Thursday, February 28, 2013


Zipped around a bit.  Drove to Manahawkin, first to Kohl's, then Target, then Wal-Mart looking for--get this--shoe laces.  When I was tying my Keds the other day, the lace snapped off in my hand.  Well, wouldn't you know, I couldn't find the right length, 40 inches, anywhere.  I had some already and put them in, but they're 45 inches and I'm afraid will trip me up.  Must keep looking; in the meantime, I'm wearing other sneakers.
Got olive oil and lettuce, as well as a few other items.  Stopped at Stafford Library, as I knew Aline was working (volunteering; her paid job doesn't start until Monday).  However, she was on the computer and needed another hour, so I said goodbye. 
Home, I cut up a large number of onions, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic for stir-fry.  Think I'll cook all, have some tonight, then freeze the rest. 
Got an invitation to Domino's from Frank and Barbara for next Friday.  Accepted, of course, but I'll have to find out if Julie S. is going to auditions for Our Town this weekend, and which day.  We had discussed going together, but it may not be yet, as OT isn't scheduled until September.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Enjoyable Day

Just hung up from a Skype call from the Tokyo Twosome, which included a discussion of apricots, very big in Japan, it seems.
Had an enjoyable day yesterday.  Picked Aline up and we met Betty at Italian Gourmet at noon.  After a good lunch and talk, we parted, then A. and I went to Bam!, about the only book store left in the area.  I bought books as Easter gifts for all six kids, and we both enjoyed browsing the shelves. 
Stopped at the cemetery on the way home, then at the Little Egg library.  I returned The Patriarch, an excellent bio of Joseph P. Kennedy, and renewed The Cigarette Century.  Aline, who volunteers at the Stafford branch, has  landed a paying, part-time job there and I'm happy for her.
Went from there to the dry cleaners, where I left the black "mourning" dress I wore in the play, then to Acme, where I returned the apron I had borrowed from the meat department.
Said goodbye to Aline and got home about 5:00.  Got a call telling me our long-time, long-ago neighbor in Ewing, Stan Friedman, had died.  He was a good and decent man and is yet another of a long line of friends and neighbors I've lost.  So sorry.   

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recovery Day

Reading over my post of yesterday, I've decided it's silly, mean, and counter-productive to list the negatives of Arsenic.  I'll just do it on a Word document so I can be more aware if there's a next time.
Recovering from a performance is always both a letdown and a relief and yesterday was no exception.  I got a lot of the costumes sorted and put them in the guest room until I decide how--or if--to wash them.  Some have to be dry-cleaned and I'll take them today.
Walked with Susan and went to exercise.  There, I was congratulated by a number of neighbors who went to the play.  Barb H. asked if I wanted to go to the annual spaghetti dinner the Redmen (don't ask) and their Pocahontas pals throw to finance July 4 fireworks.  Naturally, I accepted.
Betty called to tell me again how much she and her friends liked the play.  Got a call from Lucille S., telling me the same from her and Nick.  I learned that a number of other Sunrise Bayers went, probably more than had attended any other play of mine.
After breakfast, I lay down on the couch and slept until 1:00 pm!  Must have been tired.  Spent much of the rest of the day washing, putting things back in order.  I was surprised and pleased to get a package from Amazon--the gift of a coffee bean grinder from my darling nephew, Dave, and his Polly. 
Walked three doors down to the H.'s and, with Susan and Walter, Leslie and Dennis, and Frank and Barbara, we went to the dinner.  Foam plates, plastic tableware, and paper tablecloths, but the food wasn't bad and the company was better.  Home by 7:00, I called Jeanne S, who just had a hip replaced, to see if she's going to audition for Our Town, coming up in September by Our Gang Players.  She might and I'll get in touch with Julie S., too, who wants to audition.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Well, it's over.  Yesterday's performance was good--I didn't write "very good," or "wonderfully good," or "so good that Broadway agents were clamoring to sign us," but it was better--I think--than the other two.  Anyway, it's moot now.
Betty and five of her friends were there in the front row center, in fact, and I enjoyed talking to them after.  Leslie and Dennis came, and so did--surprisingly--the L.'s, as well as several other Sunrise Bayers.  Les sent me a congratulatory e-mail.
After the hugs and kisses and congrats, we struck the set and were asked to take our costumes home to wash and press.  I had contributed a lot of props, including wine glasses, cloth napkins, and pictures.  Along with other personal items and the clothes, it took four trips to the car to get it all in and it's pretty much filled with stuff. 
Said goodbye to the rest of the cast and the crew.  I hope to get to perform with some of them again, but several live up in Monmouth County, farther than I want to go for a play.
Am I glad I did it?  Yes.  Did I enjoy it as much as I have other productions?  No.
For my own information--if not edification--I'll enumerate some of the reasons for that negative.  They range from very minor to huge problems and include things that just couldn't have been helped to maddeningly-easy- to-remedy-but-never-were problems.  I'll do that in a separate post, as it's mostly just an aid for my memory, in case I can use the info in the future.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Good Show

