapin Agile in the Alumni Theatre. Small theatre, so tickets will go quickly. It's a cool show where Einstein meets Picasso in a bar and they drink absinthe. If memory serves, Elvis shows up too. Or that could be the absinthe talking.

Get out and see live theatre - with three colleges, two high schools and a couple regional theatres - opportunities abound!

Saturday, April 27

Background became Foreground

I realized something tonight...and understood why my brother-in-law painted our living room alone instead of having us help him. It is physically painful to watch people do something you do well...when they do it so badly.

I worked as a professional theatre technician for 3 years. As a highly respected volunteer in the field for about 20 years. As a sound tech and sound consultant for about 15 years. When theatre tech is done right, the audience doesn't even know you exist. It is an exquisite dance between the performers and the support team but only one half is visible.

Techs are an interesting breed. We wear black. We arrive early and leave late. We drink our coffee black because we don't have time to chase down cream and sugar. We get the thrill from the applause and stand in the shadows knowing that part of that is ours. Acknowledgment is appreciated but we get our satisfaction from a different place. It is the smooth execution of the invisible plan that draws us back to the next performance and the next production.

When Patrick sees the poorly executed paint pains him. When I see a production where the performers pour their heart into their roles and it is overwhelmed by technical errors - I feel physically ill. 

To the performers I saw tonight - you did a good job. Some of you were incredible and some were adequate. Some I can't tell because I couldn't hear you, see you, or was distracted by weird backstage flaws. To my brother-in-law...I understand a bit better.

Hamster beaten...but not flown.

Wednesday, April 3

Question #1 usual crutch of Random Questions to spark creative thoughts. I hope you'll excuse me, was really sick last week and the incoming weather is giving me a headache. 1st question!

Would you rather go without junk food for a year or TV for year? Oh man...could that have been a week? I think I could go without either for a week (but not both, let's not get crazy) but a year is taking an enormous amount of consideration. I think that if I had to choose - I would have to give up the junk food. No! TV. NO! Junk food....wait, can we define junk food? Okay...I'd give up the TV. And watch shows on my computer. No? Is that cheating? I know this shouldn't be that hard. Maybe I've discovered what I need to consider for Lent next year! If I define junk food as candy bars and chips, I'd give those up. But if it includes all desserts and stuff like popcorn at the to give up the TV. So, I'll go with giving up TV. And that's my final answer. (of what I would rather give up...but I'm not doing either one).

Here's hoping for an easier question #2 (fingers crossed)

What is your favorite holiday? wait...haven't I answered that one before? (hang on, going to look) Apparently I have not...Well, I wandered back through posts till I got to sometime late last summer, and didn't find it. The question on the table, therefore, is: what is your favorite holiday? I'd like to come up with some smart ass answer like "Arbor Day" or "National Pickle Day" - and I'd like to avoid the really obvious ones like Christmas and Easter. Favorite...does my birthday count? Assuming that my birthday does NOT count as a favorite holiday then I will have to go with Memorial Day because it marks the beginning of summer. I love spending time at the Riva Howse and especially spending time IN the river - so Memorial Day is the beginning of that season. During Memorial Day weekend the family gets together and has classic picnic-type gatherings, although the food is often non-traditional. Last year we had Cuban sandwiches. I'm hoping for a repeat this year!

Last question for the night (you can follow all those little blue links and read old stuff...)

What is your morning routine? I wake up roughly 30 minutes before I have to leave the house. I put in my contacts and stare at an old episode of Charmed, Boy Meets World, Friends, and Fresh Prince (yes, all of the above...I get bored easily). I put on clothes in exactly the same order every morning. I go upstairs, put on shoes and go to work. It is not so much a routine as a habit. I guess if I gave up TV... the routine would change. Stupid question.

That deserves one more question, but I won't promise to answer it....

What was the last movie you saw? hmmm...oh right...Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. was alright. Lily Tomlin was good. Before that we saw Oz the Great and Powerful - which I thought was great! Saw it in 3D and for the first time in a long time there were effects that I thought were worth wearing the stupid glasses (meaning stuff flew at me). I understand the whole concept of depth of field and crisper visuals - but the glasses usually give me a headache and I think that if I have to get the headache I should at least have stuff flying at me. The snowy poppy field scene rocked.

Hamster not totally beaten, but gently pummeled.