Invitation

May 26, 2019

 

Two weeks from tonight it’s all over.   All will be done . . . even all those last-minute things we haven’t begun doing yet.  This week is our last week at the church . . .It’s an intimate week crammed full of what all theatre folk do – run lines, tweak and run lines even more. I’m squeezing rehearsals into every corner of every day.   Tomorrow is Memorial Day and it’s booked 10-6. Every hour there is someone or something to be dealt with.  It’s not that the show is this big it’s just that there are that many loose ends and that many dear people in need of communicating with, nudging on, listening to and/or simply being with . . . soooo I pray for a little more energy and a lot more patience.

 

A week from tomorrow morning we move into the theatre.  I show up in a U-Haul (Dick May driving) with blocks, balcony and racks and racks of costumes, bagels and coffee.  That week is its own magical experience . . .  I hold my breath from nine that Monday morning till I plant a kiss on a bare center stage just before I leave the theatre two weeks from tonight.  That week is so sacred, so full, so enormously special that there aren’t words to describe it – not yet.  It’s simply thrilling to witness and be a part of.

 

So tonight, is about invitation.  This is my last blog of this show season – a bit unbelievable to me! I love this time – whether my words are read or not, it’s part of my thinking process, and my gratitude practice to indulge in this emptying of heart and soul.   BUT tomorrow I’m turning my computer over to David Zych.  He needs it for some of the musical stuff he’s preparing for the show. (It requires a LOT to live up to ABBA and sacrificing my computer for the good of the show is just one little thing I can do) I’ll take care of emails and the like from my phone. What that means though is that tonight is the night I must be about the business of inviting you.

 

Come.   Come twice.   Come four times if you’re really dedicated.  I can promise you every show will be different.  Every show will be a surprise.  Every show will have moments of triumph, pure magic, an abundance of miracle (and a very few instants of quickly dispelled anguish.)   I can promise you fun, song, dance and exuberance.  I can promise you delight, smiles, triumph and courage.

 

Today as I ran lines with Andi, she talked about loving being a REAL actress.  She is.  This work is real.  Each of the actors have a morsel of this wondrous, chewy truth they hold.  Together it all becomes this thick slice of something that will sustain and nourish.   COME.

 

These actors have worked tirelessly

They are surrounded by brilliant others who have also worked tirelessly.

 

At the end of the day it comes down to this invitation.   Come.  See what we have done.  See how we have grown.   Those of you who donate, this is your dividend.  You are a shareholder in love that comes to life, under the lights and on the stage.

 

Feel invited friends.  I cannot tell you what will happen.  I can only tell you that you will leave with your heart blessed and something quite incredible will be bubbly up inside you. mirth, hope, belief, joy. maybe all those.  Hopefully more . . . and, hopefully, alongside all those sweet good feeling will be a realization that we can’t label, hold back, or limit people.  That we need to champion and celebrate the gifts of all people. That dis ability does not mean WITHOUT glorious ability.  I can promise you that notes will not matter as much as smiles and that what you hear with your heart will make sense through your eyes   . . .

 

As Harry Bright – one of Sophie’s possible dad’s – says, “There are all kinds of families . . .”  This is ours.

 

Come.   There are a million reasons but 46 absolutely essential ones.    Come because those 46 deserve to be cheered.  Yes, I believe in them that much.  Here I am – two weeks before show – saying it’s going to be that thrilling, memorable, and worth it – all of it.

 

Come sing. Come dance.  Come cheer. Come share a moment of pure wonder.  Where else could you get soooo much and not even have to pay the cost of a ticket?

 

Your yes fills our heart.   And if you don’t come??????   Watch face book . . .there are sure to be a zillion pictures and we’ll still know you’re cheering.

 

That’s it for this show process. . I’m sure there’ll be an epilogue when I get my computer back . . .but for now . . .   just mark those dates on your calendar (June 7-9.)   It’s worth it to be in the presence of the joy, the beauty, the love these hearts contain.

