Letters to Holly

Monday, July 20

Third Show

You never know what Sunday crowds will be like. The common notion is that they will be stuffy blue-hairs, few and prim and too polite to laugh. We didn't have that this show. It was a small crowd, but it swelled with eight walk-ins, making for a much better audience than we had any right to expect. This is another no-name show, and we're happy if we have more than 15 people. These people were vocal and attentive. We can't ask for more.

Some theatre regulars were there. The house manager, with whom I coordinate the beginning of the first and second acts, was my wife from the murder play. Her husband is one of the highly regarded directors. He also runs the committee for choosing the debut plays competition. When we last met, he gave me the sales push to joining the committee. This time, he tries to get me to take over the committee next year, relieving him of the burden. I don't bite. He and others joke that I am the theatre at this point. They see my director stint as a potential spark to revive the theatre. I suppose my departure at the end of this play will hit them hard. I don't feel bad about that anymore. I'm no local-show Jesus.

One tech slip occurred when the stage lights were turned on much too early for a show transition. The light guy immediately apologized as soon as intermission started. I told him he was due for a couple of mistakes to balance out the sound problems.

We had a much bigger issue outside. The actor bathrooms were flooding into the sidewalk on the other side of their wall. They were horrified. While the first play ran -- my play, the play I want to listen to every day -- I called around to get a contact for the building. While the show continued, someone arrived to address the situation. We didn't see them, but we could tell someone was there. The actors can use the regular bathrooms at the back of the hall. They prefer to not be seen in costume offstage, but when you gotta go ...

My curtain speech was probably a bit quick. To make up for that, the mom actress went back to her old habits of extending her lines and adding vocal noises before speaking. We don't get "Rochelle will visit me. Rochell loves me." We get "Oooooohhhh, um ... Rochelle ... Rocheeeeelle loves me, and Rocheeeeelle will visit meeeeeeeee." She doesn't talk like this offstage. She's clear and bright and considerate in conversation. She's a smart cookie. But she's determined to make Mom a tragic caricature. She wanted to do Glass Menagerie this season and petitioned the script committee to choose it. I think she's trying to turn a 30-minute sitcom into Tennessee Williams.

She knew she screwed up. She didn't get the reactions she did Saturday, and I hope the time off (the blessed, glorious time off) will set in her head the clear results of listening to the director (oh hey, that's me).

Everyone else was good, and we ended again right at 2 hours and twenty minutes. It's not my doing that hits that mark each day. It's happenstance.

I got home before 6 and mowed the yard and put out snail bait. Your Sis called to say she's enjoying her unplugged cabin experience. I'm sprawling like a proper bachelor, but I did the laundry. I woke up to beat to run, and I plan to do two miles when I get home tonight.

Picture of the Day
This is the first look at Scarlet Johannsen as Black Widow, the Soviet spy who flirts and flights with Tony Stark. I watched Downey in Zodiac last night, and he's good as always.

The comic character traditionally looks like this:

I don't know where they got the Raggedy Ann curls.

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