Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Henry VIII: Fragility

This is where I discuss history or the work. If you want to know about my mental health, you can visit the running blog. However, on occasion, the heart affects the work in such a way that writing about it becomes compromised.

It should suffice to say that everything that is current troubling the little world inside my head could be calmed in a moment through a) communication and b) a little kindness. To that end I have made a habit of not commenting on every single thing someone else says on Facebook.

Yesterday, we celebrated the conclusion of another successful school year with the Great Lakes Theater School Residency Program. This annual ritual, bidding farewell to fond co-workers for the season, falling as it has the past several years on the day after Memorial Day, serves as an unofficial opening to Summer.  

GLT 2011-2012 Actor-Teachers

School is winding down for my children, which is not without its share of tremors. Living in Cleveland Heights, having school-age children is never without its share of disturbances. But at least we can rest in the knowledge that the schedule for the summer is already packed with camps and road trips and, unlike the summers of my youth, no one will cry I'M BORED. As usual, they will probably be crying I'M TIRED.

Last night, Elaine visited rehearsals for Henry VIII to help guide and shape the song. Her presence was relaxing but also very focused. I got to just sit there, listen and nod my big bald head. 

It was not my intention to put an entire song into this production. The Queen requests a melody to put her heart at ease. So, do we use Shakespeare-Fletcher's period lyrics? No, probably not. Songs are to entertain, not educate, and I did not want something arcane to bust up the contemporary flow.

So, do we use something from the Queen, this Queen's childhood? From the 1970s, perhaps, the greatest album of songs about betrayal and infidelity, Fleetwod Mac's Rumours was the soundtrack to third grade for me, and a template for interpersonal relationships. You think the kids today have it bad listening to Adele?

Scene from Cole Cuts (1998) featuring Elaine Feagler.
Song can take you higher.

But that would make the songs just some kind of arch joke. There is a great deal of archery in this production of Henry VIII, but it wouldn't be appropriate there. Something sincere. And sincere, on stage, needs to be big. It needs to go on long enough to get past the a-ha, I see what you did there stage. And so. An entire song (and it's not Fleetwood Mac.)

How to perform an entire song, in an office setting, with four voices? Well, you will simply have to attend and see how well we do.

Costumer Heather arrived on Monday night with racks and racks of costumey goodness! In her delirium, the Queen has a vision of the six wives of Henry VIII (she is the first.) I asked for wedding dresses. Heather brought in maybe a dozen. For real! Some twelve big-ass, whitey-white-white wedding dresses. This is delirious vision thing is going to be awesome.

Whew ... aaaand another stomach-turning mood swing successfully navigated. See you at rehearsal.

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