Broadway West (Blogisode Ten)

Happy Monday!  I am playing puzzles with a much healthier Beatrix, listening to Pandora Radio (The Disney Channel) and blogging.  She is making a beautiful prince and princess–hold on–I’ll show you.

She's up and playing. Her refusal to take a picture means she's feeling better.

She's up and playing. Her refusal to take a picture means she's feeling better.

And that fast, Beatrix has turned off the Disney music and is watching videos of herself on my phone.  This is what I hate about January.  It is freezing cold outside, and maybe if she were a totally healthy kid I could take her outside to play in the snow, but I can’t risk it.  Today we’ve painted pictures and our nails, played puzzles, made Minnie Mouse pancakes, colored pictures and the gray in my hair, cut her fingernails and my bangs, and have only watched 30 minutes of a cartoon…..but I tell you….by 3:24pm, I am tired and out of fun things to do inside.  So, I turn to the “screens” and I blog while she watches videos of Charlotte catching mice on my phone.  And this would lead me to ask myself why I felt compelled to video that grossness, only to have it played over and over again.  Disgusting.

Charlotte has had a big weekend as well, although it got thwarted.  She was supposed to take a scholarship exam in New Rochelle, Ny for a highschool she wants to attend, but it was snowed out at the last minute.  Rob had taken the day off work and our babysitter (Theresa) was already in motion from Queens, so we decided to spend the day in New Rochelle anyway, looking at houses.  You know what?  I’m going to write a Daily Dose about this experience tomorrow, so let’s drop it for now and get back to it–in full–tomorrow.  But let me tease you with this.  I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how people afford it. Seriously.

Tomorrow.

Today Charlotte is working on her 8th grade science fair project, and at the critical moment she discovered we don’t have any ink in the printer.  Then I found out the cartridges are only carried online as of about 30 seconds ago.  Which is not extremely helpful when the project is due tomorrow.  Long story short (too late), my neighbor Carla went way beyond lending a cup of sugar by allowing 2 13-year-old girls to e-mail the contents of their science project and storm her apartment in their pajamas to print it out.  And seconds ago–Charlotte walked in and announced that they’d printed out the unedited version and needed to e-mail Carla and print out the whole thing again.  Which seems unreasonable and expensive and a pain in the arse for Carla, and not how she wanted to spend her Sunday afternoon, so I nixed it and said those famous words, “Call your father.”

Pass the buck, party of one, your table is ready.

Beatrix just tapped me on the foot with her bony fingers and waited for me to look up to say, “I LOVE YOU” at the top of her lungs, so I am not such a terrible parent.  And now we are playing footsie and she is back to playing puzzles–no screens involved.  Win.

Oh, and this breaking news happened, which was so good that I made Charlotte recreate it and the good news is, even recreated, it is a duplicate of the first time.  A My Own Space reality TV moment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALUOK_F8lUU&feature=youtu.be

And just to make things more fun, I was uploading the video, and heard a whirring sound and lo and behold–before Rob could even get home–apparently the empty cartridge maybe wasn’t so empty.  This is how I found out THAT news:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrrV1aQ1SrY&context=C3085ce1ADOEgsToPDskINMq1CoHhUXG7YW6V-FXnt

She’s not quite as good at recreating it, but so darn cute.  She’d watched Charlotte’s video as I uploaded it, and clearly wanted in on the action (please see above about how she likes to watch herself on video).  Warning: me discovering how to embed these videos probably means more videos to come.  Trouble.  Beatrix will love it.

Anyhoo, this is what Sundays are like in my house.  What’s happening in yours?  Peace and quiet?  Football and chili?  In a few minutes I have to get ready to go to an opening night performance and party at The Papermill Playhouse, which means putting on makeup, creating good hair and wearing something other than pajamas.  I’m already dreading it.

Frumpy, party of one, your table is ready.

No, I don’t think I’m frumpy….they all just are ridiculously cute.  Like, off the charts cute.  And young.

Speaking of frumpy, I’m starving.  But I’ve lost 13 pounds, so that’s good.

How about a quick blogisode while Beatrix does 10 paint with water pictures, as requested by Charlotte (she said it was for her science project and assigned it to Beatrix.  How cute is that?  How upset is Beaz going to be when the 10 paint by water pictures do not actually appear on the science fair project?  I’ll keep you posted.)

Blogisode!  Let’s do this!

First day of rehearsal.

It was raining.  I remember this because I walked in and saw a beautiful girl in giant rain boots and an even bigger necklace that looked like buckeyes strung together.  She was in all beige.  I don’t know why this outfit made such an impression on me, but I tell you that because the big rain boot girl turned out to be one of my best friends, Brynn O’Malley, past star of many blogisodes.  Beyond that, I remember another blogisode star, David Benoit and I made a bee line to each other and stuck together like glue.  We knew each other in a six degrees of separation kind of way (more like one degree of separation)  because we shared a mutual good friend, Liz McCartney, and we’d spent her drunken bachelorette party eating Grey’s Papaya hot dogs in the back seat of a limo.  Which is our only history.  Which, as it turns out, is an excellent history to have with someone if you are about to move to Vegas and live a life of debauchery.  But we’ll get to those details soon enough.

It is also excellent because, as it turns out, our job was to be stuck together like glue.  I was to second hand David in the show, which no one was saying out loud, but we figured out pretty quickly.  We were in the “B” cast, which would become known as the “Yellow Bear” cast, or the non-Johnny and non-Rick cast.  Or as we called ourselves, The Ghetto Bear cast.  But, again, I’m ahead of myself.  We’ll get there soon enough.

Week One:  Puppet Camp.

First day of rehearsal

First day of rehearsal

Rick Lyon, as I explained, is a professional puppeteer, an original Q cast member and the builder of the Q puppets.  Puppet camp was a week with Rick, which, I would suppose if you were Rick, was probably a test of patience because really, we didn’t know what we were doing.  I mean, we weren’t awful (we’d all had exposure to puppets from the auditions, and some people had a great deal more experience) but none of us were up to par with the professional puppeteering Avenue Q was used to.  The original cast all had Sesame Street on their resumes.  It’s a small and cliquey world, that puppetry world, and then all of us loud musical theater people came marching in, trying to pretend like we knew what we were doing.

It was hard.  It was a LOT of singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”–oh here–this is a good exercise, you can do it with your hand.  “Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and pretend like you are wearing a puppet.  Move your hand the way you would if you were making the puppet sing.  Do it-go on–sing it and move your fingers.  Okay.  You probably want to open and close your fingers to make the mouth move, right?  That’s wrong.  If you do that, it makes the puppet’s head look really floppy.  Instead, the motion is much easier, and as Rick said, it’s all in the wrist.  Move your hand forward and allow your fingers to open (this is hard to describe, do you get it?) instead of moving your fingers.  Allow your hand to flop around.  Now sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” while making that motion to move the mouth.  See how easy it is?

Lip Synch 101.

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily with ping pong balls.

Now, when you get to “Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily” instead of articulating every consonant with your fingers (which makes the puppet mouth move too quickly and the puppets look crazy), just accent MER and LY (skip the middle consonant).  See what I mean?  It totally works.  But it takes practice.  Repeat 50 bazillion times.  Now do it with a puppet until your arm falls off.

Lip Synch 102.

So now, maybe, you can appreciate how and why we spent a week in rehearsal without a script or anything–just us and puppets–no director, no music director.

The last time I was that sore, I was rehearsing CATS.

On Wednesday I’ll tell you how close David and I got to being fired. Or at least we thought so.  And think so.

(To read the next post in the series, go here)


 

 

 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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