Category Archives: theater

Wrapping up “You Can’t Take It With You”

It was so much fun and a great group.  I wish we had another weekend.  We got a lot of compliments from people; I know they nicely told me that I was always in character, made Penny very real, different than me, and someone they watched through the whole show.

Here’s a shot of the set; they did a fantastic job with it.  We joked that we wanted to live there.

Me as Penny Sycamore at my writing corner plus skull holding candy. Seagull over my shoulder belonged to my Nana and then my mom. The books were mostly ours, ranging from Disney to Theater to Star Trek to Buck Rogers, and included Curly’s biography, Williamsburg photos, Wicked the musical, and more.

I looked a bit like my mom and my Nana with those glasses, hair, and dress.

As you already know, I had a certain co-star:

Meeps ready and Im on my way to join him for the curtain opening.

Meep's ready and I'm on my way to join him for the curtain opening.

He lived with us so Cathi didn’t have to drive back and forth the theater each night.  I was worried at first that he wasn’t  happy with us:

Let’s zoom in on that:

But he actually had a good time, especially considering he had never been away from his mom before.  (He looks just like his mom, Tatiyanna.)  And he loved being at the theater, making friends with everyone, especially Brian.  Meep so totally trusted Brian — and Brian could get him to be very mellow — that Meep would calmly sit in his hand:

Yorick! I knew him, Horatio!

Yorick! I knew him, Horatio!

John did a great job as Paul Sycamore and people told me how glad they were to see him in a role that was more than comedy.  He had to play a man questioning his life as father and husband, and dealing with possibly losing his youngest daughter. Both women did a great job as our daughters, with Nikki and John working well in the emotional scenes:

Two other people in our cast: Frank and Maria.  Maria came in late and made such a great character out of Rheba that she and Frank stole a lot of scenes.  I loved watching them together:

Sorry these show pictures are from the same angle; it was all I could get.

Here’s Glenn, as our son-in-law Ed, and Tom playing the lead detective.  It was Tom’s first show and he grow a lot in the role; I hope he had fun so he does more plays.  ANd I wish I got a picture of Glenn and Roseanne who were so much fun, on stage and backstage, as Ed and Essie:

Here’s Joe who played Grandpa.  It’s the largest role he did and he did wonderful!

And it was a good and fun challenge to play father and daughter together; we had to work on how we would show that in small gestures and the way we talked to each other.

Here we’re just goofing around backstage on the first night we had costume and makeup.

I originally was going to gray my hair or wear a gray wig, but we decided it would make me look too much like Joe’s contemporary with his aged makeup.

But the wig didn’t go to waste:

Wigs! They make great blankets too!

Wigs! They make great blankets too!

It was a tough week; rehearsal every night and then shows all weekend.  We got tired….

but got energized with the good audiences!

Too soon, it was over and we had one last laugh together at the cast party:

Joe, John, Glenn, and Joe

Joe, John, Glenn, and Joe

Thanks, everyone, for a good experience.  It will be one of the highlights in my memory.


Headed for the show!

Headed for the show!, originally uploaded by eblackwell.

The consummate professional, Meep is calm, ready, and looking forward to another performance.

John , unfortunately, is catching cold. He’s going to rest a bit before coming over.

I am Waiting for Guffman!

I’ve talked about being in a community theater play.  The other night, my friend Suzanne, our director, told us that a friend of hers, a professional actor and playwright in New York,  is coming to see our show.  He’s currently writing a show that he’s done readings for producers etc. as he tightens it up; soon, he’ll be casting it.  I immediately joked, “Hey, that means we’re waiting for Guffman!”

If you don’t get the reference,  Waiting for Guffman is one of Christopher Guest’s comedy movies filmed as a fake documentary; it spoofs community theater:

From imdb: An aspiring director and the marginally-talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance.

So the joke is that they’re already bad but think they’re great and can actually go to Broadway.  Guffman is the name of the Broadway director who is coming to see their show.  If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s worth watching, even if you aren’t in community theater.

(Little note: the movie has some cursing, so don’t watch it with your kids and then be upset that I didn’t warn you. 😉  )

Anyway, so here we are, our little show in South Jersey, and we (might) have a professional from Broadway coming to see us.

Now! Let’s start off with me saying: I am very well aware that we are amateurs, doing the best we can, taking that seriously,  since people are going to spend money to see us.  But we are not a professional New York (or any other city) show.

