We did it! We opened all the shows! Which is why I'm combining weeks 8 and 9 in my Playmill Chronicles. It's been NUTS. Between rehearsals, the Playmill reunion, and double shows starting, life has been pretty hectic. Today, we had the opportunity to sleep until 10 am, and I thought to myself, "That's not long enough." I'm grateful I'm in the box office tonight--I get a break! These cast members who are in all three shows are CHAMPS.
But with the hectic-ness come lots of highlights! Here are the beautiful memories from the last two weeks:
Jerry and my husband wrestling in the theatre after a show. Jerry's so big, and an ex-marine, and an ex-martial arts teacher. And Jacob's so small and...giggly. It was so much fun to watch.
Heidi's birthday!!! We spent the morning putting up posters in Bozeman, and then we all met at the Bozeman Hot Springs for swimming. A handful of us started playing water volleyball, which was less actual volleyball and more just volleying. We tried to get as many volleys as we could, and it took us at least and hour to break 100. BUT WE DID IT. (We would have done it sooner, but we got to 99, and Joe frickin' Galati volleyed the ball way the heck out to the middle of the pool ON PURPOSE, and then we all tackled him.) Dinner at Johnny Carino's afterwards was awesome, and then I drove home with Anya, who plays Millie in our cast. I think that drive was just what both of us needed. We had a great talk during the 2-hour drive, about everything from theatre to relationships. She's an awesome person and I'm so honored to call her my friend.
When someone straight up smoked weed in the men’s bathroom during intermission of the 8:30 Fiddler show. One of the boys walked in and was OVERWHELMED by the smell. I thought everyone was exaggerating, but then I walked in just to see, and yeah, that was weed. (Expensive weed, according to the converts in our cast.)
During "Fiddler on the Roof," when my husband accidentally entered early and showed up in the aisle while Eliza sang the line, "I'll bring the groom, slender and pale." Jacob plays the 102-year-old Rabbi.
A woman in the audience rolling up her program and swatting Tanner with it during the wolf chase scene in "Beauty and the Beast."
How Jacob Squire and I have ganged up on Amanda on some Beauty nights. (So far, it's actually only been 1 Beauty night, but it's Beauty right now and anything can happen.) She's dressed as a wardrobe, and can't do much to defend herself. Which is simultaneously real mean and real fun.
How Taylor and I had a whole night of awkward hand grabbing. I don't even know how it started or why it happened.
That time I was doing Squire's wig while sitting in Section C and the light above our heads shorted out and sparks rained down on us.
Rehearsal for Seven Brides when errrrbody was naked. Not TOTALLY naked, but there are a lot of quick changes backstage, and there is that "Going Courtin" scene where all the boys are just wearing blankets. I kept walking backstage and finding half-undressed people. Oh well. There are no boundaries in theatre.
Horseback riding again on Sunday! This time I went with Jacob S, Sydney, Stacey, Amanda, and Jerry. I rode the same horse as last time, but on a different trail. I really really really love horseback riding. My knees don't love it, but I sure do.
The face-swipe game. It kind of started with Jacob S and I before the dream song in "Fiddler," because I have cheesecloth on my face and can't see, so he started just swiping my face from brow to chin. But it kind of escalated to involving the rest of the cast. Okay, so really it was Jacob S, Jerry and I attacking everyone else. And each other. I'm sure we're starting to annoy people, but it's such a fun game.
Jacob S's "tassel dance" when he's wearing the buckskin costume in Seven Brides. I can't really describe the dance, but he's got fringe/tassels all along the arms, chest, and legs of his costume. And sometimes he dances.
Retroactively, when Justin fell in his Cogsworth costume during "Beauty and the Beast." This actually happened a few weeks ago, but I just heard about it recently. Dave was exiting in front of him, and all of a sudden heard a smack. Justin had fallen right down onto his face. But the thing is he's dressed like a CLOCK. So once he's down, he can't get back up without help. Unfortunately, the one person (Dave) close by who could help him was dressed like a candelabra, complete with candles for hands, so he couldn't help. So Dave said he just heard "Smack.....scrraaaape....smack....scrrraaaaaape...." as Justin used his arms to haul himself offstage. Like a turtle. As soon as he was through the curtains, he reached his arms up and was rescued. We knew it had to happen at some point during the summer.