Last night's performance went rather well.  Of course, there were some dreadful and infuriating errors and omissions (if somebody else did them) and minor, inconsequential little blips (if I did them) but overall, it was pretty good.  We didn't "mix" until after the show, I'm happy to note, and when we did, I got some wonderful compliments and congratulations.
Now if this third day was just the start of a long run, we could actually relax and hone our presentations, but it's the last performance.  I'm not as sorry about that as I normally would be, what with all the production problems, but I'm still a bit regretful. 
Anyhoo--David, Polly, and I got up about 7:30. Polly Skyped their son and daughter-in-law, Geoff and Bongsu, on her iPad.  G. and B. live in Jakarta--he's in the foreign service, as his Dad now is--and we all had a nice chat.
After, I was able to put together a salad, cut up fruit, pan-fry sausage and ham, and lay everything out as a buffet while we talked.
The further company, Betty and two couples, one contributing a quiche and Italian bread, the other gluten-free cookies, got here by 11:30, and we sat down to a nice, leisurely brunch. Dave and Polly left a few hours later--they had a commitment in D.C. that night--then I got ready and took off for Surflight, fearfully early, as usual.
Didn't get home until after 11:00 or to bed until after midnight.  Oh, well, that was the last night for awhile I'll be out and up so late; I'll slowly get back to normal over the next few days.     

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Opening Night

Last night was--well, what can I say?  We left out lots of ddialogue here and there and some of the minor players still had problems with their lines.  I thought it was a fiasco, but the important thing was that the audience loved it.  They didn't notice the missed cues and skipped dialogues and that's all that counts.
Nephew Dave and his Polly were there, in addition to Aline, Marilyn and Jay P., Bea and Pat A., and other neighbors and friends.  We did indeed, as was planned, circulate during intermission, which I thought and still think, was a huge mistake. It breaks the illusion we try to portray on stage and is exhausting for performers, most already wrung out.  Also, after all the hype about wine being served then, it wasn't.  Presumably, last-minute sensibility to possible insurance problems prevailed, but the omission raises an interesting question:  We promised wine and charged an extra five bucks a pop for admission because of it ($15 on Friday, as opposed to $10 for the other two performances), yet we didn't provide it, so shouldn't we refund the five bucks?
There were some infuriating oversights and careless mistakes, including the fact that my mic didn't work during the first act.  Worst of all--I was so pissed!~-in the last, pivotal scene, when I get the carafe of poisoned "wine" from the sideboard, I found it was empty.  I had to fake pouring the lethal glass for "Mr. Witherspoon," and he had to do the same with an empty glass.  Amateur night at Surflight.    
There were plenty of bright spots, though.  The audience seemed well engaged and laughed at all the right places.  No scenery fell down and nobody literally broke a leg.  Eric Mc D., who played the villain, Jonathan and is a marvelous actor, came in our dressing room and presented Chris and me with bouquets of fresh flowers.  Now that's a class act.
It's fun to have Dave and Polly here.  We sat up talking--and drinking wine--until 1 am and had a ball.  Right now, they're talking to, and seeing their son and daughter-in-law, who live in Jakarta, on Polly's iPad.  The others will be here for brunch at 11:00, so I'd better get busy cutting fruit and otherwise preparing.
Tonight, our second performance of three and I hope the wrinkles are ironed out.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dress Rehearsal

In his autobiography, Act One, Moss Harts refutes the fondly held idea idea among show biz folk that a problematic dress rehearsal indicates a terrific opening night.
It doesn't.
In my estimation--and in anybody else'es other than a deaf, dumb, and blind manic depressive--last night was an unmitigated disaster.  There were some bright spots, but here's a few of the snafus that characterized the evening:
  One of the major character's over-the-top, not just ham, but ham and eggs, carpet-chewing over-acting;
  Two--yes, two--wine glasses snapping off at the stem, splashing wine and scattering glass over a table top;
   The amnesia that afflicted several members of the cast so they forgot lines and moves, which led to
   The leaving out of whole speeches and bits.
   The guy playing not one, but two of the minor, but integral parts, who didn't know his lines or moves and will have to have a script put on the table in front of him, the mark of the gross amateur;
    And so on.
Of course, Chris and I had to change into several layers of black, heavy "mourning" attire in the faintly blue-lighted, platform area at the top of the stairs.  We then had to go up and take those things off and put on new costumes, all during the show.
Oh, by the way, we were fitted for microphones, which necessitated wearing a cumbersome pack under our clothes, tied on and with a wire taped on to our necks.  Why in the world we couldn't have wore these at least a few days earlier, even if they weren't yet operational, so we could used to them, I can't understand.  Anyway, last night was the first time either of us had ever used them and they were a real pain in the rear.  Just for openers, they restrict our neck and head movements to an extent.  Whether that was because they weren't fitted properly or what, I can't say.  Of course, we have to be very careful not to dislodge them, during the two difficult costume we have, just one more problem in a laundry list of them.
Discouraged?  Darn right and I can't wait until this train wreck is over.
By the way, I spent most of the earlier part of the day cleaning and changing linens in preparation for my guests tonight and company on Saturday.  Today, I guess I'll make as much of brunch as I can, complete some tidying up, and just hope I can get through opening night.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Tad Better

