Me, twenty years ago. Wasn't I pathetically skinny?
So right now, my family is all about the theater.
For those who don't know, I've set aside the next six months to go back to directing, something I've done at a local college near Eldredge for three out of the past four years, starting right after Jose and I separated. I took a year off last year to finish "The Late Night Show"...and, of course, I'm glad I did!
The show I agreed to direct is Anything Goes . As you can see, it holds a few memories for me. I played the role of Billy (the lead) in my senior year high school production. Of course, I can't say I really enjoyed the experience as much as I could have, because I spent much of the time in the grips of unrequited love for the ship's purser. But that's a story for another day.
This time around, I'm determined to have as much fun as possible. I'm only happy if my shows take on the quality of a three ring circus, and I definitely want that this time round. So, I sent out the following email about it to some of my theater friends last week:
Please consider this your official invitation--right from the director--to join the party! I'm returning to the captain's deck after a year off from the Eldredge Players, and of course, Judee and Courtney are on board as the cruise directors...I mean, co-choreographers, and Tony's on board as Isaac, the ship's bartender. He'll also be the musical director, of course.
Get involved--I promise you won't be disappointed! This show is going to be a whole lot of fun. I've got a number of insane ideas planned that are going to make this production really stand out. My goal is to make sure that a splendid time is guaranteed for all, and that we take the name of the play VERY seriously. One thing you'll quickly realize: this isn't your mama's version of Anything Goes!
And how am I going to shake things up? Well, with things along the line of:
--I'll have the cast literally boarding my ship from the back of the auditorium, and walking up the deck onto the stage
--The orchestra will be seen in silhouette through a scrim, behind the set
--When the ship "sets sail," I'm having the "bystanders" throw confetti from the catwalks...and I'm thinking of handing it out to the audience, as well
--I'm determined to cast one of the characters--Mrs. Harcourt--as a man in drag.
--I'm turning another character, Irma, into a Cyndi Lauper proto-punk
--I'm making "You're the Top" a multi-media show, projecting images of the items in the song ("Bendle bonnet, Shakespeares sonnet, etc) onto the columns to the left and right of the stage
--I'm making one number, "All Through the Night," a scene where the chorus will come out in their pajamas to sing along.
--I'm turning another number, "Let's MisBehave," into a huge seduction that ultimately breaks down Sir Evelyn's resistance and brings out the Gypsy in him.
..and there's much more! As I said, I want to live up to the words "Anything Goes," and make this show FUN.
That extends to rehearsals. For the first night, when we have the script read, and most of the ensemble just sits there listening to the leads, I'm going to hand out bags of popcorn. For the two weeks after that, when we focus on the music alone, I've grouped everything into themes. On the night that we learn "All through the Night," I'm going to hold a pajama party. And of course, I'll be wearing my red martini jammies.
Auditions are next week. I'll go dressed normally, so that I don't scare anybody.
Josie, in the meantime, tried out for a play last week, and was cast! And then, when she went to pick up her script, she was asked to stage manage another show. Thankfully, her rehearsals are Sunday, Monday, and Wednesdays, and mine are Tuesday and Thursdays.
I'm glad for her. I think she needs a change of pace. And on that note, we also are moving forward with finalizing the divorce.
It's funny how things happen, innit? In any event, expect a whole lot of theater stories from me in the forseeable future...