Speaking of falling, Sydney fell during "Human Again." It was awesome.
When I retrieved a box of water bottles from the attic crawl space. I know that sounds simple, but it was during a show and I was wearing heels and a long skirt and not carrying a flashlight and I haven't been up there in six years. During "Seven Brides," Jake asked me if I could get a box of water bottles, and I said, "Sure." As soon as I got upstairs, I realized it might be difficult, so I straight up tucked my long skirt into my "spankies" (spandex boy shorts that are necessary for all summer stock theatre*). But let me explain something about the attic crawl space. It's RIGHT above the stage, with two holes centerstage to be used for entrances and exits of people and scenery. But most of the ceiling above the stage is just sheet rock, so you can only walk on the board that goes down the center, or you'll fall through the ceiling. The board is about a foot wide? Maybe less? This is what it looks like...that board down the middle is the only place you can walk. Those beams cross at about four feet above the board, so you have to crouch.
Anyway, the water bottles were down at the END of the attic crawl space, so I walked, ducking and holding onto beams for balance, in almost total darkness, while the show went on below me. AND I WAS WEARING HEELS. When I finally got to the water bottles, I heaved a sigh of relief. Then I realized I had to go back. Carrying a 3-foot wide, 3-foot tall, 3-foot long cardboard box. I think it took me about five minutes to make it back, but I did it. The task really isn't that crazy under normal circumstances, but in heels, in the dark, during a show, with a long skirt tucked into spankies, it's a different story.
The "show" that Jerry and Jacob S did during "Seven Brides" backstage. I was sitting in one of the stalls (set storage under the seats in the back hallway), with the curtains open just a tiny bit. I can't remember which one of them walked by, or how the show started, but one of them did something in that space between the curtains, then gestured to the side and said, "Everything I learned, I learned from this man." Then the other one appeared in the space behind the curtain and took a bow. Then he gestured to the side and said, "And I have this man to thank." Then the other would appear. Etc. There was also a bit with some running.
Aaaand as per tradition, there was one trip to the emergency room before all three shows are open. Technically, it was right before the 8:30 show of "Seven Brides," but it was still opening night. Our stage manager, Stacey, and Mason ran into each other at a backstage curtain, and his forehead hit her nose at high speed. She flew backwards, laughing, and then realized she was bleeding. Roger took her to the bathroom to clean her up, and at one point, asked her to take the paper towel off her face so he could assess the damage. He didn't tell her at the time, but the second she removed the paper towel, a steady stream of blood SHOT from the cut at the top of her nose. But Roger calmly said, "Okay, just put pressure back on it." Luckily, one of the past Playmill cast members in the audience is now a doctor, so we called him in to take a look. The good Dr. Hammar said it probably wasn't broken, but would maybe need a stitch or two. So one stitch and a bit of glue later, Stacey is ship shape. She's not even bruised. She just happened to cut her nose open RIGHT at a vein.
And of course, the Playmill Reunion. But that deserves its own special post.
So here's to ALL THREE SHOWS BEING OPEN! Time to sleep in, play during the day (and occasionally work box office), and do double shows each night!
* Sometime, I should do a blog post about the items necessary for summer stock theatre. Or a long run of any show.
