Archive for the ‘Local’ category

So you thought you might like to go to the show.

August 13, 2010

I went out to see a play at a local state park last night.  I should have realized that Thursday the Twelfth was not a good night to go out, but I did anyway.  I managed to get lost on the way – on a road I’ve driven many, many, many times.  After driving a distance that should have gotten me there, I found myself on a major highway halfway to my destination.  At least I knew where I was, and I also knew a shortcut to the park.  I got on a limited access highway and sped – in reference to speed, not speed laws, of course – to the exit I wanted, got off and had another car come flying up behind me.  I floored the gas pedal to try to keep him off my bumper.  Flying through the woods on a windy, two-lane road with ditches on both sides is not fun, at least for me.  The jerk about a foot behind me seemed to love it.  He finally passed me in a no-passing zone and got stuck behind a utility truck less than a quarter-mile ahead, allowing me to catch back up to him.  I finally got to the park and found a great spot in front of the stage.

A friend of mine in the show told me a few days before that I needed to come see it because it was actually good, unlike the last show – which she had also said was good.  When I questioned her about it further, she said this one was much better.  The last show was very entertaining, but no masterpiece.  The acting was good.  The production was quite good, given the limitations of the venue.  The script itself didn’t give much to produce greatness though.  It was quite humourous and the cast fully brought out that aspect of it.  Unfortunately it was not a really good show. – I made a point after the show of telling my friend that she didn’t have to lie about how good it was because I was going to come out to see her in it anyway, after which she insisted that she did need to say that and that it is “the greatest show EVER!” in a completely “I’m bulls*^@%ing you” tone of voice. – It was still well-worth the trip out to the park to see it though.

They say that teachers are awful students and doctors make the worst patients.  I’m starting to think that actors are not the best people to go see plays with.  There was commentary through large parts of the show, ranging from the this-ground-is-hard/I-need-to-move variety to the our-friend-totally-lied-to-us kind.  I still think the latter was a bit of an exaggeration – although the ground was quite hard in reference to the former.  I’ve noticed the same thing with other thespians as well though.  Come to think of it, it’s pretty common among the general population these days, so nevermind.

After the play, I stayed for a bit and talked.  Someone recognized me from Copa, despite my having a beard for disguise. – She actually said that she didn’t recognize me until someone pointed out that it was me. – I eventually began my trek back home, and that turned out to be even more exciting than the way to the park.

There was a heavy fog at the intersection where I needed to turn to take the fast way home, but I managed to get the turn anyway.  The fog was so thick though that I could barely see the road, and the next thing I knew – literally only about 45 seconds – I was back on the road I had just gotten off of and headed back towards the park.  I’m still not sure how I managed to do that.  I turned around, took my turn again and headed off in the right direction.  Everything looked normal, aside from the fog.  There was the hill on my left side, a creek on my right, lots of woods and occasionally a house.  I finally crossed over the overpass.  I looked down at all the lights passing under me and realized something.  I wasn’t supposed to cross the interstate.  I actually wasn’t even supposed to get NEAR the interstate.  At least I knew that if I kept going on that road, I’d run into a major highway and take that east to get home.  Eventually, I came across that highway and had an incredible urge to turn west and just drive for a couple of days.  That sort of thing happens with me.  After sitting at the stop sign for a minute or so, fighting that urge, I turned east and headed home.  An hour and three counties after leaving the park – which is half an hour from home and in the same county – I got back home and went to bed.

