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A Slice of My Life

Well, what’s wrong with another late post?  These things happen.  And it’s not as if I have a lot of things to say.  But maybe I can come up with a few.

A slice of my life.

Ah, coffee, the magic elixir which makes all things possible. Since I have developed a prejudice against making posts with no pictures, I offer this.  I purposefully selected a local mug for the purpose.  Herkimer Home, of General Herkimer who heroically died from wounds sustained in the Battle of Oriskany, is in Little Falls, NY.  It is a wonderful historic site I hope to visit again.

The lantern was purchased by my husband, ostensibly for use in Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play he directed at Ilion Little Theatre, but actually because he thought it looked cool.  I later used it in Much Ado About Nothing with LiFT, Little Falls Theatre Company.

I’m the mean-looking one on the left.

Here I am in Much Ado.  You can just barely see the lantern by the wall on the right.  My partner and I took these evildoers into custody.  I famously ran back to grab the lantern while my evildoer stared at me in disbelief.  I threatened him with the pitchfork as I ran back to him.  It was one of my all-time favorite pieces of stage business.

Under the lantern (going back to the first picture) are scripts I have been reading in hopes of future theatrical endeavors, along with a book I think my Dad might like.

These are my thoughts as I sip coffee and wait for my Sunday to start.  I hope all of you had grand Saturday.

 

Wrist to Forehead Sick Day

I am sorry if it is tiresome to hear a grown blogger continue to moan and groan about a sinus condition.  Here I am, moaning and groaning away.  And just barely trying to make a blog post.  This will never do.  Maybe I can pep up the post and myself with a few pictures.

“Oh woe is me!”

Here is our skeleton Bonita, in a true wrist to forehead pose.  I don’t know what a skeleton has to get so dramatic about, but then, she may have all sorts of worries to which I am not privy.  I try to give my toys their privacy.

“Oh shame! Oh degradation!”

And here I am, with my wrist to my forehead in a wonderfully dramatic moment from Dirty Work at the Crossroads, an 1890’s melodrama my talented husband Steven directed at Ilion Little Theatre.  Goodness, was it almost seven years ago?  How the time flies.

Threaten me with an axe, will ya?

I was looking for Joan Crawford with an axe, because I have a splitting headache, but I came across this axe pic first (see what I did there?  axe pic, like pick axe?  well, I thought it was funny). This is me and a few others in Roxy, a play about a local historical murder.  For those of you who don’t know, that is my husband (in the play, obviously it’s not Steven) threatening me with the axe, but he is the one that ends up getting chopped.  Good memories.

I will be happy when this sinus infection is just a distant memory.  In the meantime,  I’ll try to make a better blog post tomorrow.

 

Not Necessarily a Dramatic Post

I went running this morning, thinking I could do a Sunday Running Commentary.  It did not go well.  I went for a walk with my husband a little while ago, thinking I could do a Pedestrian Post.  It was a lovely walk, but that’s about all I can say about it.  Next time I’ll go when it isn’t so close to sundown, bring my tablet along, and get some pictures.  That’s always fun.  Well, this cannot be the day I do not make a blog post.  This is a daily blog, dammit, and I post daily.

Oh dear, that is quite the wrong attitude for Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  I must be pose dramatically, about to swoon, and moan, “The blog must go on!”

This is not me, but I have been known to get this dramatic for the flimsiest of reasons.

I just spent an inordinate amount of time searching for a photo I could use for illustration.  This is not quite what I wanted, but I think it will do.  It is from The Great American Melodrama.  I found it in a group of public photos after searching Facebook for “melodramatic poses.”  I was in a melodrama once and enjoyed it quite a bit.  My husband directed.

I’m the one in the fur.

Here is one of me in a melodrama: Dirty Work at the Crossroads at Ilion Little Theatre, back in 2013, if I remember correctly (don’t expect me to look it up on Wrist to Forehead Sunday).  This is not my most dramatic scene, but apparently nobody photographed that one.  I actually did put my wrist to my forehead to declaim, “Oh shame! Oh degradation!”  It was one of my favorite moments on stage ever.

Well, what a silly post this is turning out to be.  I’ve blathered on for some 300 words, shared a couple of pictures, and not said a whole heck of a lot.  Well, what can you do on a Sunday?  I’ll try to do something better that I can write about tomorrow.  In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the end of your weekend.  I am

 

With Apologies

Yesterday I went to the Dirty Work at the Crossroads cast party feeling drained but happy. Well, that didn’t last.

I don’t believe I mentioned that my husband Steven got sick with a stomach bug last Monday. He thought it was something he ate, but I heard there was Something Going Around. I felt a little ill to my stomach that Monday and figured that was the worst that would happen to me. Ha!

