Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to blogging: Weeks 13 and 14 at the Playmill

Been on a bit of a hiatus from writing lately. I sort of had writer's block...or, "blogger's block," as the case may be. And I was just tired. This point in the summer can start to feel monotonous if you let it...get up, hang around, go to the theatre, do two shows, clean the theatre, go home. Repeat. I sort of lost my focus for a little while, as good as my intentions may be as a performer. I felt myself spending a lot of time "out of the moment" and sort of not really present. So I stopped bringing books to the theatre for a few days, and just allowed myself to tune back in to being there, at the theatre, doing what I love. It was the kick-start to my zen that I needed. :) It also got rid of my "blogger's block." So here we are.

Also, sometimes I forget about things until later. And then I write them down. So some of these things didn't necessarily happen this last week, but they did happen at some point, and the important thing is writing them down. So here you go. A few highlights from the last few weeks:

Anya fell on her bum while attempting to help Max mop. She may have also been dancing.

Jacob C did an AMAZING cover during "Beauty and the Beast." There's a short scene between him (as Lafou) and Belle, and during that scene, his wig fell right off. The audience burst into laughter, and Jacob immediately said, "It's true. I wear a wig!" After some more laughter, he added, "DON'T tell Gaston!" Hannah (who plays Belle) was DYING of laughter, and Jacob finished with, "This never happened. If you need to take this scarf as collateral..." We all stood backstage and laughed, and when he got offstage, we all applauded him. I felt so proud of him and his brilliance. He said later that the second his wig came off, he panicked and had NO IDEA what to do, but suddenly found himself talking. Apparently, his subconscious brain knew exactly what to do.

Syd's "Harry Potter" prank during "Fiddler." There's a point during the "Chava dance" that she moves a flat, and she usually stands at the curtain and makes a face at Eliza, who's onstage. Syd found the Harry Potter puppet pal that was left up in the dressing room from variety show auditions, so she decided that Harry would be at the curtain to greet Eliza. However, she had to get the stuffed Harry Potter (which was the size of a pillow) down the stairs, through the cast hallway, through the back tunnel, through the lobby, and into concessions without Eliza seeing it. So she held it between her knees, threw her skirt over it, and awkwardly waddled the entire journey. Like the Chinese magician in The Prestige. And it worked!

Taylor and the moth in her bloomers. One night after the show, there was a huge moth flying around the girl's dressing room. Half of us were freaking out, and Taylor was chasing it around, saying, "Moth! Moth! Calm down! It's okay! We can talk about it!" She finally caught it in her hands and was about to take it outside, when she realized all she was wearing was her undershirt and her huge bloomers. So she lifted the waist of her bloomers above her shoulders, and in this strange outfit, she hobbled down the stairs and set the moth free.

Playmill prom! A highlight of every year. It's a late night, since we do it at the theatre after the shows, but it's worth it. We draw names for dates (except married couples) and everyone dresses up in costumes. Here's who was present at this year's prom.
Justin D and Maggie - Gru and Agnes from "Despicable Me" (crowned Playmill Prom King and Queen)
Stacey and Max - Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy
Eliza and Mason - Illegal immigrants (swam over from Cuba)
Jacob and I - Dr Horrible and Penny
Misha and Scotty - A geyser and a buffalo
Sydney and Davis - The royal couple Kate and Will (with baby in tow)
Nicole and Justin M - Beyonce and Jay-Z
Tanner and Taylor - a Mormon missionary and his investigator (which was awesome because Tanner is the only non-Mormon in our cast)
Jerry, Luke, and Anya - Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea
Dave and Cam - Scott and a geyser
Amanda and Jacob S - Wilson and the castaway
Roger and Heidi - Asian tourists
Boyd - The Chaperone
(How awesome is this cast?)

