It is time to do some catching up. For the past two weeks we have been busy working on Willie Wonka. Hannah is my right hand man. She is the Assistant Director and she is also my Tech Assistant. She even got her name in the program as such. We have up in a large number of hours getting this set done and working out all the kinks. After we close on Friday, I will blog about the whole set and give a run down on each of the pieces involved in the show. Hannah also helped me with working lighting and sound issues.
We were snowed out of our opening night…. actually, we had to cancel the whole opening weekend. This was very stressful for the cast and crew. The director was the most stressed. He was set up for loosing a ton of money. He was able to pay a $500 fee and to add a matinee and two performances for this coming week. Adding shows that are not in the advertising is always a risk. But I think it will pay off. So far we have had some of the largest audiences I have ever seen at a play. Last night we even had 490 people! We are excited about that. The parent group has a treats stand at intermission and is making close to $500 a night on selling treats. It’s crazy. The most frustrating thing about the tickets is that the Superintendent asked the school board to pass something that allowed all school employees, plus one guest in free… AND all senior citizens and a guest in free… AND all fire, police and paramedics. Really? So far 100 people have taken advantage of all the Superintendent’s generosity. That is $800 lost in ticket sales. That could be a big loss for the program.
Plays are not the only thing hit. It does apply to sports and stuff. However, sports gets money from the district… lots of money in comparison to the amount of money give to Drama and Music. We survive on ticket sales. Plays are not cheap. Royalties could be as expensive as $10,000 for a musical. Then there is the cost of costumes, props and the sets. I’m pretty good at pinching pennies when it comes to getting a set done, but it still costs money… money that comes from ticket sales. It costs money to replace lamps in lighting instruments… lighting instruments that every organization in the district seems to use from time to time. It costs money to maintain and replace sound equipment. The district has now set us up for the extinction of a drama program. If that happens I will be moving my kids to a new district… and I won’t go quietly.
It really does get under my skin. It is so thoughtless of the school board and the administration. I know. They were looking for something to offer teachers in contract negotiations. At what cost? A cost to the kids. Budgets are small. Money is short. Now there are few ticket sales and the program is at risk. Who suffers? THE KIDS! Jerks. There. I said it.
At least the show is a cute show (for being such a dumb script). And we get to have plays for now. Meanwhile, The school decided to offer a production class for the second semester. In the class the kids will learn the whole process of production from beginning to end. At first the teacher chose to do Urinetown. It’s a funny script. I like it. I am even thinking of proposing it for a show at Pentacle Theatre. I’ve written up my thoughts for the theater board and even started a Student Study Guide. I started going to the school as a volunteer for a couple of hours a day to help with the tech class and the production class. The teacher even used the lessons plans I wrote about Brecht to teach the kids about a new style of theater… then the show fell. The principle and the Superintendent don’t like the show. They have asked the teacher to change shows. But now the kids were completely sold on the show and the theater techniques we had all talked about. They were pretty disappointed when the teacher said they needed a different show. I guess the administration said they wouldn’t censor the teacher but they really didn’t want to have the show because it looked too much like the recent union against the district stuff that has been going on. They said they want the community to heal.
I don’t buy it. I think they are mostly worried about their own selves. Meanwhile, the teacher feels cornered. He really wanted to do the show. They all knew the plan and were rude enough to wait until three weeks into the semester to say something. Music and Drama are always on the chopping block, so a livelihood feels threatened. It looks like we will be starting over casting a show. Sad really. However, I have to say I am proud of what the kids learned. They are a completely different group of kids now than they were three weeks ago. These are now kids willing to stand up for what they believe. Hannah is in the class and she and a couple other kids wrote letters to the principle and to the Superintendent. They have all developed some critical thinking skills and are beginning to look at the world with new eyes. They are seeing that they can make a difference in this world… all because we started and discussed Urinetown. So it’s sad we won’t get to perform the show, but it’s good that we contributed to helping these kids be better contributors to the communities they will eventually be a part of as adults.
Maybe we will find out what they will get to do this week… after a long weekend. Meanwhile, we work on Willie Wonka. I boss people… Hannah gets mics ready and is learning more and more about the sound board…
… and Lilli is learning to do follow spot. She is doing a great job! Truth be told, she far better than the two high school students I have on the other two follow spots. I think I have an other techie in the mix. That makes every single one of my kids who have stepped up to do jobs in the techie world. No one has stuck with it, but I may get one to eventually. 🙂
Meanwhile, at home or even not at home things move on. John went to California for the week. I am not a big fan of John travelling. He even got a bit lost this time… something about being late… not wanting a rental car… missing a train… going to some different station… being in a cheap motel across town rather than the hotel housing the conference… but he learned what he needed to, hung out with friends, saw the bridge, and made it home safely. (That was a bit sketchy because of the snow)
Lillian is doing great at school work. She is my little helper and get Case on and off the bus for me. She goes to dance classes and helps. Not only is she operating the follow spot for Wonka she is getting ready to operate the follow spot for Les Miserables. I think the biggest news for her week has to be her first zit. She freaked out. I was laughing so hard. Every time we have to talk about “growing up” stuff she flips her lid. Such a goof ball. She is NOT looking forward to all the things that come with being a teen.