Saturday night it hit two cast members. According to one of the sufferers, one had it coming out one end, one had it coming out the other. A crew member procured some ginger ale for them. The other crew member opened the dressing room door and let them sit outside in the cool air, which also helped. Another cast member had some stomach problems but concluded it was just nerves. My stomach fluttered a little, but I figured it was sympathy. I have a very suggestible body (although for a while now I’ve been suggesting to it that it lose ten pounds, to no avail).

So Sunday, there I was, sipping a little white wine, eating some chips and dip. Steven procured me a cup of coffee, since my body REALLY wanted to sleep. I would just like to insert here: I poured myself a small portion of wine which I did not finish. So any of you who just zeroed in on the wine and was saying, “Well, THERE’S your problem!” can just keep quiet.

And then it started to come over me. I asked Steven to take me home. We only live about ten minutes away from Ilion Little Theatre. I apologized profusely for being such a wimp. I’m convinced that if it had happened to me during one of the performances, I could have persevered. I also feel fortunate that this theory was not put to the test.

I spent the next thirty or so hours between my bed and the bathroom. Not to be disgusting, but it was coming out of both ends (luckily not at the same time). My head hurt so bad I couldn’t stand it. My back hurt so bad I couldn’t stand it. In short, I was a big huge baby but felt I had cause.

And yet, I must do a blog post every day. It is my rule for myself. I kept thinking I would just type in three sentences of an excuse and be done with it. Then I felt some slight relief in my symptoms. Dare I say I feel better? I don’t want to jinx it, because I’ve felt that way a couple of times already, only to be disappointed.

At any rate, I turned on the computer, got to wordpress.com and started typing. This is the result. I had not meant to be so lengthy about it, but, well, these things happen. I hope tomorrow to be feeling better enough that I can do a blog post I will actually edit.

Pre-Party Post

OK, it is not Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I had at least three Mohawk Valley adventures yesterday as well as watching a fairly cheesy movie so I indeed have things I could write about about. And yet. And yet.

Last night was closing night of Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play I was in at Ilion Little Theatre. I’m tired.

Just as an aside: there was a moment in the play where I actually put my wrist to my forehead. My line was, “Oh shame! Oh degradation!” It was a melodrama. I got a little melodramatic.

Steven (my husband and the play’s director) and I spent this morning running around, trying to get ready for the cast party at one (my gyrations cooking refreshments may form the basis of a blog post later this week) (preview of coming attractions). We have a little over an hour before we have to head out.

I can just hear one of you (oh, all right, it probably isn’t one of you, it’s probably that pesky critic in my head) saying, “Well, there, that’s sixty minutes you have to be writing something brilliant, or at least readable, or at least NOT yet another post about Why I Can’t Write a Post Today.”

In the first place, it isn’t sixty minutes, because I have to keep running downstairs to stir the chicken wings.

The fact is, I’m drained. I feel profound relief that I no longer have to put forth the great effort it takes to be a different person on stage. While the joys of so doing are undeniable, there is also no denying, it takes a toll. The toll today is a boring Sunday post.

However, my spirits are high. I am looking forward in the coming weeks and months to devoting more time to my writing, to walking my dog, to being with my husband, just to Being.

In the meantime, I’m afraid today I am obligated to head to the theatre one more time. I must, I positively must, eat some good food, have a drink or two, hang out with some perfectly wonderful people, have a few laughs, enjoy. It is a moral obligation.

“Dirty Work” for a Good Cause

I would like to use today’s post to give a brief shout-out to Habitat for Humanity

Habitat bills itself as a hand up not a hand out. They build homes for deserving, needy families. The families work on the homes as well.

I first encountered the group up north, many years ago when I was in Kiwanis. A member of a neighboring Kiwanis Club also worked with Habitat and saw first hand what a different it makes in the lives of recipients.

At the request of another friend, I participated in a Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. All I had to do was go bowling. The money I paid to bowl went to Habitat. I know with these bowl-a-thons (not that we bowled that many games), participants usually go around and get people to sponsor them per pin. With my bowling average (if you can call it an average as seldom as I bowl), that could hardly have raised much. Also, my circle of acquaintance at the time was very limited. Anybody I could have asked had probably already been asked or was bowling themselves.

The other knowledge I have of Habitat is that there is a Habitat home near a relative I see one or two times a year. The home has been there for a number of years now and looks just as beautiful as when it was brand new. I see real pride of ownership in such a well kept property.

I write about Habitat for Humanity, because last night they held a fundraiser in conjunction with Ilion Little Theatre (ILT). We put on our play Dirty Work at the Crossroads. They paid our group a set amount to cover our royalties and expenses, then sold tickets to their supporters.

It is a definite win/win situation. Win for ILT because those Habitat people are the BEST audience! They are ready to be pleased. They laughed at all the jokes. They applauded long and loud at the end. They all told us how much they enjoyed the show.

