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Tag Archives: 1912 Strike

Break a Lame?

On the brighter side, I found my shoes, along with a few other things I’d been missing.

On the darker side (not that I ever actually crossed over to The Dark Side, but that’s a whole other reference), this is going to be another foolish post, even for Lame Post Friday.  I can’t help myself!  I have a play tonight and I am flustered!!! (Yes, it needs all three exclamation points, Punctuation Police.)

One problem is I ate something too large for dinner and I am sick to my stomach.  It tasted good going down, but now its just sitting there, tormenting me.  Oh well, it should digest by curtain time.

Another problem, incidentally, is that there is no curtain.  And I don’t need to know my lines.  Strike Story is the reader’s theatre piece beautifully researched and written by Angela Harris about the textile mills strike in Little Falls in 1912.  There is no curtain because we are not doing it on a stage but in a banquet room in the Travelodge Inn and Suites in Little Falls.  I do so appreciate hiding behind a curtain when I am not actually on stage.  The entire cast is on stage for the entire show.  That makes it a fun and interesting acting challenge, because we get to react to everything that is going on.  But there is also no break and chance to hide.  Yes, I am this weird combination of great big ham and little bitty scaredy cat (not too little, but let’s not get into my dieting woes right now).

What I was saying to a friend at work is, this is an important show.  It is important to the writer, director and cast.  It has historical significance.  It is an honor to be in such a play, and it is a responsibility.  In other plays, if I screw up, I fix it as best I can, and I will probably laugh about it, either as it’s happening or later.  There is every chance the audience will laugh, too.  Of course, I always strive to NOT screw up.  It just seems especially important this time.

So this is my foolish blog post dithering about my pre-show jitters.  I have been going over my lines and thinking about my character all day.  And, as I mentioned earlier, I found the shoes I wanted to wear.  I wore a different pair for dress rehearsal, and they were all right, but the pair I found is better, yes!  I am now perfectly well prepared to break a leg.

 

Another Pre-Rehearsal Hasty Post

Well, it was going to be a Bad Attituesday no matter what anyways, but I’m afraid now I have to take a blogger’s sick day.  I have been feeling quite awful since last night, dizzy, nauseous, headache, body aches, stiffness… oh, sorry, now I’m going on and on, whining in a most unbecoming fashion.  I’m pretty sure it is my allergies, and I’m just going to have to ride it out.  Once when I had gastroenteritis, a doctor told me that the body can ride out an astonishing number of things if only you stay hydrated.  With that in mind, I drank water all day, with only the necessary amount of coffee thrown in, and now am sipping seltzer with lemon from a wine glass (woman cannot live by water alone) (at least, not this woman).

Where was I?  Did I mention I’m also feeling kind of out of it?  That’s just MARVELOUS news for me, since I have to drive myself to Little Falls in about a half hour for rehearsal for Strike Story.  I don’t suppose I mentioned Strike Story recently. It is a beautifully researched reader’s theatre piece about the 1912 textile workers strike in Little Falls, written by Little Falls resident Angela Harris.  It was the inaugural production of LiFT Theatre Company, first presented in 2012.  I had the good fortune to take part in it when Ilion Little Theatre imported the production in November of that year (I may have written  a few blog posts about it at the time).

Well, LiFT is reviving the play on Oct. 27 in Little Falls.  Unfortunately, a quick search as I type this does not give me further info as to time, ticket prices, etc.  However, this is a daily blog, so as soon as I find out more, I’ll write another post.  In the meantime, I’ve got to punch holes in my script and put it in a binder.  Thank God it’s reader’s theatre and I don’t have to learn all the lines!

Hmm… this is not the blog post I set out to write at all.  No matter, I have not time to rewrite it.  I hope to see you all tomorrow on Wuss-out Wednesday.

 

Strike Talk

Last fall I was in a readers’ theatre play called Strike Story, written by Little Falls, NY, resident Angela Harris. It told the story of the 1912 strike by Little Falls textile workers. Last Thursday Harris gave a lecture on the history of the strike at the Herkimer County Historical Society.

I had learned a lot about the strike by being in the play. However, I was sure there was more to learn. I was certain I had forgotten a lot from the play as well.

A small but interested crowd had gathered at 406 N. Main St. in Herkimer. Steven and I greeted some friends and found seats. A slide show accompanied the talk, showing many photographs of the period.

I guess I’d better not try to re-tell the whole talk as Harris gave it. For one thing, I would probably get some stuff wrong and embarrass myself. I would like to give a few highlights, however.

As in the play, Harris started her story before the workers actually walked off the job and the strike began. Little Falls was a manufacturing hub that was growing too fast for its own good. Soon Little Falls could beat New York City for bad tenements.

The people in the tenements were not complaining, but some attention was being paid. The Fortnightly Club, a group of civic-minded ladies further up the economic ladder, hired a contagion nurse to try to address the growing epidemic of tuberculosis. That was my part in the play.

Harris also talked about the Bread and Roses Strike in Lawrence, MA, which was remembered for its violence. That strike came before the one in Little Falls, and some of the Little Falls organizers tried to do some of the same things those strikers did.

Another new thing I learned was that there were Shoddy Mills, which got the cast offs from the other mills. That was where we get the term “shoddy workmanship.” I always like to hear about word origins.

We really enjoyed the talk. I asked Angela if she was writing any more plays. I should have asked if she intended to write a book about the strike. I’d buy that book. Maybe she could have a book signing at the Historical Society.