 

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Time

May 19, 2019

I’ve lost a month.  I’m afraid it’s gone – not to be retrieved – consumed by rehearsals, meetings, phone calls, and a huge amount of planning.   That leaves us – well at the very least me – a little breathless as we make this last great surge towards the finish.  How can this be??   Wasn’t it just yesterday I felt like we had this overwhelming gift of time to polish EVERYTHING?

 

I think working with a double cast group may be part of the challenge.  Even though it’s a HUGE part of the joy, time just disappears in that 2nd run of everything.  Sometimes I can’t quite believe we dare to do this, but then again how can we say no – It matters.  It really matters.  Our actors DO count their lines.  They DO want a mic.  They DO want a role that carries a name.  I get it.   So instead of twice as much time on cleaning scenes, we’re still flipping back and forth from one cast to the other and learning.   Beaming faces are the payoff.  Worth it for that. RIGHT!

 

Time . . .  In just over 2 ½ hours during last Saturdays costume day, we made it through alllllll of the Blue Show’s slug through.   We were down on coaches.  (It was a weekend of huge travel) but up on spirit.  That gift of needing to focus more forced everyone to take on additional responsibility.  It was glorious.

 

Time… what the costumers have given is HUGE.  All you need to do is take in the more than 20 pairs of flippers and the amazing Dynamo group costumes.  Time – these costume magicians have invested so much – in creativity, in time sewing, in time fitting, in time patiently going from actor to actor exchanging hats, scarves, tops, wrinkled shirts and cut out tanks.   I’m awed and I know to the depths of my soul that I’m far from alone in this work.

 

Time… Friday morning Dick set up the step unit he somehow created from a sharing of our imaginations.  This director of Saw Dust creation gives of time abundantly.   Now our Donna has a balcony.  Now we have a taverna.  It’s ingenious and brilliant.

 

Time… the Boots camp celebration last Monday.  Those actors were dear . . . those parents so proud. . . those coaches/ teachers so generous.  It all comes down to this precious gift.

 

Time… an enormous investment on the part of Marge, Karen, Laurie, Ray, Dawn as they share their gifts –   newsletter, program, tributes, head board, spread sheets . . . the list keeps growing and work spills out and over into other caring outstretched hands.

 

Time… C sits with his script in every spare moment and dutifully sings the same 4 lines of his favorite song over and over and over and over and over.

 

Time… There is the need for more run throughs, more line throughs, more dance catch ups . . .  just putting this one out there . . .  when???

 

Time – for groceries . . . no

for yard work?  NONE

for the house? Glad it’s tiny

for answering questions – OF COURSE!!

for rehearsals ALWAYS yes

for sleep – not so much

 

Time – over cooked is just as bad as undercooked. Either of those don’t work . . . there IS a right timing for all this. We’re on that search and carrying that trust.

 

Time – there’s enough to learn, not enough to waste, enough to appreciate, not enough to complain, enough to believe, not enough to doubt or stress.  Time . . .it is of our creation, planning and our doing . . . I truly know it’s on our side . . . (I think I can carve just a little more out of sleep and live on the grateful.)

 

“As it turns out, now is the moment you’ve been waiting for.”  Lucinda Williams

 

 

Costume/Slug Through #1

May 11, 2019

 

“When we do the best, we can we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or in the life of another.”    Helen Keller

 

Today was the first of two full, VERY full costume Saturdays.  These days are essential.  They are time-consuming.  They are some of my most precious experiences of working/ creating and solving problems together.    Today began with two hours of mad costume checking, fitting, and critiquing followed by a very long, arduous and hugely necessary full run that we lovingly, and aptly call a “slug through.”

 

This morning C and I arrived sharply at 8:00 with 3 “Joe to Go” containers of hot coffee and 3 1/2 dozen bagels . . .just a snack – but one that was totally inhaled by already waiting actors, down to the last crumb.   (I would love to find a connection at Einstein’s . . . this group so dearly LOVES to eat.)  I set up the food and never saw a bagel again.  Hospitality is a reality.