I may try to get more involved with Habitat for Humanity. I think that would be a very good project for Mohawk Valley Girl.

This Is Why I Don’t Plan Anything!

Plans don’t work. You decide you’re going to do something, it’s a really good idea, it’s going to make your life easier, you are so smart to think of it, yes, YOU HAVE A PLAN!

And then it doesn’t work.

For example, today. You see, I have a bear of a week ahead of me, because our play, Dirty Work at the Crossroads at Ilion Little Theatre is bearing down on me like, well, like a locomotive with me tied to the tracks. No, I don’t get tied to the railroad tracks in this play, don’t get your hopes up for me being pulverized by the 6:15! But I have a lot to do, and a lot I would like to get done. I’m a little stressed.

Today I do not have to be at rehearsal. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I do. Rehearsals are earlier this week. I still have to exercise, after, you know, working all day (still on ten hour days). And I like to post in my blog every day. I almost put “have to,” but my honesty asserts itself: I don’t have to. I choose to. And since I have chosen to every day for almost two years now, I want to continue to make that choice. So.

I thought, I can write two posts today, then only have to hit “Publish” on Tuesday. I could even get fancy and set it to publish on Tuesday without my further input. All I had to do was write two posts! I even had a topic for one: a shout-out to Symeon’s restaurant. As for the other: it’s Monday! I can do a Middle-aged Musings and have done with! So I dashed off the Symeon’s write up, making myself hungry in the process (love that Greek food).

And stared at a blank page in my notebook during all subsequent break time at work.

I got home, did a few things, ate supper, typed in the Tuesday post, all the while searching my brain for something, anything to muse about for a blog post’s worth. Nothing came to mind. I read a couple other blogs, looked at Facebook, and pondered my fate. Should I just publish the other post and worry about Tuesday on Tuesday? Bad idea. I won’t have time to type in squat if I exercise. Skip exercise, since I worked out today? Bad idea, because I may have to also skip Wednesday. Wrist to Forehead Monday? Well, I guess it is, but, you know, I just had a Wrist to Forehead Sunday.

So now I have written over 400 words about how I am completely unable to write a post for today. The irony is not lost on me. In fact, I feel strangely proud of myself. On to prepare myself for the rest of the week!

The Bio Blues

I was going to call today’s post “The Blurb Blues,” but I found the bl-bl awkward when I said it in my head. I figured anyone who moves their lips when they read would be really annoyed.

The blog is transitioning (temporarily, of course) into All Dirty Work At The Crossroads All The Time (or All Dirty Work All The Time for short) (I like that better). Today I have another writing assignment before I go on to my blogging chores. I have to write that little paragraph for the program which they print about all the actors. My bio. My blurb.

Naturally I’m stumped. Really, for a blogger, you wouldn’t think I would find it so hard to talk about myself. Isn’t that what I do every day in this silly blog? And there we have the reason: it is a silly blog. I can share my foibles and failures and be all self-deprecating about it. There’s something so toot-your-own-hornish (I almost said “horny” — insert adolescent snicker) about the program blurb.

Oh dear, now every theatre person reading this blog is saying, “Oh! So you think I’m tooting my own horn! I see!” I was about to get all apologetic about it, but, hey, is there not an element of “If I do say so myself”? Most manage to not sound like screaming egomaniacs. Largely because they’re not (the ones who are rarely recognize themselves as such) (of course I don’t personally know any raging egomaniacs, but I’ve heard).

I’ve read a few of the bios written so far for Dirty Work,and Imust say, I’m quite envious. They’re cute little self portraits — a snapshot of the person behind the character (not that anybody takes snapshots any more). As a character in a movie once said, “Why can’t I write shit like that?”

I even tried to get my husband Steven to write one for me. I kept saying things like, “Oh, if only somebody would write it for me. Somebody who used to work professionally as a copywriter. Perhaps in radio.” I even went so far as to throw in a few lines about somebody handsome, sexy, intelligent and kind. To no avail. Steven would only point out that I, not he, wrote the bulk of the press release that formed a major part of one of last week’s posts.

So this morning, after writing a couple of paragraphs of this post, I turned a page in my notebook and wrote down the paragraph I had been composing in my head ever since I realized I would need a program blurb:

“Cynthia has been a member of Ilion Little Theatre since 2009. She was part of the stage crew for Old Ladies Guide to Survival and appeared on stage in And Then There Were None as well as Harvey. Cynthia invites everyone to admire her hair while she has it, because on June 2 it will be shaved off for a St. Baldrick’s Day event to raise money to fight children’s cancer.”

I hope it will do. Do you suppose I’m too horn-tooty mentioning St. Baldrick’s Day?

“Dirty” Update

I seriously intended to write an update on how our play is coming along. Well, theatre people know, when you are working on a play, things get real busy, real fast. I spent my blog-writing time this morning working on a press release that Steven (the director and my husband, in case you didn’t know) started but got stuck on (see previous post about Writer’s Block, I suppose). In lieu of a regular post, I offer that release.