Even so, I’m excited that this guy might see us.  That is, I’m excited if he happens to say I did some good things. 😀   I know some people don’t care or are even put off by that kind of thing.  In fact, when someone mentions someone coming to review their shows, they don’t want it because “who are they to judge what I do?”.    But I do like feedback, including –constructive– (that’s the keyword!) criticism.  Last night, for example, I asked John about how I was doing and he gave me suggestions on how to improve.  Plus, if someone in the audience or someone I know comes up, pointing out things that they enjoyed, it makes me feel good that I did a good job.  I think this guy understands he’s not going to see professionals and will gauge the show by the amateur standard.  If he thinks I did a good job and maybe has tips on what I can do better (as an amateur), I’d love to hear it.

Plus, he’s a playwright!  I’ve written shows, so I’d love to hear what it’s like on the professional side.

Having said that, if he does come to see the show, I hope I don’t know until it’s all over, because otherwise, I’ll be nervous knowing he’s out there! 

And if he does come and hates my performance, then I hope he’ll remember this very sage advice:

I am SCREWED for rehearsal tonight!

We’re supposed to be off-book.   I had the best intentions about doing nothing but learning my lines for the past two  nights.  Then this happened and that happened and here I am!  4 hours until rehearsal and I only know half of Act I and a few pages of Act II.

Time to panic!


…my friend Suzanne, who is the director, might be reading this…

Who’s ready for rehearsal! Me! That’s who!

Look, just look at how ready I am! Everything is rosy!   I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready! 

If it looks like I don’t know my lines, it’s the other person’s fault.  I’m not looking to be petty, and I’m not naming names , but you know how it is: someone else messes up their lines and YOU’RE the one who looks like you screwed up.

Yeah, that’s the ticket!

As for me:

“Oh, Alice!  Please don’t leave the family!”

Thank you!  Thank you! You’re too kind, really!

Rehearsals for You Can’t Take It With You:

I thought I’d show you a couple of pictures I took at rehearsal last night.

What!” you say.  “Who wants to see that?  I came here because I thought you’d talk about interesting like that Vick post or updates on the big sites–”

But remember, I just got a new camera phone, so I’ve gone back to taking photos of everything!  It’s like when I show you 209 photos of my dogs   or looking at 147 photos of a baby smiling the exact same way and then you find out the kid had gas.  This is better though because there’s only 2 pics…  and I think everyone is gas free.

John at rehearsal Here’s John!  I caught him right before he gave me that hand gesture that says how much he loves me.  He does that a lot in photos.  In case you missed it a couple of posts ago, it looks like this: 

We’re playing a husband and wife in this show: Paul and Penny Sycamore.   It’s such a joy to work with us in a show, as our friend Suzanne, who’s directing,  could tell you.  Last night, for example, I crossed the stage to stand near John during a scene.  The  WHISPERED conversation went something like this:

Me:  Suzanne wants me to come to you at some point in this scene.  I think this will part is good because it refers to the big discussion we (our characters) had a minute ago.

John: I’m supposed to interact with Alice soon.

Me:  Okay.

John: So go back over there until Suzanne tells you to come over here.

Me: She did tell me to come over here!

John: Oh… you said you picked this spot to cross over.

Me: I said she told me to find a spot! Stop directing me!

John: I am not directing!

Suzanne stopped the scene at this point, laughing, and told the 2 actors doing their scene that she had to stop because “I have an insurrection going on over here.”   I thought we had been quiet.  Maybe I shouldn’t have hit John with my script; that might have kept our “discussion” under the radar.

Moments before "the discussion".  Notice how THRILLED the audience is! ...snore...

Moments before "the discussion". Notice how we're THRILLING the audience! ...snore...

Next question: when you think flaky playwright, who do you think of?

Right again, me!

I’ve been bumped up to the part of Penny in the play You Can’t Take It With You. I mentioned this show a couple of posts ago; John and I are in it with the 2nd and Vine Street Players at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton, NJ.   Now that I’m playing Penny, it’s only the second time we’ve played a couple in all the years we’ve done shows together.

The woman playing my daughter is the same age as me!  Snicker, talk about starting young.  If this was a sci-fi production, she’d be my clone. 😉

I’ll miss playing drunk though!  But I’m still looking forward to a fun time!

When you think drunk actress, whose name pops into your head?

That’s right, mine!

I just got the part of Gay Wellington in the play You Can’t Take It With You. It’s with the 2nd and Vine Street Players at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton, NJ. My character is described as:

An actress who Mrs. Sycamore (one of the leads) meets on a bus and invites home to read one of her plays. She is an alcoholic and gets very drunk and passes out shortly after arriving at the Sycamore’s home.

Playing drunk is always fun!  If you mess up your lines or trip over your own feet, people think it’s part of the character.