This morning, I find myself exhausted after only five hours of sleep.  It’s for mornings like this that Starbucks was founded.  You also know you’re tired when your venti bold-roast coffee looks like it’s only a grande.  It wasn’t until about halfway through it that it started to look like the right size.  One thing I discovered last night that never would have if I hadn’t gotten lost is that Billy Joel’s For the Longest Time has to be the perfect song to warm up my tenor register to.  If I hadn’t spent that long driving home, I never would have come to that song on my iTouch playlist.

reconnecting

July 13, 2010

What’s going on here?  Where have I been?  Okay.  That’s a question that could be asked of my blog on a regular basis.  I have lots of ideas.  I have another World Cup post, if I can get around to typing it in the next few days.  I had a great discussion with a friend of mine about a month or so ago about a hugely popular song that was amazingly not found offensive to the vast majority of Americans.  That can sit until another day.  I sat in a bar talking with a preacher, a wrestler and a NASA engineer, and there’s no punchline.  That was after talking to a couple of interesting women and some guys in the band of a 70s and 80s rock star a couple hours earlier.  I may just keep that story to myself, though.  I’m sure I’ve also forgotten at least twice that many posts that I intended to write when I got the time.  Instead I think I’m going to talk about being found by old friends.

Rediscovering old friends has been a common occurrence since the creation of facebook.  Everybody can find everybody else, and it’s made even easier by the massive amounts of information that we all seem to put out there without thinking twice about it.  After all, we’re all “friends” on facebook!  I’ve noticed something else over the past couple of years though.  I’m running into old friends in real life, and strangely it usually happens at the bar.  People I knew in high school keep showing up at the bars in town.  I’ve run into most of them at karaoke night, since that’s when I’m most likely to go to the bar. – I just can’t seem to miss a chance to perform… unless I’m tired, which is not all that uncommon.

The first person was a friend of mine in the band.  I hadn’t realized he was still in town until he belted out a song and another friend recognized him.  We’ve caught up, and he still seems the same as he was back in the day.  I’ve bumped into a girl I knew from high school, and she’s changed quite a bit.  She was the last person I would have expected to see in a bar down the road, but you never know sometimes.  I saw another friend who lives almost 200 miles away at another bar in town, when I was talking to the bartender about entertainment acts he was getting to come in to perform.  He was in town for a couple of weeks for vacation.  Most recently I bumped into a friend, who moved across the country a couple years ago.  We lost touch, but she’s back in town now.  We were both there to listen to a jazz duo play.

Then there are the friends whom you never actually met, just drift away from and then suddenly rediscover out there.  One of those found me over the weekend.  We never met face-to-face, but we shared intimate details with each other.  This sharing wasn’t exclusive to each other, but it did build a bond, at least on my side.  Eventually the dynamic changed as “conversation” became twitter feeds.  The style of the relationship changed with it, and I stopped reading what she had to say for awhile.  Now, over a year later, she reconnected.  I’ve started reading what she has to offer again.  I’ve also discovered that although tweets cannot hold my interest or make me keep a connection, sometimes a lot can be said in 140 characters or less.  I’m not mentioning you by name right now, but I’m thinking of you, praying for you and sending love your way.  I’ve never been through what you’re going through and I refuse to resort to cliche’s, but I hope you find the love and courage to persevere and look back on the good times fondly.

next season

May 28, 2010

The ACTC Theatre banquet is tonight, which means next season’s theatre schedule will be announced tonight.  The programming committee has done a pretty good job so far of keeping next season’s shows pretty quiet, although there are some rumors.  Of course when I started hearing speculation almost two months ago, I couldn’t help but put in my two cents.  While the rumors I heard were completely plausible – and one or two are very likely – I believe mine are a whole lot more fun, even if none of those rumors ever took flight.  Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

Starlight Express – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s tale of a toy train come to life.  This one might be plausible if it weren’t for the fact that the actors are supposed to perform wearing roller skates.

Rent – Jonathan Larson’s rock opera about the life of several artists struggling to survive in New York City’s slums over the course of a year.  The subjects of homosexuality, drug use and AIDS are just what’s needed to bring in the crowds in eastern Kentucky.

Les Miserables – Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer wrote Les Mis based on the Victor Hugo novel of revolutionaries in France in the early 1800s.  While it is an exciting show and would certainly draw a crowd, it would be nearly impossible to put together a cast large enough to pull it off, not to mention the insane cost of building the sets and getting props for the barricade scene alone.