Addendum, 9:09 pm: I wrote this entry during the 6:00 show, and shortly before hitting "publish" on it, I was notified that Mason (the one who also cut his head open on Stacey's face yesterday) took a knee to the temple so hard that he might have a concussion. His nose started bleeding from the knock to his head, and he was laughing about it with Jerry in the bathroom when he suddenly threw up in the sink. When I walked into concessions, Dr. Hammar (thank goodness for that Playmill reunion, right?) was checking his eyes with a flashlight and talking to him. And yep, he's got a concussion. Two blows to the head in 24 hours will do that to ya. The doc said he'll be all right, but he's kind of in shock right now, so he's taking it easy this show. In fact, a few minutes ago, he was slumped against the wall in the boys' dressing room, laughing hysterically to himself. Right now, he's kind of halfway between "tipsy" and "just got home from the dentist." He just suggested that Gaston "kick him in the nards" during a song instead of punching him, and when we said no, he said, "Fine, I'll just pretend you kicked me in the nards anyway."
A few friends have asked recently for book recommendations, so I thought I'd make a list and post it here. Most of these are YA books, because those are especially good for summer, somehow. Click on the title of each book to learn more about it. For more recommendations, feel free to check out my Goodreads account. Happy reading!
To start, here is an amazing picture of Eliza. It captures the spirit of my goals and life lessons from the last week. Plus, it's an AWESOME picture.
To get a little more personal than usual, this has been a week of learning to love more. I've spent a lot of time here at the Playmill being scared...scared of saying or doing the wrong thing, scared of making friends, scared of not making friends, scared of not being needed, scared of being needed too much. Just scared. But I finally got tired of being ruled by my fears, so I decided to re-teach myself a few lessons about courage. I was making myself (and probably the people close to me) miserable, so I decided to let go of my need for things to be a certain way. I decided to reach out to other people, to be content in my circumstances, and to trust that everything is going the way it's supposed to. And as soon as I did, my life was filled with love. I suddenly became closer friends with people in the cast that I had never really connected to before, and I found myself filled with even deeper love for the friends I had made earlier in the summer. There are still rough days (or rough moments), but I feel much more at peace about whatever happens, or will happen.
This has also been a week of learning to live more fully. Sometimes I get too "tired" to go out and do things...and then I hear about them later and wish I had gone. There is a time to rest and stay home, but often, that time isn't any better spent at home than with people I love. Sometimes I stay home because of the fear mentioned above, and I don't want to live that way anymore. So here's to living more fully.
On a less personal note, here are some of the other highlights of this week:
Opening Fiddler on the Roof! It was the longest opening night in Playmill history, each show running roughly 2 and a half hours, so we've since cut it down a bit. It's a powerful show, and now that it's shorter, it's really awesome.
Mason pretending to get his mission call and telling everyone about it. Eliza believed him, and when she found out he was lying, she was real mad. Getting dressed in the girl's dressing room that afternoon, we could hear her yelling and Mason laughing downstairs for about five minutes.
When a handful of the cast rehearsed a hip hop dance in "Fiddler on the Roof" costumes. It was awesome watching all these people dressed like poor Jews from 1905 breaking it down.
Dave Walker's scientific explanation of "pee shivers." Us: "What causes pee shivers?" Dave: "Peeing." Us: "Yeah, but why?" Dave: "Because you're peeing, and then you're done."
The little kid who, after the wedding destruction scene in "Fiddler", let out a sad "oh no!"
Mason ACTUALLY getting his mission call! (Brazil.) We've got 2 future missionaries in our cast...Taylor got her call to South Carolina.
Eliza accidentally giving someone a half-eaten jar of Nutella as a gift, instead of the new one she had purchased.
Horseback riding on Sunday, with Tanner, husband Jacob, Laura and her friend Megan. I love horseback riding so very much. (I'm going again this Sunday.) My favorite parts of that trip, aside from just being out there, were Tanner saying "Yip Yip!" to get his horse to go, and the relationship Jacob developed with his horse Watermelon ("My life is in your hands, Watermelon. I love you, Watermelon.")
Bonfire at Hebgen Lake on Monday night. (There was one on Sunday night that I didn't go to, but people enjoyed it so much, we decided to do it again.) The night involved almost getting lost while trying to find the same bit of shore from the night previous, a game of "Truth or Dare," Joe performing "poetry," Misha making cookies over the fire with a muffin tin, and the occasional scare from jumping spiders.
