Monday, February 13, 2006

The Blizzard of '06

Dragged out of bed at 8am by David-- time to slither out of the driveway and take the turnpike into town. Only about 5 or 6 inches of snow thus far, but the wind is furious and visibility a challenge. Nothing on the streets but snowplows and sand trucks. The turnpike has 2 out of 4 lanes clear, and the ride is slow but not too terrible. In South Boston we can't make it quite all the way to David's office building: there's a heap of plowed snow blocking the street. Let David out of the car to hike the rest of the way, turn around and head home. By now the 50mph wind is driving so much snow that simply recognizing what street I'm on is a challenge, and I have to try to discover the big green signs that will lead me back to the pike through veils of snow. Once on the pike the driving is fairly easy until I get to the slippery downslope of the exit ramp, and then easy again until I turn up onto the bridge over the pike that leads to my own street, where the slippery snow is unplowed and seems to be at least 2-3 inches deeper than when I left home a little over an hour before. If church hadn't been cancelled, I would be getting to choir rehearsal only a few minutes late. Very glad to be safely home and parked in the driveway. I think that I will be able to stay up and get some serious writing done this morning, but no such luck. My body is still protesting last night's tennis abuse. I curl up on the sofa with an afghan, and read more of my Shakespeare book. After lunch, I decide that my sleep-deprivation headache is not going to go away, take some asprin and go up to bed for a nap. When I wake up it is still snowing, and when I turn on the TV for a weather report-- weather reports are on all the stations. No news but snow news! Playwrights Platform announces via email that tonight's meeting is cancelled, so I won't be acting in a stage reading of Rebecca's Saunder's new play. I decide that I'm having a Snow Day and that I won't have to write or work on my lines or do anything healthy or useful-- especially after David calls from work to say that he will be able to come home on the 6pm commuter rail, which is now running. However, at some point while David is writing about the snow in HIS blog and the boring snow sports Olympics are on TV are I get a rush of energy: I write two new monologues and this blog, which means that I am Caught Up! I'll reward myself with tonight's episiode of Bleak House before going to bed.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Friday I knew the time had come to either catch up with my bog or give up on it. I haven't linked to any blogs or lists, and I don't know if anyone will be interested in reading about wihat I'm interested in writing about. Will has given me a list of places to connect, but first I really need to bring my blog up to date. Then I'll announce at Sunday night's Playwright Platform meeting that I have a play/wright actor blog in progress, and invite comment-- and then I'll try to launch into the blogospere. I read blogs-- mostly political ones, like Crooks and Liars and Firedoglake-- but I do it in sort of horrified fascination with what these people dig up, and haven't got into the habit of commenting. I'm appalled at what's going on in the country, and I do have a vision of what a better country would look like-- but I have no bright ideas of how to get to where I think we ought to be from where we are. I read arts articles on line, but the only arts blog I read every day is Terry Teachout's. But there may be some with whom I ought to be in dialog....? Anyway, Friday I catch up on a week' worth of blogging, and learn how to add pictures. Read the next couple of chapters of "1599".
Saturday is my husband's only day off this week. Sunday a blizzard is supposed to hit: we discuss making a run to the grocery but decide that we can cope with being snowed in for a day or two. I will provbably have to drive him to work in Boston Sunday, because there are no early trains and if the snow is as heavy as is being predicted the trollies and buses will not be dependable. So we loaf. Have a big brunch. Clear the living room for some fairly serious tai chi. I put his supper in the microwave and go off to play doubles Round Robin at a nearby tennis club's Guest Night-- the first tennis I've played in months. I return at 11 pm-- the snow hasn't started yet but it is on track to clobber us, a foot or more predicted. I stay up and watch the news, check out the late-breaking scandals on the Huff Po, fairly sure that there will be no choir Sunday morning because with snow over a foot deep church will be cancelled. Can barely haul myself out of my chair and stagger up the stairs to bed: three hours of tennis and my body feels as if it had been beaten with beenbags.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Post Show Depression