Things are looking up--more or less.  Rather than try to negotiate the backstage "chairs," Chris and I decided we'd just have to change costumes on the tiny platform.  We managed to do it--barely--and that'll just have to be it.
Aside from accidentally leaving out several pages of action in the second act--lah, de, dah--rehearsal went reasonably well.  If only we had another week to perfect it, it would be great.  (Anybody who has ever been on stage knows this is an absolutely universal statement toward the end of EVERY  production.  It's just the panic spectre manifesting itself.)
Took time out to go to Produce Junction and Canal's in Atlantic County and got stuff for my company.  Guess I'll clean today, wash the bathroom rugs, and otherwise prepare.  Better fit in script time, too, as I had to call "line" a few times last night. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rehearsal, Of Course

Rehearsal last night was again frightful.  Lots of missed lines, skipped entrances, and other snafus.  I managed to get down, then up, the "stairs" backstage, but just barely and I wasn't in costume.  That's very significant because, of course, I'll be wearing long skirts and a cumbersome, many-layered mourning outfit.  Home again after ten and I slept until 7:30. 
In addition to theatrical stuff, I have to prepare for my Friday overnight guests and brunch for seven on Saturday.  Think I'll run over to B.J.'s today and get supplies.  When I'll have tine to clean and change sheets is anybody's guess.
First dress rehearsal tonight--which always brings up hitherto unseen problems--but at least the sun is out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rehearsal And A Problem

I arrived at Surflight early because I had a carful of things to bring.  Rehearsal was called for 6:00, but I got there about 4:00.  Stacey was already there; it seems she was hired to clean.  I was pleased to see Casey B., who is the ticket taker.  I showed her some of the pictures and other props I had brought at her request and she selected two oval, framed needlepoints, a photo of my grandmother at the 1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia, and twenty cloth napkins.
After that, I took my tape recorder and tried to block out some of my moves onstage.  Wore my first-act costume, with which I'm wearing low boots.  They look good, but unfortunately, after several hours, hurt my feet.  The others drifted in slowly and finally, about 7:30, rehearsal started.
Again, it was a shambles.  My "sister" became agitated and started to  hypervenilate and wipe her foreheard--rather theatrically--with her hand.  However, she settled down and did all right later.
Neil is still referring to his script--good grief, he should have been off-book last week--and the four "policemen" and other minor players were pretty bad.  Guess I should be feeling desparate by this time, but I'm not.  This is the first time we even rehearsed act 3 on-stage and it's entirely different from simply reading and memorizing a script.  I think it's a wake-up call to be ready.
However, there's a major problem and it's this: "Abby" and I have to exit upstairs to what's supposed to be the second floor.  It really ends in a small platform, six feet high.  In order to get down from there, you have to fit in a very narrow space, then negotiate three foot-high "steps," that are really boxes bolted down in some way.  If I had the regal height of my friend, Pat R., I might be fine with that, but I'm 5'3" and am scared to death I'll break a bone in trying to get down and even up.
Why not just stay on the platform?  Because we have to change to mourning clothes that include several (in my case, four) layers of heavy, black material, then change back again to another costume, different from the ones we wore going up.  I don't see how it's possible for both of us to be there and do that in the space of a rather small closet.  Oh, yes, it's also dark, lit only by a "blue light," which makes it hard to see anything smaller than a purse, say.   It seems to me we have to be able to get to the dressing room backstage, so have to be able to get down from the platform.  Talked to Bruce, who's doing some of the set (he also has two small parts as Dr. Harper and Mr. Gibbs), and he promised to try to remedy the problem.  If he can't, I'm just at a loss.    

Monday, February 18, 2013

Play Again

Things are looking up.  Rehearsal yesterday went well, although we did only the first two (of three) acts. 
A major problem developed, though, in that the set includes stairs (with landing) that I go up and down several times.  Of course, it's supposed to lead to the second story of the house, but ends on a small platform.  At one point, Abby and I come down dressed in mourning clothes, and this is in the middle of the play. To get down from that area backstage and reach the dressing room necessitates a very high step rigged for the play in a very narrow space.  We more or less decided I'd have to dress on the platform, but the outfit is extremely complicated, with six pieces that have to be put on, zipped, tied, and arranged.  I can't possibly do all that myself, so Lindsay, the wardrobe person, has to be up there to help me.  There's barely enough room for one, let alone two, so--aagh!
Other than that, it was good.  Now I have to be very, very sure not to get complacent, a real danger when a rehearsal finally comes together. In a weird way, you could equate it with dieting:  "Wow, after all those months and all that depriving myself of goodies, I've finally reached my goal weight.  Now it's done and I can turn my attention to other things." 
A few months later, you look at your old tubby self in the mirror with dismay.  Wha' hoppened?! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Play And Family