Aaaaaand to conclude, here is a picture I've had for a while, but just haven't posted yet. It's super-blurry, but it's one of my favorites from the summer. This is from one of those late-night dance parties we occasionally have. This cast has got the moves.
* "Why don't you blog about it, Liz?" is something Sydney said to me this week. I made some comment about something I really liked, and she said, "Why don't you blog about it, Liz?" We both paused for a moment, and then she said, "I didn't mean that snarky. It came out snarky, but I didn't mean it that way." Sydney seems to have a habit of saying things that sound snarky even when she doesn't mean them that way. Which is fun.
Found this in the archives today. We had a power outtage one morning last winter, so I told my students I'd give them extra credit if they wrote a 250-word composition about their experience...poem, song, journal entry, personal essay, etc. I did the assignment myself, and it's not my best writing, but it's pretty fun. Enjoy!
(Also, on a completely unrelated note, I now have 400 followers! Thanks for reading, guys!)
6:30 am. This time yesterday, it was fifteen below zero outside. I rolled out of my warm bed, scurrying towards the shower…that shower that whispers to me every morning, “It’s all right. You’re safe. You’ll be warm again soon.” I flipped the light switch…nothing.
I checked the fuse-box. In an apartment one hundred years old, the electricity has been known to be faulty. Everything was fine. I walked to the window and pulled aside the curtain. Dark everywhere.
Yes. Yes yes yes, thank you, sweet loving powers that be. I crawled back into bed and snuggled up to my husband. “The power’s out,” I whispered.
He wrapped his arms around me. “What are you going to do?”
“Not have class, I think,” I replied.
It’s not that I don’t like teaching. In fact, I really love it. It’s just that I was so tired. And cold. And heck, I’m pretty sure those 26 freshmen would love to not have to go to a 7:45 class. I decided to wait until 7:15. If the power wasn’t on by then, I’d drive to campus and stick a note on the door. “Sister Chapman’s 7:45 class cancelled. Check e-mail for updates.” And then I would go back to bed again.
And okay, here’s my confession. I laid there in bed from 6:30 to 7:15, alternately sleeping and fervently praying that the power wouldn’t come back on. It was just so WARM in that bed. And cuddling is so AWESOME. And it was Monday, and I was so tired.
7:15 arrived. No power. Shout hallelujah.
As I got dressed, it occurred to me that I probably couldn’t cancel both the 7:45 AND the 9:00 class. That meant the classes would be off from each other. Maybe we’d have a zombie preparedness day or something in the other class—we joked about that on the first day. Just to catch everyone up. Or maybe I could just cancel it anyway. I was the TEACHER.
My phone buzzed. A text from an unknown number…one of those short 5-digit ones that send you coupons for Great Harvest and Costa Vida.
BYUI POWER OUTAGE - CLASSES WILL NOT START UNTIL 10:15. IF YOU ARE COLD IN YOUR APARTMENTS COME TO CAMPUS FOR SHELTER. POWER OUTAGE. IF COMING TO CAMPUS FOR SHELTER PLEASE GO TO THE BYU- IDAHO CENTER.
Shout hallelujah again. BOTH classes cancelled, and I didn’t even have to put a note on the door!
I began to climb back into bed, whispering prayers of gratitude to the higher powers, while my husband sleepily began dressing.
“Are you going to move the car?” I asked.
“No,” he replied. “I need to go to campus. I have to do homework.”
Lame. Cuddle-buddy gone. But I was staying in that bed. “Are you going to the BYU-I Center? Other buildings might not have power.”
“Yeah, I’ll stop by the Snow building first. Can I take the car?”
“Yeah, I don’t need it until later.”
I laid back in bed, throwing a quilt over the comforter as my husband left. I looked at my text messages again. “Come to campus for shelter.” I wondered how many people were over there. I had these images in my head of some post-apocalyptic crisis center being run on campus—people in layers of sweatshirts, wrapped in blankets, playing card games and drinking bottled water. I might be willing to get up to go hang out there, just to, you know, be a part of it. Unite with my fellow human beings over our crisis. Waiting to hear the news—good or bad, just tell me honestly.
