Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spring Play

My spring play has officially gotten underway. It is called "Steppin' Out". The story line revolves around 9 members of a community dance class, held in an old church basement. The members' lives and trials come out as they gather each week for lessons. Their lives are transformed when at the end,they do their performance, and they turn into fabulous dancers. A true "rags to riches" type story!

We are casting this over the weekend and will begin practice next week. We drew out a lot of talent for this show, and it was hard to choose among the many talented people for the character's roles.

And of course, I'm costuming it. So that will be fun. And I am the assistant director, known as the AD. I've already goofed up a couple of times on that role, so I'd better get sharpened up for some better performance as the webmaster.

You will hear about this through the blog as we work toward our April 17th opening date.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Girl

About two weeks ago, I was approached to host an international student in my home. The home, being a total wreck after 6 weeks of costuming following Christmas, was not in any shape for anyone to come any further inside than the front door mat. But I managed to scrape up the threads from the rugs, clean the bathroom, and put the dirty dishes into the diswasher, just to make it through the first day with my new roommate.

She is from Korea, has been here for 6 months and will stay until the end of the semester. She is a delightful young woman, very fluent in English, and with a lot of talent. When she practices the piano, I think I have Chopin or Mozart living right in my living room. She is an artist, a floutist, and is taking Spanish. She knows how to do radio and Tv production--where can I stop with naming her talents?

We've managed to adjust to each other's schdules, which seems to be the hardest thing to coordinate, since I am her source of transportation. She hasn't made me late for school any day, and I haven't made her late on her days to go when I don't need to go.

The M & M's met her last week. Mommy had taught them how to say hello in Korean, but they were too shy to say it. They played together that evening, and B gave them a little gift from Korea that night. Now Little Girl M calls her "my girl". She said, "Grandma, is your girl at your house?" "Grandma, where's your girl?" "Grandma, what's your girl's name?" (She forgot.) They've seen B three times now, and they really like her.

So I may have "my girl" for a while. She seemed to be shifting about from one host family to another but I hope she can stay here until she has to go back to Korea. She is missing her little doggie at home, and my nasty cat won't let her pet him without lashing out with a swipe of the paw or a snap of the teeth. I hope we can get over the homesickness part of her trip, but I know she misses her family. I am so glad to get to know someone well from Asia--she is a wonderful person to share some time with.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Sage on the Stage

In my writing class, the assignment for the next two weeks is to research a famous person in civil rights history and write a 2-3 page paper about his or her life. The persons I've listed to choose from are Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Dred Scott, or Barack Obama.

The 20 students from SE Asia are given many opportunities to take field trips, so we designed a field trip to Springfield, IL to see the Lincoln Museum. This newly opened museum is awesome in its reality and scope of learning. This learning experience could hopefully enhance their research for the paper.

The students went all through the museum, and saw Abraham Lincoln's life from beginning to end. The displays, audio-visual productions and live performances were awesome! I've heard from others how well done this museum is, and they were right. It was wonderful.

After we toured the museum, we went to the Illinois State Capital. We got a tour of the building, including the House of Representatives, Senate and Governor's mansions. Then the questions started to come my way. What is a governor? How is thie person chosen? Why are there two rooms for the House and Senate? What's the difference between these two groups? Who chooses these people? How long do they stay in office? And who is the Governor?

The answer the last question will stump anyone, since a new one is only been in office a couple of days! (See last weeks late night TV shows for a shot of the old governor trying to convince the world he isn't a crook.) The rest of the questions were answered in a 15 minute civics lecture harking back to my 7th grade social studies teacher days. For some of the students, the soft chairs we were given to sit in lulled them into a nice naptime, but for others it sparked about 20 minutes of questions. Especially pointed questions were thrown at me by two very interested scholars, seeking to understand the whole idea of representative government from beginning to end!

I felt like Socrates, sitting in the marble hallways, with interested students surrounding me, asking me questions. Thank heaven I knew the answers to most of the questions. One young man got a booklet--Your government at work--so he could really make sure I was telling the truth and not faking it!

It was a long day, from 6:15 a.m. when I left my house, to a train ride to Springfield, then walking the streets of Springfield for about 6 hours, to the train ride home and back in my house by 7:45 p.m. But it was a good day, and I really felt like the students learned something. At least from their questions, they really seemed interested.....

...more than most American students are when they are taught the same lessons....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm officially done!

Tonight was dress rehearsal for "Don't Drink the Water". And it was my official sign off for being done with this play. So I get a reprieve from my costuming duties.

At least for 4 days, until Monday night, when we hold auditions for "Steppin' Out". Once that is cast, then I get to start sewing red white and blue costumes for lady tap dancers!

But, I'll enjoy the rest while I have it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Two down, one more to go

Today, my two shows that I costumed closed. Prelude to a Kiss and Sound of Music are but a pleasant memory.

Now, Don't Drink the Water starts next Friday. I'm about done sewing, or so I think. I'm going to bring the stuff to the theatre tomorrow, and we'll go from there to see what we need.

The end of this long run of stuff to do is in sight. Hope I'm not speaking too soon!

Someone to pray for...

If you have a little extra time to pray, you might want to send a few heaven-ward for this little guy, William.

You can see his blog at this site. He is 18 months old and has neuroblastoma. He is very sick. His mom was pregnant, and because of the stress, gave birth 6 weeks early to his little brother. So this family has two kids in the ICU in the hospital. Makes things a little tough right now.