Again spent virtually all day on the play.  I did go to the thrift store in town to see if I could pick up a skirt that isn't sure to trip me up and an larger apron.  Bought a skirt--not sure if it's in keeping with the era, but I had called the costume mistress, Lindsay (who's director Lou's daughter) and didn't hear back from her.  Other than that, read and memorized, memorized and read...
Son Mike and family just visited his first cousin, once removed, Craig Wilker, on the other side of London from them.  This is how it goes in big families: Mike's actual first cousin is Craig's father, Dennis, now in his sixties; Craig looks to about 35, so is closer in age to Mike. 
Anyway, Craig and his wife, Nuala, who was born in Ireland (and her last name is "Byrne," my maiden name) have four children, two biological, a boy and a girl.  Unfortunately, the girl, who's two, is handicapped with both physical and mental problems (I want to avoid the word "issues," one of the many idiotic present-day debasements of the language, it seems to me).  The two adopted children, a two-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy, are both from Ethiopia.
Anyway, Mike sent some wonderful pictures of their day and their excursion with their cousins.  Also, Stacey S., who plays the love interest in Arsenic, posted some pictures on Facebook taken during some of my scenes.  I hate seeing myself in pictures, but these aren't bad.  Think I'll repost.
Rehearsal at noon today.   

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hair And Play

Went to a new place in Manahawkin--"Scissor Sisters"--and had my hair colored and cut.  Looks very good and I think I'll switch there.  Chatting with my stylist, Kyle, I found she comes from Mansfield, just a few miles from where my grandson lives.  Small world.
Got black panty hose for the play at Kohl's, but otherwise, just concentrated on the damn play.  I even viewed the DVD of a play production that Eric ("Jonathan") had given me, which I find helpful.
I'm still pretty pessimistic about this production, though.  I wish it were over.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Play Problems

Aline and I went to ScoJo's for lunch, which was the only relaxing thing about yesterday. 
Rehearsal last night was a shambles. I'm getting more and more nervous abut this project, which opens a week from yesterday--aagh!  We have yet to run through the whole thing, I'm having difficulty remembering my lines, (and so are others), the theatre was devastated by Sandy, the set is barely started, and the whole thing is so disorganized, it's horrible.  Director Lou doesn't seem to have a clue about continuity, and we have no real stage manager, no "line" person, and few others working backstage.  I have a hair appointment today, but aside from that, I'm going to be doing nothing but script-learning all week.
I brought one of my costumes last night, as we were having pictures taken.  I rehearsed in a skirt and top and found the skirt is much too long and  actually trips me when I go up stairs and so on.
Can anything else go wrong?  The trouble is, it probably can.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Play And Spaghetti Sauce

Again, I did little but study my part yesterday.  Over and over, I listened to the tape and repeated the words in answer to the recorded cues.
Did take out time to make spaghetti sauce for the first time in my life.  Yes, and--ta dah!--I actually used fresh tomatoes.  As my friend, Leslie, had assured me, it wasn't difficult.  I chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic,and seasonings, then simmered it for about an hour and a half.  Added some sausage I had in the freezer, and had a bowlful (without pasta--I didn't want to take the trouble to cook it) and, if I say it myself, it's  terrific.  I have plenty left, so will just eat that until it's gone.
Annoyingly, it started to rain the minute I pulled out of the garage, but I got to Surflight with no problem.  Even more annoyingly, we were again short several of the cast, and didn't start until about 7:00, although rehearsals are called for 6.
Well, it's shaping up, but barely.  My "sister," Chris, was so stressed, she had an emotional breakdown, but we all rallied around and assured her she'd be fine in the role.  Did the first part of act one, tonight we'll do the other, and boy, I still have to keep my nose to the you-know-what. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All Play