Thinking about bottled water made me thirsty, so I hopped out of bed to get a drink. The water came out of the tap in uneven bursts, but I figured it’s too cold for any bacteria to live in and drank it anyway. Drink this, Chapman, I think. You must keep hydrated. Keep up your strength.
As I crawled back into bed, it occured to me that my husband and I are completely unprepared for any kind of emergency. As far as supplies go, at least. I think Jacob has a 72-hour kit that’s been sitting untouched in a storage closet for a year or so. We have a lantern. My rationale has always been that we’re poor college students in a 400 square-foot-apartment, but we could probably make room for some granola bars or something.
I made a note to add “granola bars” to my grocery list for later that day and slept for an hour more.
Around 8:30, Jacob called. His parents house had power, so he had gone there, and wanted to know if he should come get me too. I thought for a moment about the lack of breakfast foods in our house, and said yes.
It turned out school had been cancelled for everyone from here to Idaho Falls, so his sisters were home too. We spent the morning in our pajamas, singing show tunes while Jacob accompanied on the guitar. I ate my fill of eggs and toast and corn flakes. The power was back by 11 am or so.
It sounds silly. It probably even sounds a little selfish, but I can’t really write how grateful I am for this morning. I know hospitals and restaurants and other public places run some big risks during power outages. The power went out once while I was working at a Barnes & Noble in California, and there was this odd heightened awareness of everything that could go wrong without electricity. But sitting in my pajamas this morning, singing with my sisters and husband and brother-in-law, I was glad the power was out. Glad school was cancelled. Glad to have a place to go.
I don't have many specific stories about life at the Playmill from week 6. It's been a good week, a rough week, a crazy week, a beautiful week, a slow week, a fast week, etc. I also have no real sense of time while up here. But there are certain sights that are becoming familiar as we continue to perform Beauty & the Beast...Mason ripping his pants (which he's done like, 3 times this summer), Joe Galati ringing the desk bell in the box office every time he passes by, baby Charlie growing up faster than we can notice, Jacob C's shoes/wig/mic coming off at some point in the show. Putting on Jacob S's wig at call every night. Me eating a small Dole Whip after every intermission.
There was one highlight this week worth writing about specifically: variety show auditions. So good. Before each actual performance at the Playmill, there's a brief variety show--skits, songs, dances, jokes, etc. We don't have one for "Beauty" because there isn't time, but we are planning one for "Fiddler." Everyone put together ideas, and on Thursday night after the show, we all stayed late and auditioned them. Normally, variety show auditions can get a little awkward...not every idea is well-developed, and not every idea is funny. But Thursday night's auditions were BRILLIANT. There really wasn't a single act that was no good.
This has also been a week when I've been really grateful for nature. I discovered a hiking trail less than 100 steps from our front door, and with the weather getting nicer, that little trail has filled me with so much peace during the last few days.
The last few weeks of rehearsal can be tough...you're at the theatre all day and all night, and you have been for a month and a half. You do shows at night and rehearse during the day. All of it is fulfilling, but it can also be hard. You don't really get a day off except Sunday (if you don't have to get groceries), and sometimes it's hard to choose sleep over having fun with the cast. It's a pretty taxing schedule. But for this flower-child, trees and sky can do wonders in healing the taxed soul. My mom once said, "I am so grateful for the Earth! I feel like I dump so much stress and negative crap on Her during my walks, and in return I get peace and joy. I like to think that gravity is Her telling me, 'I got you, dear! I won't let you go!'" I kept thinking of that statement this last week. I feel closest to my Heavenly Father when I'm out in nature, and whether you believe in Mother Goddess Earth or a Heavenly Father (or a little bit of both), there's peace to be had out in the woods. I'm glad this little theatre is near some.