The Producers – Mel Brooks’ tale of two Broadway producers striving to get rich by creating a musical so bad it has to fail.  This show could actually be performed, but the kicker was my suggestion that we would get Matthew Broderick to reprise his role as Leo Bloom for our performances.

Twilight: The Musical – As a revenue boost, this show would bring in the teenage girls night after night after night.  It could probably even run a third weekend in this town.  If only show existed – and Twilight had a better story.

Avenue Q, Jr. – Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s Avenue Q is the story of people and monsters, mostly in their early 20s, living about 11 blocks farther into Alphabet City in New York than those folks from Rent.  The show includes a cast largely comprised of puppets and songs about homosexuality, having loud sex, racism, life having no purpose, pornography, and enjoying the suffering of others.  What could be more likely than that to offend the fine folk of eastern Kentucky?  The only thing I could think of was to have it performed by children – thus, Avenue Q, Jr.

Tonight I’ll find out if next season’s shows will include roller skates, vampires or singing puppets, and I’ll be sure to let you all know.  In the meantime, what other shows should I have suggested?

Election Day

May 18, 2010

Today was election day.  I did my civic duty by looking up whatever information I could find on the internet about the candidates then going to vote.  What I could find was limited.  It was pretty easy to get information for two of the senate candidates.  One is currently the Commonwealth’s secretary of state.  The other is the son of Ron Paul, who ran for president two years ago.  All I could read about the others is that they are Christians and believe the country needs to turn back to God.  I never could find anything about the candidates running for the other position on the ballot aside from a blurb in the newspaper saying that they had filed to run.  With that in mind, I voted for the one I had met a couple years ago.  I don’t remember disliking him for any particular reason.

The voting itself is what I am intending to talk about though.  Before today, I had only voted on two different voting machines in my life – as well as filling as absentee ballots.  Both were electronic with lights beside the person you had said you wanted to vote for, and both machines allowed you to go back and change your vote if you realized you marked the wrong person – or just changed your mind because you remembered something about one of them.  Today, I expected to use one of those machines.  (The precinct still had one of the ones from a decade ago in case one of the others malfunctions.)

Instead when I walked in and signed my name on the registry, I was handed a paper ballot.  I was instructed to go behind a screen and fill in the bubbles with a black pen.  At this point, I started thinking that this: A) seems like a step back in preventing vote counting errors and B) feels like high school all over again.  As much as I like so many people from high school, I don’t want to be back in it – as a student at least.  I finished filling in my bubbles quickly because I had only two to fill in and took the sheet to a little black box.

I’m sure this box is a scanner.  It made scanner-like sounds when I put my ballot in it and after it went all the way through, a little flag popped up on a screen and said “Thank you for voting.”  While I’m sure it was a scanner, it looked much more like a paper shredder.  I’m hoping my vote actually gets counted instead of composted.

While voting, I also thought back to my days of filling out those forms in school.  I remember being told to fill it in completely with a No. 2 pencil.  The reason, I was told, is because the scanners can’t pick up on ink or crayon or wite-out pen.  I also remember being told that if I went outside the lines, the machine could register it as filling in a different bubble or two bubbles.  I even remember finding out that was true and having to get a grade changed a time or two.  Has Scantron technology really improved so much that we want to use it for voting?  I have my doubts.  In fact, I think I might actually prefer the ballots to be hand-counted.  Oh, well.  I did my civic duty today and can sleep well tonight.

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April 30, 2010

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On wrapping up the show

April 23, 2010

Copacabana is over.  Our last show was Sunday afternoon.  By 10 PM Sunday night, the set had been struck.  It was sad to see it end so quickly.  While we were all exhausted and my voice still needs a little more time to fully recover from the late nights, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little teary-eyed to see it all come down.