It was practically all play, all day--not fun and games, of course, but Arsenic.  I took time out at 11:30 to attend a R.H. meeting and we discussed upcoming activities for the rest of the year.
Other than that, I just went over and over my lines with the help of my tape recorder.  Act three had been scheduled and I naturally hadn't paid a lot of attention to it earlier. 
I really dislike this piecemeal, "pages 34 to 65" kind of rehearsing.  It's difficult to grasp the full story-line and it doesn't lend itself to smooth memorizing, either. I'm anxiously awaiting a straight, full run-through and hope it comes soon.
Loaded the car with my costumes, as we had been told we'd have pictures taken last night.  Took off about 5:00 and stopped on the way at Acme, but was still early.
Got to Surflight to be told picture-taking was postponed until Thursday, as Scott, the photog, was sick.  So was Neil, one of the principals and several others had class, or were keeping another important commitment, or had been kidnapped and spirited off to Ethiopia, for all I know.  (I can hardly believe they can be so unserious about this project.) 
Director Lou said he'd take all the other parts necessary, but first, my "sister," Chris, he, and I would go over third act blocking.  We sat down and went over our moves for 45 minutes or so, while a number of people were working on the set.  We then hung around until 8, when Lou said we might as well go home.
So we never rehearsed at all last night and Lou has assigned the first part of act one for tonight. Yoicks!  This casual direction, along with the set problems and general messiness of the theatre is making me crazy.
One bright spot was getting to know a little better my opposite number, Chris R., in the long stretches of time in which we weren't doing anything.  We shared family lore and had some good talk.
When Lou said we could go, I dropped my tape recorder and--damn!--it doesn't seem to work now.  I'll try it plugged in instead of with batteries and hope it's all right. 
Okay, tonight I'll be well prepared for the first act. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Another full one.  Picked Leslie up at 11:00 in a driving rain and we went to the cemetery.  Betty met us there and we talked about Pat, sometimes laughing, sometimes not. Stopped at Jay's grave, too, of course, then left to go back to the land of the living.
We had a good lunch at Italian Gourmet, then parted to go home, still through rain.  I spent most of the rest of the afternoon studying my lines, until my dinner guest came.  We ate, said goodbye, I dressed, then left for rehearsal.
I had known that the theatre, Surflight, had been hit hard by the hurricane, but had understood it was thoroughly restored.  When I walked in, though, I was stunned to see how far from the truth that was.  Geez, it looks horrible.  It had been carpeted, but of course, that was saturated by water when the storm hit, so carpet had been torn up and the bare concrete floor is what now shows. In addition, there were all kind of other problems. Even some of the seats need to be re-bolted to the floor--there are downright hazards all over the place.
Rehearsal was a shambles, too.  Of course, at this stage, they usually are.  I was annoyed with myself for not knowing a lot of my lines, but at least others weren't completely off-book, either.
Anyway, we went through a portion of act two and finished at 9:00.  Driving home down half the length of Long Beach Island was an eerie, not to say frightening, experience.  It's a summer community, so is always sparsely populated in the winter, but now, it's essentially deserted.  Almost no businesses are open and hardly a house in a hundred was lighting.  In addition, a heavy fog hung over the island and I expected a Stephen King spectre to come looming out of the mist.
However, I made it home okay.  I have a R.H. meeting and luncheon scheduled today, but I've decided to jettison the lunch.  It's on LBI itself and I'm just not willing to go that far twice in a day.  Besides, I want to devote myself to studying my lines--we do act three tonight.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rehearsal, Ham, And A Martini

Shortly after our walk, I was pleased to get a call from Susan, who asked if I had dinner plans.  Nope.  Would I like to come over about 5:30 for a ham dinner, preceded by a martini?  You bet!
The rest of the day was all Arsenic. This is about the time when you begin to wonder why in the hell you ever thought it was a good idea to take to the stage. I went over and over my lines, with the tape recorder and otherwise.  We're doing pages 34 to 65 tonight and to me, the cues and blocking in those pages seem particularly difficult to follow. Oh, well, I know I'll get it in time not to disgrace myself.
Interspersed studying lines to wash and iron some of my costume components.  We have to take them tonight for pictures.  Decided against taking the mourning clothes in which I appear in the second act; too cumbersome, so I'll take the long green skirt and white blouse.  Along with the apron I was alloted and some brooches I have, my costumes seem appropriate. 
Got a call from Lillian of R.H.'s to say we'll have a meeting on Tuesday, then lunch on the island.  Okay by me, as that'll be a good time to hand out blurbs on Arsenic to members of the group.
Went across the street to Susan's and Walter's at 5:30 to be treated to a superb martini--Sapphire gin infused--and a terrific ham dinner.  Had good talk, too, and I stayed until 8:00.
This is Pat's birthday; he would have been 82.  I'm taking my friend, Leslie to the cemetery and we'll meet sister Betty there.    

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Busy Day Again

Enjoyed an early Skype call from London and saw the adorable little girls.  I was happy to see they had gotten the little pillows I sent for Valentine's Day and am thrilled I'll see them in California in April. 
Was not so thrilled  with the snow outside, but it was cleared off pretty quickly and I had no real problem with it.
Got an e-mail from nephew Dave W., who's soon to leave for Rome with the Foreign Service.  He said he and Polly, who now live in Washington, D.C., would like to come to my play and stay over.  That will be fun and I'll invite Betty, Joan and Jim, and another couple for brunch the next day.
Thought I'd spend the day studying lines, but about 11:00, I just decided to can it and go into Atlantic County.  Stopped for gas, called Betty to see if she could meet for lunch, and found Mary H. was there, too.  Said I'd join them and Betty made me a nice chicken sandwich.
Said goodbye and drove off, then impulsively decided to see if Dee G., who owns our old house on Rosborough Avenue, was in.  She was, greeted me with delighted cries (really), and I stayed twenty minutes or so with her.  She again has the house up for sale, but it's anybody's guess if it'll sell.
Home about 4:00 and checked the Arsenic Facebook page to see a post from wardrobe mistress Nicole to the effect that she was at the costume depository at that moment trying to select clothing for the cast.  She had left a number, I called, and said I'd be right there.  I went and joined her, my "sister," Chris, and love interest, Stacey.
I was amazed at the huge amount of costumes, furniture, and props in the very large, warehouse-like space; geez, LETCO never had anything like this.  Chris and I each wear three costumes in the play and we tried on the components of each, which Nicole had selected.  They include mourning outfits, with hats and gloves; we'll supply our own shoes.
After two hours there, my costumes were assembled and I piled them all in the car.  We're expected to wash, iron, and generally make presentable our own costumes, which is reasonable--after all, this isn't Broadway.  The only thing I lack now is a wig, if I decide to use one.  Otherwise, I'll spray my hair grey.
Oh, there's one other thing I need: to know my lines!  Today, I'm going to do nothing but memorize my part.

