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A crisp clear wintry day outside!  Last night was a full moon and it was brilliant.  So bright, it cast unearthly glow and visible shadows!  Marvelous!

Had a whirlwind of a weekend.  Saturday, the Winter Solstice, btw... I braved NY City with my friend Kim and went to see the (technically "off") Broadway production of Shakespeare's Cymbeline.  Oh how wonderful, t'was!!  Myself, I've only seen a single play before in NY -- not nearly the grand scale of this production!!  The play is one of Shakespeare's "late romances", which tend to combine elements of comedy and tragedy, and usually incorporate a magical or fairytale element as well.  This production had more than a few notable stars: Martha Plimpton, Michael Cerveris (from the recent Broadway Sweeney Todd), John Collum (whom I knew mostly as Holling the bartender from Northern Exposure), Phylicia Rashad (yes, from The Cosby Show).  And there was a quite versatile British actor, Jonathan Cake, in the role of Iachimo, the play's Iago-like villain.  HE was really a pleasant surprise.  In one particular scene, where the stage drops and then rises again with the actors in a "Roman sauna" set... they're all sitting around in towels.  Cake, as Iachimo, obviously wore NOTHING beneath his.  Yes, we looked VERY closely!  ;-)

Speaking of our seats, I'd made sure we got really fabulous seats.  Second row from downstage left.  So close that we saw spray when the actors spoke!  And it seemed that all the asides were performed directly in front of us.  Seriously, I could go on and on at length about the fabulous sets and costumes and of course, the huge golden eagle that descended with the god Jupiter during the dream sequence!  Quite spectacular!!  Well worth the $$$!

After the performance, we decamped to a Japanese bookstore, Kinokuniya in Bryant Park.  Apparently legendary for its awesome manga and anime stock, it seemed like the perfect Mecca for my friend and I (who are both anime aficionados).  Then to sushi, which just seemed the logical choice after the bookstore.  One of the Japanese cashiers directed us a cozy restaurant on the other side of the park.  Sapporo (Japanese beer) and sushi!  Yum!

And then we were SO ready to go home at that point.  I always find NY really, truly exhausting.  Bone-tiring in fact.  Waiting for trains, commuting like cattle, fighting your way through the throngs... ugh.  We also ventured into the NY subway system too.  WOW.  Talk about bewildering!  The thing with NY is that you can only do two or three things and then the day is over.  It takes a crapload of time just getting up there and then getting around.  Every time, I resolve to get up there earlier the next time, but it never seems to work!

At any rate, next time in NY, perhaps the Met or the Cloisters!  Kim is a very fine compatriot and eager traveling companion!
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So... the Shakespeare Co. held our very first Annual Holiday Bash last Friday, December 14.  I took to calling it the Saturnalia myself, looking for something a bit more exotic.  (Didn't really catch on though).

Pretty successful, altogether!  Many people came.  Much food and alcohol was consumed!  Pretty good cross-section from the last few plays.  Didn't nab any of the lapsed cast of the first play, but eh.  Whattya gonna do, right?  A big catch was that our King from All's Well showed!  He'd dropped out of playing Prospero in Tempest, and we really thought we'd never see him after that.  None of us would hold ill feelings, but it seems kinda common that someone who dropped out of a role would feel awkward about returning to the group later on.  There's more than a few people I doubt seriously we'll ever see again.  But t'was a good time had by all -- I made a very impromptu "Winter's Tale" (our next play) punch with a bottle of grappa (the play takes place partly in Sicily) and some Sicilian lemon soda, colored blue with a bit of curacao and embellished with lemon sherbet.  It was a BIG hit with everyone!  A not-too-sweet punch with just the right amount of "punch".  =)

Some people had RSVP-ed and didn't end up showing, and some just didn't show, no word at all.  (More on that later).  

I've also been having to take many vacation days this month rather than lose them, so I was off Friday (12/14) and Monday (12/17).  Monday ended up being a non-stop-shop-til-I-drop day.  Hence, most of my urgent Holiday gift shopping is now complete.  Was tiring, though.  Holidays this year have been more difficult than ever before in the way of getting motivated.  I'm seriously becoming a grinch.  The sheer commercialism and obligation just really make me entirely stubborn.  There's a kind of inertia that's really difficult for me to overcome.

At any rate, it's already been a busy weekend and week so far.  Had rehearsal on Sat.  Then, went over a friends to cookie-bake on Sun.   Went to rehearsal Monday night (just for fun-- I really didn't NEED to be there) and we have a "Board" meeting tomorrow night.  I'm really still only on the Board because a few of my friends are.  And Douglas.  (Our director of the last two plays and co-president).  I indulge in a little hero worship 'cause he's just so cool!  He's like the dad I always wanted!  My friends think I'm hilarious!