 

The costume part of today couldn’t have been better. It was a flurry – of changing, of excitement, of pure delight.   What this group of costumers has created for us is brilliant.  There is creativity, color, invention, and expertise beyond description but what inspired me most today was the patience these lovely women showed even as I suggested change after change . . . tweak after tweak. . . . They just smiled.  These exhausted, talented, kind-hearted women are more of the miracle of this process.

 

All that critically important, grand fuss and plenty of sequins were followed by the “red show” run.  Just determining who you are in each of these two casts has taken these actors and their coaches’ weeks to figure out. (We have a “red show” and a “blue show.”)  I think we finally have it all down now.   Somewhere in our social media, we will post the name of each actor with their role in each show so folks can come to cheer on their favorite actors.  Actors know why this run is called a slug through.  Leah explained it perfectly today, “because at the end of the day we feel like slugging Sam.”  Really it’s not quite that bad – but almost.  Today was filled with countless stops – most at my behest – 70 people, right?!! We have to get entrances right.   We have to tweak blocking for safety and to make sense.  We have to adjust levels, get rid of that horrible habit of standing in lines.  We need to know where to focus and when. SIGH… It IS a LOT.   All that and we have to remember to act, sing, and dance.  So, when there’s me saying stop – I raise the frustration level of everyone – a LOT. Some groups are dancing ABBA on stage, while others are singing from the wings.  There are people entering from the sides, the back, the audience. . .  and all of it needs to be right, understood and PRACTICED. At the end of the day, I’m sure many wanted to slug me. but it was an absolutely wondrous run.   The show still needs this t month to congeal but the parts are all there.  I didn’t leave till 4 . . . Clean up time is my time to process.   Christopher has become an orphan to this production I’m afraid, but I have to stay late.   It’s in the empty space of cleaning that practice room that I tuck away all my thoughts of what is still left to be done.

 

Andrea, our extraordinary sound technician, sent me a text today.   It read, “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress.”  I think that really describes what happened today.   We are a work in progress – in need of great work perhaps yet a stunning masterpiece of colors, shapes, sizes, and quirks.   The courage, the smiles, the love, the buy-in, the patience, the willingness to do over and over and over today left me awed.  Magic and masterpiece require this kind of practice and effort.    My challenge is to figure out how to squeeze out more time… to eek out a rehearsal in every precious, sacred corner of the next three weeks.

 

Today was a gift of almost ample enough time to see, enjoy, inspect and inhabit the story we’re trying to tell.   To no one’s great surprise, I was still going strong way past our closing time. . . My actors, coaches, and costumers just slipped out as they needed to, Though I don’t always quite honor it well enough – I do realize others have lives outside of Detour (imagine.)

 

We live as a Detour family.  Things are a little dysfunctional, a little harried, and sometimes we miss expectations BUT we are fiercely loyal, tremendously proud and we simply don’t give up on one another.  All that was clearly evident today.   There is still much to do in every single area – a program to put together, finishing touches for Dick’s incredible set, flowers for the bridesmaids, the right necklace for Sky and on and on . . .  but I cherish these details.  We care, notice, tend to and work so diligently to honor each and every one.  This is a work of love on the part of so MANY.  and today, as I said, “again,” or “let’s try it this way.” and even when I said, “we need to really change this” I felt this tidal wave of belief.
An ocean of belief is supporting and carrying us all right now. . .  Our job is to swim safely and in the right direction. Yes, even in this metaphor, it all comes down to knowing our blocking.   Not a bad day . . . no one “slugged” me and the ones who wanted to leave quietly without saying a word.

 

 

 

 

 

For Michael

May 3, 2019

 

Thank you for indulging me. I’m deviating yet one more time from this weekly show progress report.  I will tell you briefly though that I’m truly cherishing rehearsals.  They’re hard.  Yes, really hard – but this group is unstoppable so we’re at it . . . learning to move, retaining more lines, getting our minds squared away on blocking.  We’re doing everything any theatre company would be doing one month before move in.  We’re readying… There’s a little bit of panic, an honest share of confusion and a whole lot of struggle to get it all down.  Still and all, there’s even more patience, more ownership of roles and more pride in all of what’s accomplished.   There’s love, there’s joy and ALWAYS there’s the music.