Saturday, February 09, 2013


Just got up to see a winter wonderland outside.  A few inches, I guess, not too bad.  I tested it and it seems dry, so we can still take our walk.  Already have my new Totes boots on and they seem fine.
Yesterday, it was all rain, all day. Fine by me, as after our walk, exercise, and a trip to the bank, I stayed in to study my lines.  Talked to Betty twice.  She was a bit worried at possible flooding, but it seems not to have materialized.
At exercise, I chatted with the daughter (Diane) of a resident, (Eunice).  Found that Diane has a house in Ventnor, which is up for sale, but is staying with her mother temporarily.  Had a nice talk and I'm going to call them for a "Blowin'..." profile.
Well, I thought the age thing had missed me--ha!--but apparently not:  All day yesterday, I believed it was Saturday, but it weren't.
Other than the above, it was just a nose-to-the-(memorizing)-grindstone day.
Short Time Later Note:  Just got back from a truncated walk.  I didn't realize that either it's still snowing or the wind is whipping the snow around.  Anyway, it was very uncomfortable walking, the snow stinging my face and my glasses fogging, so I turned back after about a half mile.  Bitter-ender Susan went on.  One good thing: I'm pleased that I bought the new boots so recently.  After their baptism by--uh, the elements--they proved themselves to be a good purchase. 

Friday, February 08, 2013


I survived yesterday, but barely.  Picked up Aline at 8:45 and got to the Stafford Library just after it opened.  We went to the desk to check in and ask for a cart.  We were then approached by a tall elderly man who introduced himself as Eric England, the guy who had done the piece on my program for The Sandpaper and other local papers.  He said he couldn't stay for the program, but just wanted to meet me--very nice guy and I appreciate his articles.
As I customarily do, I had brought a fair number of Dionne artifacts in two big boxes and a small one, plus two large cloth bags.  Boy, those boxes are heavy and the meeting room is down a flight of stairs.  However, we made it and after covering two long tables with tablecloths, I set the stuff up.
I was surprised and gratified at the number of people who showed up;  Doreen, vice president of the club, counted 62.  She introduced me and I launched into the program.
It was so well-received and the audience so attentive, it was a pleasure to be there.  There were lots of questions at the end, including the standard "What got you interested in the Dionne Quintuplets?" Even after, as we were having coffee and cake, a number of attendees came up to me, many of them to tell me they were born in the same years, or a relative had seen the Quints, or whatever.
After packing everything up and loading the car (luckily, we were went a cart and used the elevator to get up to ground level), it was close to 1:00 before we left.  Dropped A. off and got home just in time to freshen up a bit before Leslie stopped for me and we walked to the Activities Meeting at the clubhouse.  Along the way, we met up with Roberta O., president of the Women's Club and gave her our checks for membership.
The activities meeting, at which upcoming events were discussed,  lasted about two hours, so I got home before 4:00.  Changed into something else, studied my lines, then took off for rehearsal.
It went well, but I'm far from off-book, and I'm going to devote the weekend to memorizing.  With my popcorn and wine, saw the rest of the Arsenic DVD Eric McD. had given me.  Very cute and I may incorporate a bit or two into my character, but generally speaking, I think I have it down pretty well.
Monday, we start rehearsing at Surflight--can't wait!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Rehearsal With Costuming