I don’t have a picture of Chad this week. He is keeping up with school. He about to change up is eating and work out habits. This past weekend he went to a Smash Brothers, or something like that, competition in Portland. He’s pretty good around here, but he got his butt kicked there. Still, it sounds like he had fun.
OK… other big news was the 13 inches of snow we got. As a kid, snow rarely stopped the action of my hometown. However, this little town is not prepared for snow… or ice… and sometimes, not even heavy rains. No one buys studded or snow tires. There is only one snow plow for two towns. Roads were impassable. The whole town shut down for 4 days. School was cancelled. Stake Conference was cancelled. Mail wasn’t delivered. Everyone stayed in their houses and found stuff to do. John put chains on the Suburban and headed out to a friends house to kids sledding. He even helped rescue people from ditches and stuff. He loved driving around in the stuff.
It was deep. The dogs didn’t like to go out. Kirby was buried every time he was let out to relieve his bladder. We had to shovel the deck and a path in the grass in order to convince him he needed to go out. He was ok once we got the freezing rain that made a layer of ice on the snow…. that is until he fell through the ice and snow and was buried again. Silly dog.
Lilli tried her hand at making a snow cave…
… John did too. He got his tent out and buried it. Goof.
I think Kat had the right idea… on snowy days you just need to curl up, keep warm and relax. I didn’t go out in it. I really don’t have the clothing to go out in the snow. I used to have a brown coat… but John claimed it. I used to have blue wind breaker type coat… but Chad claimed it and wore it on some scout outings. I used to have a blue rain coat…. but John claimed it too and I haven’t seen it in years. I guess they all thought that since I didn’t wear them often I didn’t need them In some ways it’s ok because they couldn’t go all the way around me anyway. I have a sweater and I have two sweatshirts. They are ok most winter days around here. However, they wouldn’t do on a snowy day… so I choose to stay in and hear about the fun everyone is having outside. I just can’t find a coat that fits and if I did, I can’t see spending $150 on one coat I may not wear in a year.
Hannah and I are still doing Les Miserables rehearsals. Opening night is coming fast! In fact, we move into the theater tomorrow. This is so much music… so many bodies in a little space… so much to do and so little time to do it in.
We go most week nights. I am enjoying getting to know more and more people. I especially enjoy hanging out with the people I got to know during Secret Garden and in other theater adventure. I like the collaboration and the working relationship I have with the director Robert Salberg. We really work well together and it feels like we’ve known each other for ever. I sure hope I get to help him on many shows to come because we do work well together… nearly as good as Jeff and I do. 🙂
Hannah is a great cast member. She is completely memorized, knows her blocking and has a great attitude. As Eponine she sits around for much of the production. She and “Cosette” get cozy on the couch while they wait for their scenes. These two beauties may have the “leads” in this show, but they are not in very many scenes… thus they are perfecting the art of napping at rehearsal.
For our snow days, Hannah and I made 4 batches of cinnamon rolls. We had pans coming out our ears. John liked driving around giving them away. Hannah said I can now make good cinnamon rolls because I’m a grandma. Whatever. I’ve always been good. She just didn’t want to give me credit. I did try a new recipe. I wish they were a little more flaky. I’ve got to figure that out. Maybe on our next snow day.
I took this picture because I was frustrated one day. See… I used to have all kinds of charts and schemes to get the kids to help with chores. I’ve given those up in recent years. On this particular day I asked Lilli to empty the dish washer and Hannah to clean up the table and Chad to wipe off the counters. I went around changing laundry and stuff… and unloaded and loaded the dish washer, cleaned the table off, wiped the counters and swept the floor. Meanwhile, this is what the kids did. I took a picture. I want them to know someday what it looked like when they did chores when they complain to me that they can’t get their kids to help up. I know. Most of you will comment on how I should unplug the computer or tv. but truthfully, I don’t have time for the fight… at least not that day. It was so much easier when they were little. I am sorry I ever complained out getting little kids to help. Teen are just not helpful AT ALL!
Biggest news of the past too weeks?
HANNAH GOT HER BRACES OFF!
She is a stinker and wouldn’t let me get a picture…. something about getting her teeth brushed first. Like anyone was going to see the goo on her teeth… its white after all. She is glad to have that little adventure done… just in time for Les Miserables.
Wait for it!
Wait for it!
Wait FOR IT!
Since you kept scrolling you got to see the finished product. They are beautiful. Until next week!