In the next play, I've carved out my very own brief little scene!  Two small parts total -- Emilia (gentlewoman to the Queen) and Cleomenes (fetcher of Apollo's oracle).


*yawn*... Tired now.  Other interesting things beneath the surface, but I'm going to wait until I see how they play out a little more before I discuss more openly...

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When I woke up this morning, my hair still smelled of chiminea!

Our cast party was last night.  Yes, the second and final weekend of Tempest is done.  The show is now over.  Sad!!  Sad!!  But we really did go out on a very high note.  Every one was in reveling spirits.  We all put our hearts into the last performance, I think.  It really was palpable.  And the audience was the biggest we'd had the entire run.  Had to add extra chairs!  We carried over all our good feelings into the afterparty.  Eating, drinking, carousing, sharing laughs!  I do wish it never had to end... but all good things, you know.

Will DEFINITELY miss the kissing.  *sniff!*  =(

But I took with me a very good sense/omen for the future.  Don't know exactly what that means, but I'll certainly find out one of these days... 

Absolutely, I feel such a fabulous sense of cameraderie with our core cast members.  Everyone is so different and has their own charm.  I love that they're all so distinct, so interesting in their unique ways!  And yet, we all connect so intensely with our shared love of acting.  I guess I never thought I'd feel so good being included in any group.  I never was a joiner -- but these people are all passionate and fierce creatures.  Auspicious stars that burn so brightly!!  Most of all, I love that I have something so wonderful to share with other people.  People that want to be involved and connected.  (With me, can you believe that??).  And I want to be a part of them... with all my heart.

Most significant to me, is that we all always talk of the future with each other -- what to do next, when we'll meet, endless possibilties and options.   It's really so comforting to know there's always something around the corner to look forward to.  And that there are people who need your talents, and want your company...!

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Yes, it's now Sunday. The townwide event where I was to perform my Shakespeare scene was yesterday. I survived! Yay!

And apparently, was rather well-received for my nascent acting skills. A few people in the company commented that I seem to have some natural ability/talent. Even though I'm certainly not a social individual, I'm just as susceptible to praise as anyone. A secret: we Fours as a group are mostly quite insecure. We may not go out of our way for approval, but when it's for something we feel is deeply part of us or otherwise something we take overt or secret pride in, it is truly gratifying to hear it recognized as such. The director of our upcoming Shakespeare event in the fall also attended yesterday. He's acknowledged my efforts as actually quite substantial -- sending an email today asking that we (the other woman in the scene and myself) join the "official" troupe of actors to be collected as part of the repertory. No audition necessary! Rare praise for me indeed. This from someone who's been involved with productions (incl. many Shakespeare) for most of his life, indeed as his career...

Overall, the performance really was a milestone for me. Having amassed and bolstered my courage to do something so "in front". I've always been so self-conscious and it's held me back from anything really conspicuous. Of late, though, most people are genuinely surprised to discover I'm actually an introvert by nature. They don't believe I can be so outspoken and seem comfortable in social situations. (Although "seem" is rather the key concept here). I guess I've just learned to extrovert as a matter of necessity -- in order to act in my own interests. I have found you get very little if you can't present your own case or otherwise attempt to influence the direction of events around you.

However, I remain an introvert with a vengeance. The event yesterday was mobbed with people. I spent the hours in between our two performances feeling anxious and wanting to not be there. The waiting, the crowds, the heat (it was upwards of 85 degrees and sunny), the sheer mass of people... I just wanted to avoid. To illustrate: I've lived in my town for 8 years and have reflexively avoided every iteration of "townwide event" during that time. Mass events have always held little appeal to me. Ultimately, I have only attended those I felt sufficiently worth the tremendous inner resistence. Of course, I just wished we'd had a much more controlled situation to present our performance. I had to practically yell my lungs out to be heard over the overall din. I blanked a few lines due to my overall distraction with the less-than ideal environment. Screaming Shakespeare at a less-than enthusiastic crowd of plebians... (ironically, the plebians in Shakespeare's actual day would probably have loved it). After the second performance, I was truly beat. Completely exhausted from the effort. Took the entire remainder of the day to recover even somewhat and couldn't really do anything other than slouch on the couch in complete lassitude. Only back to full reserves today.

One thing that seemed quite novel was strolling through the crowds in costume, dressed as a man (complete with mustache). The reactions of others were simply entertaining. Some people will actually stop you and ask why you're dressed so. The furtive looks, though, are classic! Some look bewildered, some amused, some curious, some startled. I have to say the mustache clearly got the most attention, though. Kids were utterly fascinated. Everyone was saying that it was excellently done and matched my hair coloration quite perfectly. Note to self: mustache is itchy. And after removing it, I felt like I was missing something!


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November 2008

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