Spent most of the day typing up a portion of my Arsenic dialogue.  Having it on separate sheets is handier than the bound script we have and besides, it's an aid to memorizing.  Also viewed more of the DVD Eric had given me.  Went early to Manahawkin to run a few errands and was gratified to realize twilight is getting later and later. Hate driving in the dark; in fact, generally speaking, hate the dark.
Stopped at Kohl's to exchange the blouse I bought the other day--for a bigger size, I'm afraid--and at Staples for a desk calendar.  However, I got to rehearsal early, anyway.  Lou let me in and said John, who plays a policeman, was already there, so I went to the room while he waited for others.  (One of the annoying things about rehearsing here, aside from being in a "dance room" lined with mirrors, but with no chairs, is that the door locks automatically.)
Got acquainted with impossibly young John, who's in his first year at Ocean Community College--I peg him at 19--and we exchanged theatre stories.  Suddenly, the fire alarms in the hall started to flash and emit a siren loud enough to split your ear drums.  We went out there and found that the adjoining doors were closed--automatically, we found out later--and signs on them read "Do Not Open; Alarm Will Sound."  (It didn't occur to us to ignore this, as the alarm was already sounding.)
Well, the upshot was, other members of the cast didn't get in for another half-hour.  They had to wait in the cold at the locked entrance until a janitor came along.  Therefore, we started late and were delayed farther for a good reason: the two "wardrobe mistresses" were there.
Wowee, what a delightful contrast with LETCO!  When you perform with them, some unenthusiastic volunteer might make a stab at costuming, but for the most part, you do it yourself.  These girls (one is director Lou's daughter, Lindsay, a terrific singer herself, whom I saw in Beans, Biscotti, and Broadway a few weeks ago) called each of us over individually and recorded heights and phone numbers, then actually took a number of measurements. The other young woman, Noelle, had illustrations of appropriate costumes on her laptop to show and both asked for input from us.  I was blown away by their professionalism.
We didn't start rehearsing until almost seven, but so what, it was a good session.  Most of us are partially off-book, which is always more satisfying than holding a script.  We rehearsed until 9:00, so I was late getting home, but that was okay.
Busy day coming up today.  

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

More Lunch

Soon, soon, very soon, I'm going to have to start limiting lunch dates!  I'm getting fatter by the hour and also, am spending a barrel of dough on them.  But what's that lament by a sinner?  Something like "Make me godly, O Lord--but not just yet."  Yeah, I'll reform next week or so.
Picked Aline up at our usual 12:30 and she suggested Applebee's, a good choice, as I hadn't been there lately.  I can hardly believe it, considering I rarely eat mammal flesh at home, but I saw a "half sandwich of roast beef, bacon, and mushroom" and had to have it.  It came on rye soaked in, I guess, bacon fat, which sounds gross, but tasted divine.  I ate every scrap, along with a Caesar salad and a crisp Blue Moon. 
I had told Aline I had a number of stops to make after, and she was glad to accompany me.  We went to Kohl's where I finally found a pair of snow boots I liked and picked up a blouse, too.  Considering it's February, I assumed boots would be on sale, but they weren't; however, I got fifteen percent off.
Went to Shop-Rite for groceries, then B.J.'s for cottage cheese (I buy their three-pound tubs and got two of them).  Aline asked to be dropped off at the library, where we said goodbye after a pleasant, companionable day.  Got home after 4:00 and realized I hadn't sent the three packages I wrapped yesterday, so rushed back to the post office and got them off.
Started viewing the Arsenic video Eric McD. had given me.  It's the play, done in 1983, I think, and I'm glad to have it.  I won't slavishly follow my character's "tone," but might pick up some things I'd like to incorporate into my performance.
Today, I must prepare for a busy tomorrow: Dionne Quint program in the morning, for which I'm picking up Aline; activities meeting with Leslie in the afternoon; and rehearsal in the evening.  

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Not A Whole Lot

Nothing noteworthy went on yesterday.  I have three packages to send and I wrapped two of them.  I'm not sure if one will go; it consists of two bottles (plastic) of NyQuil a certain someone in London asked me to send,  I'm torn over whether to fib when they ask "anything liquid, fragile, or hazardous?" or not.  If I pretend it isn't liquid, I'm afraid they'll hear it sloshing--I did.  Then they'll put me in Levenworth and I'll never see sunlight again.
Another package is a baby gift for Carl and Diana L's new little girl.  Had to go out to buy a card, but it's now ready to go. Third package I still have to wrap are Valentine gifts for the little boys in Wellsboro.
Leslie sent me an e-mail inviting me to go with her to several meetings in our community.  I called her and we had a nice chat.  We also hashed over the Super Bowl party with satisfying agreement on who's a doll and who's a dud.  I'll go to two events with her, one a hike, which I'll be glad to get back to.
Aline called and we made a date to--guess what?  Correct on the first try--go to lunch today! 
Before rehearsal last night, I stopped at Kohl's and saw they have the snow boots I like.  Will try to get back there with Aline to try them on today.
Went to exercise in the morning and survived it.  Went to rehearsal and as ever, there was no place else I'd rather have been.       

Monday, February 04, 2013


While walking with Susan through the slush, I remarked that I wanted to get new snow boots.  The ones I had on were so old--about 20 years--they were starting to develop little cracks.  The words were hardly out of my mouth when I took a step and the sole partly separated from the uppers.  Geesh.
Luckily, we were at a point where we were able to get home quickly, and we did.
After breakfast, I drove to Boscov's, as they were having a boot and shoe sale.  I was disappointed they didn't have a style and size I wanted and will try Kohl's today. I did buy a "loop scarf" in a wonderfully soft faux-fur.  Will wear it for this morning's walk.
Home, I showered and dressed and went to the H.'s Super Bowl party.  The game itself was a bore--they all are for me--but the food was yummy and the company congenial.
Must practice my lines for rehearsal tonight.  

