Saturday, August 22, 2015

How I Spent My Summer (2015)

Actor-Teachers (2014-15)
Today we will be celebrating the close of summer in our neighborhood by attending the annual block party. The date is generally the penultimate Saturday before school begins. So many other districts have started already, it feels like ours are the only children without classes to attend.

The other day one of the kids said they were pretty much exhausted with traveling. The girl and her mother have traveled more than the boy and I, and all of them together more than me. The wife took them to Ottawa for the first weekend of the Women’s World Cup and of course there was Girl Camp.

Cleveland Shakespeare Festival
The unofficial start of summer for me is always the end of the school year party for the actor-teachers. This year we tried something different, eschewing the traditional potluck at either mine or Lisa’s house, and instead having a bowling party.

At that time, we had already begun rehearsals for the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival production of The Life of Timon of Athens. Now, I was pretty confident we would create an entertaining show, but I was surprised at how successful the company was in taking this rather odd and somewhat bitter text and creating a lively, funny and actually kind of touching story.

Camp Theater Improv Club
Recently I wrote a piece about improvisation which detailed my happiness with the work we created at Great Lakes Theater’s Camp Theater! The high emotions left me feeling very positive about the summer and what lay ahead.

Finding the right balance of time on and time off for the children has been a continual challenge, especially now that they (as we) can easily pick up a device and zone out for hours on end. The girl attended camps in music and soccer, while the boy concentrated on his efforts as part of his baseball league.

TCG National Conference Weekend
The Theatre Communications Group national conference was held in Cleveland this June, and I was happy to play my part as an ambassador for GLT, hosting a dinner at Sokolowski’s and then taking some new friends for an impromptu walking tour of my old theatrical stomping grounds in Tremont.

By the middle of June I began training for the Twin Cities Marathon (in October) and you can just read all about that here. We closed out the month taking what has become a much beloved annual trip to Topsail Beach in North Carolina.

Indepedence 5K (Topsail Beach)
Boy Camp continued, which included not only bowling and theater but also an extended bike/run and even his playing drums for a School of Rock performance at the Cain Park Art Festival.

We all saw the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival production of Merchant of Venice. We all saw American Idiot at Beck Center together. And then it was time to take the second part of our summer vacation … which is normally a road trip to Maine, though this year we started by heading through Canada instead of upstate New York.

One night in Niagara Falls and then onto Montreal. We spent three nights and two days in a funky part of town in an even funkier apartment. For my forty-seventh birth we attended a daytime house party on an island and then an outdoor performance of Twelfth Night.

Repercussion Theatre (Montréal)
Maine is to me eternal, though every year I wonder if it will be the last … for me, not for Maine. Maine will remain. The children have grown older, and while they have always been content with staying in the cove, near the water, fishing, catching crabs off the dock, their worldview has expanded so that we were able to take a touristy visit for window shopping and movies. Our interests meld.

Now we are in a kind of holding pattern, or I am, anyway. As I said, waiting for school. Waiting for friends. In the boy’s case he’s waiting to shake a terrible cold he developed several days ago. Last days of summer and you’re too weak to go out, that sucks big time.

My son and my father. (Flood's Cove)
But I have not been moved to review the events of summer before on this blog, not like this. Why? I am always moved by nostalgia, much to my own regret (there’s a snake that eats its own tail) but life has moved with such speed these years, I much naturally rather to look forward.

However, these days have been particularly hard on me, and it has been exceeding hard to focus. Some stems from within, but also from without, with some hard knocks striking at me from strange and surprising directions.

Perhaps I needed to give myself a brief reminder of how successfully things can go and how important it is not to forget that.

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