Making our concessions goal! At the beginning of the summer, Roger told us that if we broke $2000 in concessions, he'd take us all out to dinner, or do something equally celebratory. We totally made that goal over a month ago, so we set a new goal of $2500. Which was pretty tough. But I help count the concessions money most nights, and after the 8:30 intermission a week or so ago, we had about $2470. So all of us bought fudge and t-shirts, adding money to the concessions pile even while Justin was counting it. The final total: $2499.73. So Jacob Squire laid down a dollar and said, "I'm buying a Dole Whip!" Which brought our total to $2500.73. We all ran through the hallways and all through the theatre, shouting and yelling, and Roger made the largest, most important Dole Whip of the summer. Dave said "I feel like dancing on the rooftops!" Then we remembered that we had the rooftop set piece from "Fiddler," so we ran out to it and Dave climbed onto it and danced a celebratory dance. As a reward, the Merrills are taking us all for a weekend in Bozeman. We're staying at the Come On Inn, which sounds absurd, but is actually AWESOME. When we were delivering posters to Bozeman, Jacob C, Scotty, Joe and I all explored it. All the rooms surround one central landscaped area, full of hot tubs, waterfalls, fish ponds, etc. I'M SO EXCITED. Next week, baby.

Camping at Targhee. A few of Jacob S's friends came to see the shows, and not wanting to pay for a hotel, opted to camp. Jerry, Jacob C, Syd and I all joined them. Highlights included awesome tinfoil dinners that we were really impatient about cooking, and a marshmallow flying off a roasting stick with the timing and arc of an America's Funniest Home Video. I like hanging out with theatre people because I can usually immediately form a friendship...they're part of my "tribe," so I don't have to worry about the conventions of any other tribe. Does that make sense? Anyway, here's to you, Will, Anthony, and John. It was a pleasure to meet you.

One of the sad things in the last few weeks is the absence of Henk and Jacqueline. Our "grandparents" from Holland were here for over a month, and we all came to love them so dearly. I hated to see them go. They became such a familiar presence that I'm sometimes struck by their absence. I miss the way Henk says "darling" and Jacqueline's sweet smile. Next year, Henk and Jacqueline...even if Jacob and I aren't at the Playmill, we can't wait to see you.

So as not to end this on a sad note, here are two quotes to make you smile:

"I HAVE to wet my hair down every night so that I don't look like a...wildebeest." --Mason

"I think baby Charlie and I have a lot in common. We both get upset when we're hungry. We both look at our thighs a lot. Sometimes we don't know when our tongues are hanging out." --Taylor

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Week 12, or "If A Playmill Summer Was A Pregnancy, We Just Finished Our First Trimester."

Short entry for this week. I think I've mentioned this before, but time is a funny thing up here at the Playmill. I'm sure things have happened this week, but I can't quite remember many of them. Here's what I do remember:

We went to a BBQ on Sunday at Luke's sister's house, which included roasted hot dogs, fried scones, root beer floats. And a lake. And a rowboat ADVENTURE EXTRAORDINAIRE. Later, we felt bad for taking the rowboat out for so long, but Amanda, Taylor and I explored the entire lake. At one point, we were blocked from the edge of the lake by about 15 feet of lily pads, but that didn't stop us. Oh no. Amanda leaned out of the front of the boat, pushing them aside, while Taylor and I rowed through. We straight-up hacked through that wilderness. And then when we drove home, Jerry saw a rattlesnake on the side of the road. So he pulled over and shot it.

This conversation:
Justin D - "Oooh are we talking about what we would do if we weren't Mormon? Because I'd totally be an alcoholic."
Scotty - "I'd be a nudist."
Misha - "I'd wear tanktops. ALL THE TIME."

Joe Galati is no longer with us. I hope he'll be happier wherever he's going, and I trust that we'll all be where we're supposed to be, doing what we're supposed to be doing. We've had to take some time to re-work a few things in the shows, so this week is a little nuts, but we're making it work.

A little girl in the audience who stopped Amanda, and had the following conversation:
Little girl - I just have one question. Why is everyone so fanced up?
Amanda - Well, that's how people dress in a castle.
Little girl - Really? Can I visit your castle?
Amanda - You're here! This is it! This is the castle!
Little girl - (gasps and notices the throne onstage)

There are also some great pictures from Sunday, which I'll post later. Peace and love to all.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Week 11, or A Week of Wardrobe Malfunctions

This is another one of those weeks that seemed to fly by. Sometimes a week feels like it takes a week, and other times it seems like it was over before I noticed it. Here are some of the adventures from this last week...writing them out, I realized that a lot of them involved clothing. (Or lack thereof...)

When I accidentally kicked Tanner in the crotch. Oh I felt horrible. I was sitting in the rocking chair in one of the stalls, behind a curtain. I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be funny if I grabbed someone's legs with my legs from behind this curtain? I'll have to be careful I don't hit them in the crotch..." The next time someone in costume walked by, I acted out my plan, and then discovered Tanner crumpled on the ground. Friend of the Year Award, right here.