Sunday, February 03, 2013


After getting up so late, I stopped over at Susan's.  She was at Acme and I was about to leave when Walter and I got into a lively discussion, prompted by his remark about "the Chinese and Russians" hacking into "our" computers.  I took exception to that and we had a back-and-forth exchange, but it was cordial.  Our talk centered in a shadowy way on "words versus math and science," but ranged all over the map. 
Walter is a retired electrical engineer who now studies personality.  His interest is not the "he's shy because his mother was a strip tease artist" type.  It's all math and formulas and synapses and so on.  A few years ago, Walter wrote a book called The Psychology of Consciousness, which he gave me.  
Anyhoo, the rest of the day was fun.  I went shopping with a companion, then had dinner at her place.  Home by 7:00. 
Going to the Haggerstone's Super Bowl party tonight.  Don't even know who's playing and don't care, but I'll enjoy the social aspect.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Friends And Fun

Terrific, friends-and-fun-filled day!  I was dismayed to see the snow after our walk, but it accumulated only an inch or so and no prob.  Picked up Leslie, then Aline and we went to Dockside.  We all had sweet-and-sour chicken over rice, although their bean soup is fabulous.
We talked and talked, then talked some more and closed the place at 2:00.  They then went with me while I took a second dry run to find the H.'s house, way out on Nugentown Road.
Dropped Aline off, then Leslie.  They both emphasized how much they enjoyed our little excursion, which pleased me so much. I was quite sure they'd hit it off, and they did.  They're both gentle souls, Aline much more outgoing than Les, but in a modest, self-effacing way.   Anyway, it was great fun.
Did wash and puttered around, then showered and dressed for the Hedda Gabler production meeting.  For some reason, this had been called for the ungodly hour of 8:00, not our usual seven, let alone Our Gang's rehearsals at six. Picked up Aline and we got there with no problem.
We joined Jim and Mary, Desi, Kathy De V., Kevin B. (who murdered me in Night Must Fall, but hey, he's a good kid otherwise), and Ellen V.  Ellen, who's 78 years old, won't be able to see Arsenic, as she's leaving soon for an excursion to the Galapagos Islands.  Far from sitting on a veranda with a mimosa in one hand and a romance novel in the other, she'll hike and kayak during her "vacation" and, for all I know, follow her hobby of white-water rafting.
What a wonderful evening it was!  We sat at the bar in the H.'s beautiful big home and talked and talked and talked.  Topics ranged over Hedda--which we now found must be rescheduled for next February, a full year away-to opera, to Broadway, to Our Gang Players.  Jim and Mary had been very active in OGP years ago, Jim even on the board, but they seem to have had a falling-out.  We talked about experiences with other productions and the various--often hilarious--snafus that can happen on and off stage..
Anyway, it was a fabulous evening.  I stuck to beer, rather than wine--the H.'s stock very extensive booze offerings--and there were lots of nibbles, which took the place of dinner for me. 
Even more nourishing, though, was the talk and camaraderie.  Much as I like my neighbors here, it's so good to be with those outside this community.  Last night, I was entirely comfortable with people who share my love for the theatre and performing.  It was a rare and beautiful experience that pointed up the exquisite nature of the life of the mind.
I didn't get home until almost midnight. I had told Susan I'd probably skip our walk today and I did.  Slept until the ungodly hour of 8:16 and awoke relaxed, refreshed, and full of beans.  

Friday, February 01, 2013

Friends Again With Comcast

Took my coat back to Macy's and bought another.  Wouldn't you know, it  was almost fifty bucks more than the first, the price of which was hefty enough, even discounted.  Treated myself to lunch at the mall, just a small pasta salad, and looked in a few other stores, but--
How I hate, hate, hate the mall and malls in general.  They're cathedrals to mindless consumerism, of course, everybody knows that, but they also seem to encompass the very worst of modern day horrors.  The food court has been outfitted with at least five large televisions, high up on pillars.  It's impossible not to believe the sound system is designed to deafen patrons after it drives them mad.  Add to that the axillary noise, the hordes of frantic shoppers vying to throw their money away on items they don't need, the screaming children....  I was glad to get away with my sanity intact.
Went over to Babies 'R' Us and got a cute little set for Carl's and Diana's new arrival, then to B.J.'s for pumpernickel.
Stopped at the library on the way home, thinking Aline was probably there and she was.  We had a good talk, and firmed up plans for lunch today and for the Hedda Gabler production meeting tonight.  I called Leslie to invite her along for lunch and, if we can synchronize, she'll join us.   
Continuing my on-going battle with Comcast, I was on the phone and "on the chat" for several hours yesterday.  I think I finally got through to them that I don't want them to pick up my messages.  So am I back to normal?  No.  I followed instructions about re-recording my message greeting, but it was through Comcast and after all the strife, my phone is still not retaining my messages.
Note: Oh, happy day!  Finally, after yet another call to Comcast, my phone is getting messages.  ALL IS FORGIVEN, COMCAST!