I auditioned for the show to knock something off of my bucket list.  It was to right a decision I had regretted – pretty much the only one I regretted – since college.  I expected to get a minor role at best when I walked into the audition.  After the audition, I didn’t expect to be much more than human scenery and an extra voice for the chorus.  Instead, I landed a major role.  Over the next nine and a half weeks, I went from being terrified about the work it would take to bring about the role and only knowing one other person there to feeling insecure about my abilities and having gotten to know a half-dozen people to feeling confident and having lots of new friends.  All of the performances were great with the possible exception of one that was a bit sketchy.  Even that one was fun because all of us had to be on our toes the entire time.  Doing Copacabana also reminded me of how much I love performing for people.  Fine.  I’m an exhibitionist.  There!  I said it.

What I loved the most about the show were the wonderful people I got to spend all those nights with.  There were late rehearsals and then there were rehearsals when we stayed late just so we could stand around and talk.  There were very few nights when I was home before 10 PM, and there were many when I was not home until well after midnight.  Yes.  That is with work the next day so I never quite got enough sleep.  As Heather noted about a month into rehearsals, I was a bit – or quite on the evening she brought it up –  irritable from the lack of sleep.  Still, to be with these people was entirely worth it.

Lindsay is the person who told me I should come and audition for Copacabana.  Actually, she wanted me to audition for A Christmas Carol, but I had WAY to much going on at church to do that show.  Before I digress further, Lindsay and I went to high school together.  We were in band together for a couple of years and reconnected on facebook in the fall.  That’s how I heard about the college theater having been restarted after an unfortunate incident a several years ago and about Blood Brothers, the play she was in.  I saw it on the last night, and thought it was a great production.  After talking to her about it, she told me that I should audition for future shows.  That’s how I ended up going out for auditions.  Lindsay was one of the people that I spent many of the late nights talking to.

While Lindsay was someone I could talk to from the first day, Allie was not.  On the night of read-through, Allie sat beside me and gave me all sorts of crap.  Granted, I dished it back out from time to time.  It didn’t get better through the first music rehearsals either.  I thought he was abrasive and rude, and I generally avoided him as much as possible.  Over the course of the production, I realized that – like another friend of mine – this was his way of being friendly.  If he didn’t like me, he either would have ignored me or been quite hateful instead of abrasive.  One of Allie’s best features is his honesty.  While most people will respond to a question like “How am I doing?” with simple praise, Allie will give an honest and straight-forward answer, and he’ll follow it with advice on how to improve what you’re working on.  Although most people can’t handle an Allie, he’s somebody that I’ll take on my side any day of the week and twice on Sundays.  (Those matinees can be killers!)

Brian reminds me a lot of me.  He’s laid back.  He stays on top of gossip and drama but he doesn’t seek out opportunities to spread it.  Brian has a great sense of humor.  He can hit you on the side of the face with a joke or he can subtly insert humor into almost any situation.  Despite this ability, he is someone who can sit down and have a serious conversation about nearly anything.  He is one of the few people who never lost control over their emotions through the entire run.  (I’ve learned that there’s a lot of drama in theater.)

Tiffany – like Brian – was one of the younger adults in the cast.  She nearly always had a smile on her face and felt at home with her youthful side.  Tiffany was always there for the kids in the show, whether they needed a ride somewhere or wanted to talk to someone.  Tiffany is also a huge UK fan, so in a cast of people who largely didn’t care about sports, it was great to have someone to talk to about the tournament.

Greg amazed me with his dedication to the performance.  While scenes were being blocked, he could be seen standing to the side diagramming everything that was happening.  If he was in the scene, as soon as he went off stage, he had his notebook out writing down what just happened.  Even after everybody else had set their books aside, Greg continued to go over his lines and notes.  Despite the fact that he must have known it by heart for weeks, even during the final shows, he could still be found in the dressing room leafing through the script or blocking.  Greg was a great reminder to keep my head in the show even while there was chaos and revelry backstage.