Monday is just Lost. I wake up with sore eyes and a stuffed up nose, sneezing. The eyes I think are in reaction to a contact lens worn for performance that sort of became glued in place and I had to work to fish it out, with the other eye swollen in sympathy. I get a message that the Corgi I've been walking for a neighbor has a terminal illness, and won't be walking with me any more. My furry friend's fate reminds me of all my fleshy friends who are coping with serious ailments, which reminds me of my own mortality and convinces me I'm miserable, I'm depressed. I have heaps of stuff from MARTHA to wash or put away and heaps of dishes and debree from an apartment that has been 5 days without its official housekeeper. But the heck with it. I crawl back in bed with an amusing novel .
Tuesday I catch up with email and do some writing. The monologue collection is growing-- and so is the number of visitors to the Free Monologues on my web site! I pay bills and answer some correspondence.
Wednesday I feel too blue and sneezy to go with Will Stackman to see Romeo & Juliet at the ART. Good thing, because it has been postponed and the ART neglected to tell the minor press that the opening will be next week instead. By now all the extra MARTHA mess has been reduced to normal clutter, and the apartment is returned to its usual state. I settle down to working on my lines for Sugan's TALKING TO TERRORISTS: rehearsals begin Feb 20th, time to get on it. Thursday I take books back to the library and get out two fat new Shakespeare books that I've read excellent reviews for: Peter Ackroyd's biography and James Shapiro's 1599. Unable to decide which to read first, I greedily grabbed both. 1599 begins easily..... At the library I cut and paste the Gloucester Times article about Martha at the WET and make copies to send out. I begin to catch up with my blogging, too. Will promises to show me how to add pictures.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Closing Night - WET

This is our last scheduled performance. I know MARTHA may have legs. We have a few leads on other gigs, and for all I know I may be able to tour the show for the next decade... but for today, this is IT.
The rain is finally over. If it had been a few degrees colder, we'd be buried under a blizzard! I sleep late while June Lewin gets up early and goes off for her regular Sunday morning 2 hour hike. I feel a faint flicker of guilt: I could have made a round trip with Joan and Jeff and sung in my West Newton UU church choir, as usual. Could have-- but I know from long experience that if I am up late and then get up early for choir, I will have a raging headace all day. Better to save myself for the afternoon performance. I hang out with June's cat Pumpkin. We do stretches together, and she looks mildly amused by my vocal warm ups. I read June's current copy of American Theatre magazine -- that'll save me a trip to the library-- and some articles from a relatively recent New York Review of Books. When June returns we have a nice lunch of salad and plan "strike" and packing up. June will be returning to her Cambridge house on Monday, and wants to organize the exit from Gloucester as efficiently as possible. I do a line mumble. We leave for the West End theatre a bit after 3 pm, meet up with our colleagues, and check through all that needs checking. It fills up to be a nice house, a friendly house, and we establish a much warmer relationship than last night. Martha has a bigger dash of deviltry today, the Golden Girl who expects to get away with murder because nothing she does can really be wrong. Friends, relatives, crew-- we all go out for supper after the show, to a delicious smelling pizza place that we have all to ourselves because it is Superbowl Sunday and the restaurant doesn't have a TV! I eat Greek salad, of course. Rosanna takes pity on me and passes me a forkful of gooey cheese and mushroom and black olive topping from her pie. Gosh, I miss pizza! I sit next to Serena, who is 17 and in high school and already a professional lighting designer. I love listening to her plans for a Life in the Theatre. I wish I'd captured her voice in my notebook and were able to turn it into an upbeat monologue -- most of the "material" I hear these days is political, and depressing. But I don't have my notebook and I'm too tired to remember anything beyond what a pleasure it was to be in the young woman's company, and that of her charming mother. I do remember an anecdote about Serena's sail-maker father doing the custom antique sails for a recent film, and the family rushing out to see it when it opened: but although she said that I could build a monologue from it it doesn't want to fall into shape. Serena also said that she'd send me some fresh high school gossip to use-- I told her how I get email from high school actors who are desperate to find monologues that are age-appropriate, and all I can say is that I don't currently know many teens. I miss the freshmen I taught at Northeastern in the 90s.
Home with Jeff and Joan, arrive early enough that my husband is still awake to hear my adventures on the North Shore. He is taping Bleak House for me. I am too keyyed up from the show to go to sleep, so I watch Bleak House after he goes up to bed, and even check some of my email before finally turning in.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Martha's Run At West End Theatre

