Friday, November 29, 2013

Much Ado About... EVERYTHING! -- posted by John

I'm finally getting around to writing about performing as Don John the Bastard in Much Ado About Nothing with the Newberry Community Players. I met a lot of wonderful people there, especially the prettiest girl in the whole wide world, and my new very bestest friend, Marianna. We go together like peas and carrots.

We are much better looking, and a lot less awkward in real life than in this picture, lol.  (Btw, George made the rose window on the set behind us.  It, too, was better looking in real life.)  Marianna didn't have any lines since she was late auditioning.  She played a maid who eavesdrops while sweeping.  Nevertheless, she lit up the stage with her beauty.  It's true; she's a lovely girl.

Two more beauties I met are the ebullient "Miss" Ellen and her illustrious mother, "Miss" Laura.  Miss Ellen is the brilliant director of the Newberry Community Players, and even though her mother was her assistant, everyone knows Miss Laura is the grande dame of the whole affair.  They helped me so much by encouraging me to understand my character, and pushing me to express the explosive anger they wanted for Don John.  I'd never done anything like this before, and "villainous bastard" was certainly new to me, lol.  But they never gave up on me, and in the end I think I made them proud. 

Likewise Nicole, the assistant director, was also invaluable.  She took me aside, away from everybody, and pounded away to get me to properly gesticulate and deliver my lines.  I feel like I've learned so much.

So it's been a busy couple of months for the Allens.  I had frequent rehearsals, George and Richard helped build the set and were all-round general maintenance.  Mom and Sarah Grace helped make costumes, and were available at each rehearsal to do whatever needed to be done.  During the performances George was in charge of the music, and Richard was busy running errands and giving cues.  Mom and Sarah were backstage armed with safety pins and glue guns, and while we were on stage, they were in the wings with the script to assist the performers.  Thanks y'all for everything!

Here's the link to the last show of the play, and Sarah put minute marks at each of my scenes.  Unfortunately this is my least favorite performance, as I felt like I rushed through my lines.  The friar, Mr. Rendleman, filmed it as well and said he'd get us a copy.

I think sometimes things happen in your life that are a much bigger deal to you than to anyone else involved.  Maybe that's the case with this play.  I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, and I know I'm better for it.  Maybe somebody should remind Miss Ellen's laid back husband, Dr. Hunt, that there may just be God's providence behind all that take-out!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Farewell -- posted by Don John the Bastard

After seven performances and innumerable rehearsals, we had our cast party after the last matinee Sunday.  Ever since, this scene and music have been running through my head.

Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Test -- posted by Mom

Billy and Gary have already taken it, just so you know.

Click on the Forvo link below, listen to the first five pronunciations, and determine which one is the most smug.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Much Ado -- posted by Mom

We've been busy with John's rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing in Newberry, so we neglected to post.  He's Don John, the villain.  Unfortunately the director doesn't want a smoldering Don John but rather an explosively angry Don John.  Our phlegmatic John will actually be forced to act as a consequence.  I've thought of stomping his foot or twisting his nose, but I can't imagine ANYTHING getting John explosively angry... except perhaps if I stomped Sarah Grace's foot or twisted her nose... but I can't actually do that, now can I?

Oddly enough John had never seen Much Ado About Nothing even though it is an Allen family favorite comedy (at least the Kenneth Branagh version).  Funny how something thought to be a beloved family experience is something the Young Guns were either too young or not yet born to remember.

Unfortunately everybody hates Keanu Reeves' Don John.  I think he was supposed to be smoldering but, to me, he came off as just plain dull-witted.  So poor John has no one to imitate.  The first performance is next Friday so I'll let you know.  And I won't spare his feelings.  You know me, Gru's mom, as they say.

Here are the latest Rick Steves' episodes we've watched:

Fifteenth-century Florence was the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of our modern world. 

In this second of a two episodes on Florence, we’ll enjoy more of the exquisite artistic treasures of the city that propelled Europe out of the Middle Ages. 

We decided on Duolingo for our French studies (thanks Will!).  It is soo much fun.  If fact, Billy is going to take French with us (Gary thinks google translate has already made him fluent so I don't think he feels the need).

Imagine this: After seeing Semiramide (the 1990 version from The Met with Marilyn Horne), we promoted it like crazy to Billy.  (Mr. Lane's graphic design business is right there at Covent Garden by the Royal Opera House in London, yet Billy has never been to an opera!  For shame.)  Anyway, Billy happened to be flipping through a bunch of miscellaneous DVDs and lo and behold he saw it!... accidentally!... at a good price!  Only, Billy calls it Semilolmide.  Anyway, this opera is the most beautiful production I have ever seen.  From the rich set and costumes, to the orchestra, awesome singing and acting, everything was just gorgeous.

Did I tell you that on Valentine's Day, unbeknownst to either of them, Sarah gave Billy a ticket to the Royal Opera House and Billy gave Sarah lovely opera glasses?  (Or "binoculars on a stick," as it were.)  It was like The Gift of the Magi... sorta, but not really, yet a really cool exchange nevertheless.

Oh I can't wait to see Don John's long skinny legs in tights with the fitted doublet with high standing collar, falling band, wings, tight sleeves, cuffs, dipped front, peascod belly and skirt of medium tabs; unpaned trunkhose with canions and codpiece.  In other words, I can't wait to see his spaghetti noodles dangling from those Shakespearean puff pants!