Lauren genuinely cared about what was going on with people – not in a wanting gossip way but rather in a how-are-you-really-doing kind of way.  She is immensely talented as well.  In fact even at just 15 years of age, I think she was one of the most talented people in the show.  She can get in touch with her sensitive side and her fears, but she also knows how to pour on the comedy when the time comes for it.  There were several times she almost had me laughing on stage during performances.  Lauren also did an excellent job doing my eye makeup for about half the shows.

Caroline and Haley are two of the most outgoing, friendly young women I’ve ever met.  From day one, they were welcoming to the ensemble.  They possessed a genuine excitedness that was easy to feed off of, and they made me feel a part of the group faster than anyone else.  Caroline’s talent rivals that of Lauren, and she never let show if she was disappointed to not get a leading role.  Haley is no slouch herself when it comes to talent, and I’m certain her abilities will blossom in future shows as she gets more time on stage.

Andrew and Blaine always looked to make things a game.  They might be making up dance moves or competing to see who could drop the fewest screws during work call, but there was always something going on with them.  They also had a way of drawing in others to their entertainment, which made some of the long days and nights much more enjoyable.

One of the names that never appeared in the program is that of Kelsey.  Kelsey is another of the young ladies from the production who really stands out from her peers.  While she possesses the youthful qualities of her age of 16 when it comes to joy and curiosity, she also shares the maturity and interest of a woman twice her age at times.  Kelsey is wicked awesome with an eyeliner pencil, too, being the only person who could use it on me without bringing tears to my eyes.  (Hey!  It’s not like I use those things a whole lot, here!)

I’ve only scratched the surface of how amazing these people have been over the past two and a half months.  I’ve also not even mentioned so many people from the cast, who I have grown close to – and if you’re reading this, your exclusion should not be taken personally.  I’m sure I’ve already lost the attention of the few people who normally read this blog! – through the production.  I also never mentioned Paula, who did amazing things with the costumes for the show, or Ed, who was like the circus master, turning three rings of absolute madness into the vision portrayed on stage, or the many, many other people who made Copacabana happen.  I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of them, even if they were not mentioned specifically here.

Now that the show has been over for five days, I find that I miss it so much.  I miss the fun.  I miss the performing.  Mostly though, I miss the people.  I was lucky enough to get to see several of them last night when I went to see another play featuring a couple of them.  It was amazing.  As great as the performance was, the best part was still seeing and talking to my new friends, even if we did end up out until after 1 in the morning.  Now, I’ll just wait until the banquet in a month to see everyone again and find out what next year may hold in store.  Until the fall, I’ll have my memories of the work, the lost sleep, the pain, the joy, the friendships that were and will forever be to me…

Copacabana.

At the Copa…..

April 13, 2010

Copacabana has nearly run its course.  After weeks and weeks of rehearsal and the first weekend of performances down, I’ve come away with quite a bit.  I’ve been amazed at how much fun I’ve had.  Part of that is just that the show itself is fun, but much more importantly, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with everybody on the set.  There’s been a lot of hard work, long hours and a bit of blood.  There’s also been fun and games, long conversations after rehearsals and excellent meals with great new friends.

Now I find myself in a place where it all ends after Sunday.  We’ve had a couple of days off to rest and mend.  We have a final rehearsal on Thursday, and then three more shows this weekend.  It feels like spring break from my senior year of college: hanging out at home instead of at school with all my friends, looking forward to all the fun of that last push, but also dreading the end when we all go in separate directions.  Some will be back in the fall when the new season starts.  Others will be leaving to go other places.

As for me, I don’t know what’s to come.  I’ve loved this experience so much that I want to keep doing it.  I also have the other things that I’ve mentioned previously that I want to do.  A couple of people are wanting me to audition for the summer series for another theater next week.  Maybe I’ll look into that and see if I still have the acting bug after that’s over.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ll remain excited about the final three performances of Copacabana.  Some family and friends have said that they’ll be coming to the show this weekend, so that’s all the more to look forward to!