When Camilla ran offstage during the mob song and her skirt fell right off. I didn't actually see this, but it happened.

Bottle-dance in the girls' dressing room after "Fiddler." And that's all I'm going to say about that.

John messing up his lines. He's supposed to say, "You can have a good conversation with him if you're talking about kidneys and livers." But one night he said, "You can have a good conversation with him if you're talking about kidneys and...BEANS!"

Handicapped "Tradition" hands. I've done this at least 3 times this summer, and I wish I could demonstrate it because I'm not sure if I can describe this properly in words. Wait. I'll use pictures. So, at the end of "Tradition" in Fiddler on the Roof, I'm standing centerstage, right in front of row 1, and my arms are supposed to look like this:

But every now and then, my brain goes, "No! Only 1 arm should be up like it is earlier in the number! No, wait! I changed my mind!" And my arms end up doing something halfway in between, like this:

And it's awkward.

Walking out to the theatre where Mason was vacuuming and hearing him giggle, then looking up and discovering he was arranging his own hair by pulling it in one direction or another with the vacuum hose.

Watching fireworks from the roof of the Playmill on the 4th of July. I read the beginning and the end of the Declaration of Independence aloud, skipping all the crimes of the king, because every single year, I read the Declaration of Independence aloud, and every single year, people are NOT into it, but I will read it anyway until the day I die.

Big Sky adventures with Jerry, Syd, and Jacob S. We originally went in search of the Bluebird Cafe, a place where Jacob ate breakfast in 2010, but which had since gone out of business. So we explored the Big Sky lodge and ate at a place called The Bugaboo Cafe, which was also good. And we found some hats in a gift shop:
(And let's take a moment to acknowledge that Jacob S's face is the best part of this picture.)

Shirtless Joe Galati adventures:
1. Between the matinee and evening shows of Beauty and the Beast on Saturday, the Merrills got us pizza. Joe Galati was in his white prince shirt costume, and asked if he should take it off. We said yes, and a few minutes later noticed that Joe was sitting in the seats, eating pizza, shirtless. When we told him to take off his shirt, we imagined he'd put a different one ON.
2. After the shows on Saturday, I went into the cleaning closet to look for a vacuum part, but a few seconds later, heard someone giggling. I looked up and saw Joe standing about 6 inches away from me, shirtless, holding one of his costumes in front of him. I started laughing, and that's how Justin D found us when HE came into the cleaning closet. AWKWARD.

When Taylor lost her plate costume. Her 8-foot tall, impossible to store (or lose) plate costume. (It was later found behind some flats backstage.)

When Hannah's skirt fell off during the finale. Her giant hoop skirt that goes under the iconic yellow Belle dress. She ran offstage, holding it up with her hands and whisper-yelling "Help me! HELP ME!" before realizing that EVERYONE was onstage. Luckily, Nicole realized what was going on, ran backstage and helped her.

When Amanda did part of "Be Our Guest" with the back of her dress completely unzipped. She unzipped it to check her mic, but couldn't get it zipped back up before needing to be onstage. Her wardrobe and her wig mostly covered her up, but it was still a little crazy until we could fix it.

When I sang "Human Again" like a drunk Ethel Merman to a patron on accident. While I burst through the curtains. I was 100 percent certain there were no more patrons in the theatre.

Rexburg weekend, including Joe Galati stealing Cam's Peach-O's in the Winco parking lot and running like, 2 miles away with them. We chased him around for a good 10 minutes, and finally, between 1 car, 3 people on foot, and a friendly Mexican man who watched the whole thing and gave us directions as to where Joe went, we tackled him.

And finally, I became an aunt this week! For the first time! Rather unexpectedly...Jacob's twin sister Adele was pregnant and due around the beginning of September. On the 4th of July, she began having labor pains and when they went to the hospital, discovered that she was dilated to a 7 and that baby was on his way. Adele was just shy of 31 weeks, so the family kind of white-knuckled our way through the birth. But Benjamin Holmes Johnson was born at 4 lbs, 16 inches long, and cried right away, despite his little lungs not having enough time to finish developing. He's in the NICU in Idaho Falls for the next couple of weeks, and he's getting stronger every day. He can only be held by his mom and dad, and only for an hour and a half per day, so we didn't get to hold him. But we visited him in his little blue "baby oven" at the hospital this weekend and cheered him on as he grew. If you'd like, send prayers and positive energy in Baby Ben's direction. It's miraculous...maybe as few as fifty years ago, he might not have made it. But with today's medicine, he'll be just fine.