Saturday February 4 I woke up in my own bed, nestled between my husband and my cat-- very happy to be with both. What to do with our free time together? The cat was sure: feed me! pet me! hold me on your lap! David and I decided to go out to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch, where I could stuff myself with my favorite salad bar and he could have a huge double burger--no bun, no fries. (We are still on the low carb diet which allows David to cope with his diabetes without medication. Four years, now. I haven't put back any of the weight I lost when we started it-- but I've only lost about 2 pounds a year since.) We did "energy" tai chi, then I felt that I should write a monologue or two if possible-- and it proved possible. Posted those new ones on my Stagepage. Joan Faber and Jeff Brewer picked me up for the trip North to Gloucester, and I mumbled my lines to myself in the back seat as we drove along. Weather was very bad, and getting worse. Pouring rain and bitter wind, fog along the shore. When we got to the theatre we discovered that the deluge had prompted a number of people to cancel their reservations for the performance. One who didn't cancel, however, was Mimi Huntington from the Nora Theatre in Cambridge -- the Nora is interested in Rosanna Alfaro's plays-- they are doing a second reading of her "Laughter Of The Gods" some time later this season-- and I was very pleased that Nora's artistic director had made the trip North to experience Rosanna's wonderful script for MARTHA. It seemed a rather "difficult" audience. Besides being small, people had chosen to avoid the front row, "keeping their distance" between themselves and Martha the Mouth. If they don't want to be charmed by Martha's Southern Belle routine, ok. They are the other half of the conversation: let it be confrontational instead of humorous, if that's the mood they're in. A little desperation isn't a bad thing.... A very different show from the previous ones, but in some ways closer to the bone. Rosanna wasn't displeased.
June drove me back to her Gloucester cottage, and we watched the DVD of CRASH that she's been sent as a SAG member. I'm not really a movie person, but this one certainly held my interest. But!! CRASH starts in a confusing way, with shots that will occur later in the film interspersed with the credits at the top. We couldn't remember afterwards whether the inciting incident -- cop in car shoots at cop in another car-- was shown in the film or if we only saw its immedidate aftermath. We intended to watch the beginning over again Sunday, but never got around to it. Must ask someone else who saw it........

Friday, February 03, 2006

Martha Does Gloucester

June picked me up Thursday Feb 2nd and we drove to Gloucester, stopping for some set-decorating supplies on the way. We dropped off supplies, but had to wait till a dance class full of itty bitty ballerinas finished using the room before we could turn it into the Theatre. Jennifer came to add her artistic eye to the set: together we made decisions about what went where, set up platforms, put the costume on stage to see if it looked good with the tables and sofa throw. Gordo came with the Gloucester Times to show us the terrific article on us on the front page of the Arts section-- that ought to bring in a few people! We went up and down the street trying to buy copies of the paper so that each of us would have one: it took us several stoips and we may have bought the last four GTimes in town! Serena came to set lights. After a bit of rest I did a full run-through rehearsal but without the piano and Joan. The platforms bounce, and there an uneven seam between where I could fall on my face-- but we decide to deal with that tomorrow. Went to bed early, slept late: Friday's Opening.
In the am I did yoga and tai chi, warmed up my voice and ran my lines. At noon we went to the theatre, Joan and Jeff drove up shortly afterwards, and we puttered till time for Dress. I wanted to start by doing the end, to get the feel of the space and the props which are so different from the other spaces we've played so far: a real theatre. I worried that it would be difficult to make contact with the audience as "scene partner" if the lights were blinding as they'd been the night before, but with the afternoon sun outside it was easy to see the empty seats and imagine people in them. After run-through, June et al went out to eat and I curled up on the rug in the dark theatre to take a nap. Eliza Wyatt came, and we had a quick hug and gossip-- she is leaving for England tomorrow morning, and will have to drive back right after the show. Not a big house, but enough to feel like an audience. All went well, Eliza and June's theatre friends in the audience were full of praise-- Eliza claimed that she and Paul Chi will write me a musical, too-- and June and Joan seemed really pleased and proud. I rode home with Joan and Jeff, and will be picked up by them at 5pm Saturday

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Last Night Before Launch

Of the West Gloucester run of Martha Mitchell. Did laundry, made to-do lists, walked dogs. Talked to June and Rosanna to set details of trip. Took books back to library-- and asked the library's programming person to consider hosting a future performance of Martha. Got her email to send the publicity material.
Did I mention that I suffered over the State of the Union yesterday? Fretted and fumed. Today less obsessed: wrote three new minute monologues for Stagepage. Mailed off 2 more manuscripts left over from yesterday's project. Had a great deal of trouble with the emailed attached items for the Last Frontier entry. Still don't know why the first 4 tries didn't get through, but the 5th attempt worked, somehow. Up too late again-- must pry myself away from the computer and go to bed.