We can whine and complain about the snow, too much work, broken pipes, and other broken things. But if we have our health, we can count those blessings. This little guy is fighting for his life.

He is the great-great nephew of some dear friends of mine, who are Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, KS., who gave me the news about the family needing prayers.

We all wish little William well, and hope he gets through his therapies OK. He's got a long road ahead for a little boy.

Did your team win?

Mine didn't.

But at least it wasn't a blowout, and was a really exciting game!

Besides, I love Kurt Warner, he is an all-American sports hero, not an obnoxious over-indulged over-paid idiot, who thinks he is the end of the world for all people. Kurt attributes his success to working as a teammate with his fellow Cardinals, and he gives his due to Jesus. Good guy.

The Glorious Sounds of Music

Last night, I got to see the play "The Sound of Music" put on by the local high school alumni group. They offered the nicest dinner, then the show afterward, so it was a lovely evening. This is the show that I did costumes for.

For my costuming efforts, I was offered a nice thoughtful gift of two free tickets to this show, including a dinner! My theatre buds were all busy, so I went alone, but was highly entertained by the whole evening.

The dinner was delicioius. This was a Catholic event, so, unbeknownst to me, it was also a BYOB affair! I had just found a bottle of Korbel Rose Brut, which I had been looking for for two months, and found it at a local quick store/liquor store that I can see from my house! I was just dying for a taste of it, and could have shared it with my tablemates--Darn, if I'd only known!

Then the show began. My friend LM, who was the one who brought me into the costuming picture for this group last year, was the assistant producer. But more than that, she is the mother of the lead female actress, who played Maria. Last year, this poor girl had to undergo back surgery a month before the performance, and was in intense pain, so she couldn't participate in the show. This year, she got the lead, and she was fabulous! She and her sister, who is a grad of this school, are dancers, and her sister is a fabulous dance teacher. Her sister choreographed/assistant directed the show.

Their little brother, who is in 7th grade also was in the production. He was Kurt, one of the vonTrapp kids. He did a very nice job with his singing and dancing roles. I sat at the table with the whole family, Mom and Dad M, Grandma, 2 aunts and a great aunt. I could just feel their pride as they watched their progeny sing and dance and entertain.

I always think parents of kids whose talents are displayed in plays or other areas, such as sporting events, must think of the many lessons they brought their kids to. They have to think of the work they had to do to support the kids' efforts and failures over the years of hard work. All of this goes behind a successful leading role like this young lady played in the Sound of Music. I was proud for them, and found myself with a quivering jaw and near tears throughout the whole show, just knowing them, and what they've had to go through to get their aspiring actors and actresses to this point. And I was proud for them.

This year's production was very fine. The singing and acting was great. They had a nice crop of very talented and confident singers in this show. Captain vonTrapp and the Baroness were reprised actor and actress from the same show that had been done in the past, and they still have it as far as talent to be shared. Max was the comic relief, and he was very good. Each of the vonTrapp kids had their own personalities that came out, and they were excellent. But Mother Superior of the Abbey was the most outstanding of all. She is a trained singer, and is the musical director of the show (her hubby is the director). She had trained her group to sing well, and she herself blew us away with Climb Every Mountain (I'm getting choked up just thinking about it!) She looked the part except for the French Manicure on her hands! And I know her well enough to know that she has Elvis tatooed on her ankle! What we don't know about our Mother Superiors!

So, good show to you all! You gave us all an excellent evening of entertainment.

By the way, the kids looked great, I'll post pictures when I figure out how to get them off my iPhone camera!

Ghosts of Christmas Past

The month of January is over, and Christmas is a very distant memory for me. I think MOST of the bills incurred during the last minute flurry of shopping are paid for, although there may be a stray one on the Visa bill that just came in yesterday. But, I'm glad January is over, it is the month I dread the most. February usually harbors a day or two with a hint of spring in the air, although there can be some mighty wicked winter blasts during February also.

Remember Feb. 1982, when our area was paralyzed under about 18" of snow. We were snowed in for a week! It's legendary in our neck-of-the-woods, the mid-west!

So all that talk about snow leads me to think that Christmas celebrations should really be over by now! Of course, my BFF just celebrated Christmas with her one daughter this past weekend, but my guess is the only sign of Christmas at this celebration was maybe some Christmas paper, CERTAINLY NOT A CHRISTMAS TREE!

But some people just don't get the message, IT'S OVER, FOLKS! On Friday night, I went to a church gathering in a nice part of town, where old Victorian homes are kept up-to-date by the tender loving care of their owners. Here I saw a complete outside display of lights, all Christmasy in color, still brightly shining all around this home. I must say, it stands out in the neighborhood now, as the only one that is lit up by anything but a 75 watt porchlight.

Then last night, on my way home from the play, I saw a triptyck (triple) window with two candelabra in the side windows, flanking a window with a lit up Christmas tree in it! COME ON, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR CALENDAR? CHRISTMAS IS OVER!

Now I must admit, my Christmas items just got put away this past week, but at least I didn't have the nerve to light them up since the first week in January. And one day last week, my outdoor Christmas lights on the eaves disappeared, the company that installs them took them away some time during the day. So, if it is over for me, IT SHOULD BE OVER FOR EVERYBODY!

So let's see who can see the last Chrismas display of the year. I'll post when I see one, and you can comment if you see one.

My mother-in-law, God bless her soul, loved Christmas so much, she kept her tree up til her birthday. That was Feb. 16. Who can top that record?