And finally, finally, here are two pictures of the sky from this week. The first is from West Yellowstone, the second from Rexburg. As much as I occasionally resent living in southeast Idaho, it sure can be pretty.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Week 10, or Truly Summer

It's been such a full week, and it occurred to me today that it seems like it is now TRULY summer. It's the second full week we haven't had rehearsals, and the week was filled with everything from laying around and reading to bonfires and swimming. Here's the last week and a half or so in list form.

Things Done Sunday Before Last
1. Lunch at Bill's house--a Playmill patron of many years
2. Sitting outside and looking out over Hebgen Lake in the sunshine
3. A semi-off-roading adventure with Jerry and Squire
4. Hanging out at a cabin belonging to Luke's family, eating nachos and watching "The Dark Knight"

Things Done Last Sunday
1. Singing in sacrament meeting
2. Lunch at Heidi's parents' house
3. An uplifting fireside
4. Swimming/wading in the river
5. Banana boats by a bonfire
6. Visiting friends in Rexburg

Ways Jacob Squire Failed to Get My Oreo From the Arm of the Couch at Heidi's Parents' House
1. Lasso-ing with a sunglasses chain
2. Lasso-ing with a watch
3. Lasso-ing with a shoe
(This whole process was hysterically funny, but I don't think I can do it justice in writing. It just kept getting more and more unsuccessful.)

Ways You Can Be Cruel to Actors At the Playmill
1. Make them wear several layers of wool and/or leather in July, under stage lights, when it's 90 degrees outside with 70% humidity, in a building way too old to have efficient air conditioning
2. Complain about the heat as an audience member

Things Mason Doesn't Remember Doing Saturday Night After Getting a Concussion
1. Pretending to throw up on Section A during "Gaston"
2. Talking to someone in concessions, then turning to me, throwing his arms around me and slurring, "Linz! I love you. You're the only one who appreciates me," then kissing me on the forehead and walking away

Lyrics Jacob Squire is Supposed to Sing in the Mob Song
It's a beast! He's got fangs, razor sharp ones.
Massive paws, killer claws for the feast.
Hear him roar! See him foam!
But we're not coming home 'til he's dead!

Lyrics Jacob Squire Actually Sang in the Mob Song 
He's a beast, he's as tall as a mountain!
He's got claws...razor sharp ones too!
Here we come, there we go....'til he's dead!

Things I Look Forward To On a Regular Basis
1. Frumah-Sarah's entrance during The Dream in "Fiddler on the Roof." (Man, it's so awesome. That whole scene is one of my favorite things of the whole summer.)
2. Singing pre-show

Favorite Things About Carrie and Scott Visiting This Last Weekend
1. Talking (and laughing) for hours
2. Georgia's version of throwing something in the air and catching it in her mouth (she just holds it up in the air for a second then puts it in her mouth)
3. Hearing fun stories about how Georgia spent her 2nd birthday
4. Just seeing them--let's be honest, I can never get enough of these Chapmans and I wish we could have spent more time with them

Things Jacob Chapman Has Said Quietly and In Character During Crowd Scenes 
1. During Seven Brides, as a suitor, talking to one of the brides: "I heard of an opening in Alaska...for two unmarried schoolteachers. We should go. But be married. We'll fool 'em! 'Cause we'll be married!"
2. During Fiddler, as the rabbi, after the Russians come and destroy everything at the wedding reception, to a crying Tzietel: "It's all right. I think we're having some ice cream or something later."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Overheard at the Playmill*

I've got a post forthcoming about Week 10 at the Playmill, but in the meantime, I found my quotebook, and thought I'd share these quotable gems from the last few weeks.

Taylor: Give me an awkward compliment.
Joe:'re ugly?
Taylor: That's not an awkward compliment, that's an insult.

"I made thirty-seven and a half dollars! Wanna know why? Because one of the dollars ripped in half and I don't know where the other half went." - Jacob S

On the song "Bohemian Rhapsody": "I always imagine this song being sung by fish." - Jerry

"Nobody come between me and my Tupperware! I need to store this food so that I can throw it away later." - Stacey

*I stole the idea for this post from Carrie