Monday, September 14, 2009

Pop History

So blogging has gone to the bottom of the list for me lately. In my precious spare time, I've had a choice between blogging and napping; I've chosen napping. It's all good, I'm sure I'll get back in the swing after the show opens.

At least, I hope so. The show currently runs 3 hours. The good news: it does not feel like 3 hours at all; it's so engaging. The bad news: It runs 3 hours.

This past week, we added some sound in for the transitions between scenes. The director, Terry Nolen (who incidentally is also the Artistic Director for The Arden), loves using the cast as scene changers. I have to agree, it makes everything run so smoothly and offers the audience continuity by allowing them to see the same people on the stage all the time. There is also the chance to work the scene change into the action of the show as well.

Anyway, our sound designer (who will also be providing some video for the show) is Jorge Cousineau. This guy is so bloody awesome! I can't think of a better way to describe him. The assistant Production Manager calls him "a mad genius." That fits as well.

He grew up in East Germany and came of age in the 1980's, around the time The History Boys takes place. He told us how he would rig antennae and recording devices up in order to get the radio stations coming out of West Germany and the rest of Europe. He'd record them on a tape player (old school) and then he and his friends would share what they had. He said that sometimes he'd have to stand "just so" in order to get the station he wanted.

So you can see why he became a sound designer. He also composes music; there's no end to his genius.

Well, the actors in our play are quite young since they have to play teenage boys. They didn't come of age in the 1980's. So Jorge made them all a CD of 1980's music so they could listen to what English lads were listening to at that time. I, of course as stage manager, had to have a copy and I love it! I actually recognize some of the songs which made me happy because the songs on the CD are all what teens listened to in Europe.

Jorge and I had a quick conversation about music of the 80's. I said I listened to: David Bowie (Let's Dance anyone?), Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense), U2 (I did hear them first in France on a school trip in 1984), and, hmmm, well, I can't think of the rest. Jorge just said, "Yup, American music."

As I write this, I'm listening to the CD and loving the trip down memory lane and learning about the music I missed on this side of the pond. What did you listen to in the 80's?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let's Here it for the Boys!

We've been in rehearsals for two weeks now for The History Boys. I can't wait for school to start tomorrow! Once those kids get on the bus, I'll have an hour to myself before rehearsals. It's hard to be "on" all the time.

Although, I have to say, it's been easier with this show than with most. A few weeks ago, I blogged about some of my worries going into rehearsal. My biggest fear: would I get along with the cast?

And the answer is a resounding YES! This cast is amazing! I love them all! The boys, and yeah they are 21-30, but still they are boys, are so polite and nice and funny. And not to leave anyone out, there are 3 older actors (older than 30) in the show, and they are just as great. Take tonight for example, we did a run thru of Act One, and I took line notes (I jotted down when an actor missed a line or changed a word). When I approached each actor to let them know his mistake, each one said, "Oh great I'm so glad you took notes." Many times, an actor gets annoyed with me for doing this. Yeah, you messed up the line and it's my fault?

And, everyone is so into the play, really in it. There are--so far--17 transitions in the show during which the boys come on stage and re-configure the desks and tables into different rooms such as the classroom, the staff room, etc. And these boys learned these transitions so quickly and remember them. Of course, it could be their youth and the fact they don't have children on which blow all their brain cells. But still it's impressive.

Can you tell I'm really excited to work with this cast? So in honor of the boys, here's a link to, of course, Let's Hear it for the Boy

I cannot figure out how to embed a video into my blog. Also, I'm going to get around to everyone's blog this week, just as soon as those kids get on that bus!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Learning Curve

It was last November when I started running, really running. By that I mean running more than 2 1/2 to 3 miles at a time. I chalk it up to the great Fall weather and the yoga I was doing at the time (which has since fallen by the wayside for the moment).

I ran 4 1/2 miles one day, then 6 miles another day; I thought I'd just keep going. And I did for a while...then summer hit and the heat and my kids were home and I had trouble finding the time or the energy.

Very discouraging.
I am one of those people who believes things have to turn out perfectly or its a complete and utter failure and why did I think I could do it in the first place? I know, what am I? 12?

But I read a running book--well, part of a running book because it was really poorly written and I had trouble getting through it. An expert on running does not an expert on writing make--that said that every run should be a learning run, even bad runs.

There's my Oprah AHA moment!

Now, I'm getting it, and I'm learning that:

  • I need sleep. More so than I need to run. I'm not one of those people whose eyes pop open at 6 am eager to run. My eyes never pop open for any reason and 6 am, well, that's too bloody early.
  • I need to drink more water, lots more water. I ran 5 miles one morning. Did not drink much water that day then went out that night. Couldn't run for two days. Water, who knew it was that important?
  • I can't start out running too fast. On some days, I feel so good I run faster at the start and then poop out at mile 2. Slow and steady wins with miles.
  • Heat sucks. Can't really sugar-coat that one.
I've also decided not to do the marathon this fall but to do the half-marathon. The History Boys is a long play, almost 3 hours (those boys have a lot to say about history) which means long nights at the theater and less sleep. I figure that I'll stick with 13 miles for now, learn a lot about my running habits, styles, etc. and then kick ass next year.

See, you can teach an old dog new tricks!