 

One of my favorite lines from this show happens during the wedding scene when Harry tells Sophie and Donna, “Families come in all shapes and sizes . . .”  I love this line for so many reasons but most of all, I love it because it speaks to the truth of the family of Detour.   So, the “indulging” I spoke of as I began this blog has to do with that.  Eight years ago, tonight my life changed.  It turned inside out.   Eight years ago, tonight I was called back to the hospital where I had been told my sweet Michael was the healthiest man in the ICU.  Less than 12 hours later he was gone.  If I am the mama bear of Detour – and I proudly own that title both for the good and the bad it holds, Michael was papa bear.  It just seems right tonight to be telling his story.

 

While it is true that it was Christopher who asked, “When is going to be my turn?” – the grand question that got this all going, it was Michael I turned to when I asked, “What if I quit my job?”. Could we really create this company?     So, who’s going to catch me if I really take this leap?  Without hesitation, he believed in me.  He believed in this.   “YES” – he told me, “Do it, follow your heart. I’ll be there.”   It meant his heart came along too.  All those early years he drew, painted, designed – countless things.  Many of them are ready to be tossed – saved judiciously but not quite carefully enough to avoid being destroyed by the weather. Time marches on – a lesson I have to learn.  (Michael would vote for an ample refrigerated storage unit, NOW!)  Other things have become so much a part of Detour that no one now questions their origins.  Our precious logo was a line drawing Michael drew in the dark while watching a dance performance one night. Later, during intermission of that show, we discovered the heart created by holding hands . . . that Detour heart has been worn proudly for almost 20 years now.  Michael never intruded . . . he’d sit in the back of a rehearsal and draw.  After he died, I found sketchbooks filled with images of the men and women of Detour.  He loved the honesty and beauty of every face.   We’d go to sleep after a long discussion of just what the current production needed on stage and then he’d nudge me awake at 1 or 2 in the morning saying – “I’ve got it. I’ve finally figured out the set for this show.”     So, yes, there we’d be in the middle of the night with his latest creation . . . piles of foam core models strewn everywhere.

 

Michael – He was the provider of more pizza than I can begin to say.  He was there to throw open the door to our home after practices, after shows, any time any of this family wanted/needed to gather – even if meant we fell asleep while others were still up till all hours singing or sitting on the roof.  (You know who you are.)  There was always an ample supply of rocky road ice cream, always coffee, usually gas money if you needed it.   Detour spilled into our home.  It was our family – “Family comes in all shapes and sizes . . .”  Yes, Michael was the world’s best step-dad to C, but Detour was the child we birthed.  Together.  He was there through every bit of the labor and all those first faltering steps.  He was there as we began to grow up. He witnessed. He cheered. He supported. He loved.

 

Michael was so proud of this group. Always.    Always believing.  Always giving.   Always so hugely present. – Until he was not . . .

 

I was never fully ready to take on Detour without Michael by my side – but then again maybe he’s still right here.  Love does wondrous things.  It does miraculous things.   I was not left alone.

 

 

So, to this man who said yes, not only to me but to Detour. I say thank you.  You left me with a family – a huge and still growing family.  I miss you more than I can begin to say but somehow, I know you never miss a show.  Somehow, I still see you in the colors, the design and the smiles you cheer on with so much pride.  And, sometimes I still hear your voice singing from the back of the theatre.  That’s when I squint my eyes, stare into the dark and see if I can catch just one more glimpse of your smile –

 

 

One more thank you . . .  to all who’ve kept me going . . .

“Thank you for the friendship you have shared through the years.  Your prayers, wisdom, joy, and love are ever welcomed and appreciated by both of us. “

 

(from our wedding invitation. with a sentiment that never, ever changes even after all these years.)