Enjoy an evening of romance, intrigue, music and mayhem when the Ilion Little Theatre (ILT) presents Dirty Work at the Crossroads, a gay ‘90s melodrama by Bill Johnson May 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18. Performances are at 8 p.m. May 10, 11, 17 and 18 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Mother’s Day. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students.

Audiences can cheer the hero and boo the villain during a tear-jerking story in which, after many vicissitudes, good triumphs over evil. Like all 1890s melodramas, Dirty Work features extreme situations and an exaggerated acting style. At times the characters address the audience in an “aside,” unheard by others on stage. According to notes in the script, the play was adapted from a melodrama written in 1867. The original script featured many scene changes and far more actors.

“This script makes for a more ‘doable’ production without losing the flavor of an old melodrama,” says director Steven Quackenbush. “This kind of play is just a lot of fun to do and to watch.”

The production features several newcomers to the ILT stage as well as old favorites. Newcomers Stephanie Chimento and Chuck Carr play the innocent country lass and stalwart blacksmith’s son, whose idyllic romance is threatened by the machinations of the villainous Munro Murgatroyd, played by ILT veteran Ron Creighton. Murgatroyd is assisted by the viperish and vampish Ida Rhinegold, played by Julianne Allen, another ILT favorite. Newcomers to ILT also include Penny Zugner as the Widow Lovelace, Kayla Morrell as Leonie Asterbilt, Olivia Klein as Little Nell, and pianist Caroline Gardner. Jim Mills as Mookie Maguggins and Cynthia Quackenbush as Mrs. Upson Asterbilt round out the cast.

For more information on Ilion Little Theatre, you can visit their website at www.ilionlittletheatre.org.

More Dirty Work

I believe I’ve mentioned some of drama surrounding Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play my husband is directing for Ilion Little Theatre (drama in the theatre? Say it ain’t so!). Well, the latest update includes good news and bad news and good news.

The good news is we have a hero. A young man was referred to us by a former president of the group (who, by the way, would have made a dandy hero himself but is too busy with work and family commitments). So far our new hero has been at one rehearsal (which I was not at), and Steven thinks he’s going to work out just fine.

I’ve heard good reports about him from others, too. My friend Phyllis says he’s a real nice guy. She told me her son said there was just one thing against him. I thought, “What? He can’t take direction. He’s a know-it-all. He says ‘um’ a lot.”

“He’s a Washington Redskins fan,” Phyllis said.

“The whole thing comes to a grinding halt,” I declared, with gestures. I was just kidding. I don’t even know what sport they were talking about.

I don’t know if any of your civilians know what it is like trying to cast a community theatre play when not enough people show up at auditions. It is stressful. Some people are very helpful with suggestions. But then you have to contact the people they suggested. And wait for them to get back to you. And get them the script. And let them read it. And think about it. And then they have to get back to you. All the while you are in suspense. The clock is ticking. Rehearsals have started. Opening night is imminent. What will happen?

So it was a great load off our shoulders when we got our hero.

And then we lost our French Maid. A very short time before Tuesday’s rehearsal, Steven got the email. Another disaster!

I actually had a few helpful suggestions right away, but Steven was not in the mood for helpful suggestions. Sometimes one just needs a little space to throw one’s hands in the hair and say, “This really sucks!” I continued my activities of getting dressed and making my blog post.

Eventually Steven said to me, “Can we just write the character out?”

It is a small part. Two little scenes, one of which I am in. I looked at my script.

“Sure,” I said. “Instead of, ‘Fleurette, inquire of that yokel yonder,’ I’ll say, ‘I shall inquire of that yokel yonder.'” I showed him a couple other small changes. “I can totally rock this.”

The other scene was a little more complicated. It is just Fleurette and Mookie (the aforementioned yokel).

“We’ll make it Mookie and Leonie,” I suggested. “I’ll write a few lines. This can work.”

We went to rehearsal feeling better. We had some time at the theatre before rehearsal started (a good director always gets there early), so I sat down and whipped off the Mookie/Leonie scene. Of course, I was all kinds of pleased with myself after that.

So we began rehearsal with me verbally coaching Mookie and Leonie through the modified scene. We intended to skip the new scene. I would email the actors their lines before the next rehearsal.

Then we realized Fleurette has another little scene we had forgotten about. Oops! This turned out to be less of a problem than it seemed at first, due largely to the fact that the play is a melodrama. It is completely acceptable for actors to address the audience, themselves, or the ambient air. It was easy to change the dialogue into a monologue, and not too long a one for the actor to learn.

So that was our week in Dirty Work. We solved one problem, confronted another, solved that one. Bring on the next problem! I’ll write about it here.