Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My latest commercial venture

A short radio commercial for a local non-profit. It was fun watching the engineer mix the music with the voices. That software is amazing!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

My acting monologue

I wrote this monologue recently to perform at an acting class.  It tries and fails miserably to explain why I'm so driven to act.  Fails because I still haven't really figured it out myself!

I have always wanted to act.  Of course, when I was a kid I thought of it as wanting to "be an actress."  My mom tells me when I was little and my parents would have friends over I would run into my room, put on my flounciest little dress, and run back out to twirl in front of them.  You know, so my skirt would go out in a big circle.  [grins]  And they'd laugh, and clap, and that would just set me off on another round of spinning, until my parents would tell me that was enough. 

 I remember watching Marilyn Monroe and saying to myself, "I'm going to be an actress.  But I'll be prettier than her."  [laughs] I thought she had funny eyebrows.  [laughs again]

But I never did it, until about 5 years ago.  A friend gave me a part in a play she was doing. She says she created a monster.  And now you just can't stop me.  I've done tons of shows --- some better than others -- but I just have to act.  I don't know what it is about acting that is so vital to me.  I've thought about it a lot.  The whole process of becoming another person, figuring out what makes her tick, working with other actors and a director to shape who that person is and what she's after and how she responds, digging deeper with each rehearsal, learning to love even the unattractive ones … it is just so compelling.  And I'm driven to learn more, to get better at it, to deliver a performance that touches people in some way.  I want audiences to leave the theater feeling they've been touched by something special, something that engages their hearts and minds and that they can't quite shake off.

I want to burn bright.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Buddy's journey

The Huz and I have agreed to foster this sweet little dog, with the intention of adopting him if he fits well into our home. We'd originally thought we would have him by Wednesday the 26th, but now it looks as if we have to wait till Saturday the 29th. It's a win-win situation for us both, though. He gets to be in a foster home in Tennessee for a week, and we get to learn from them what to expect so we can prepare. And I've got a clear calendar for the following week so we can spend some quality bonding time together.

As a stray, the name he was assigned was Cuddly. We thought that was kind of a barfy name for a dog, so we're calling him Buddy. At least that way people may have a clue that he's a boy. Poor Simba was always mistaken for a girl!

Here's what we know of his journey so far.

From: Sherrie
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 11:53 AM
To: Annie
Subject: Re: Cuddly SF aka Caddy SF app - no deposit

Hi Annie - This little fellow is as cute as they get! He has the look of a puppy, but he is a full grown adult at 13 pounds and 2 years old. He reminds meof a teddie bear. His build is a bit stockier than a full Pomeranian.

Cuddly / Caddy came into the shelter as a stray on 5/3. He had already been neutered (which is something that we don't see here that much with incoming dogs to the shelters). Also, he had been microchipped. We can only wonder why he was running stray and why an owner failed to claim him. He must have been loved and cared for at some point in his young life.

A plea went out to the rescue groups from the shelter to help this boy. They had labeled him as "scared". A shelter (even the better ones) is a horrible place for a dog. It is very stressful for most all of them. The shelter made the decision not to place him onthe adoption floor for the public to view. I would be speculating to guess how he might have behaved.......perhaps withdrawn or cowering in a corner (?)

I pulled him for rescue last Saturday (5/15). He rode very quietly in his kennel cab on the hour drive back. I had my own male dog with me who sat bedside him. I never heard the first grumble or growl from either of them. When I got to the kennel, it was already closed......but I had been given instructions on how to get in and which kennel was designated for him. Cuddly / Caddy walked very well on a leash for me a long distance down the outside of both kennel buildings. When we got inside, with all the dogs barking.......he continued to follow me and didn't run up to any of them.

I wish I knew more to tell you about him. It just wasn't possible for me to have him here to foster at my house this week (running too full). And, I'm running so far behind here that there really hasn't been time to go to the boarding kennel for me to visit with him. The only other thing I can think of right off hand.......his coat is pretty light tan / cream color and thick. It looked like someone may have took scissors to it at one time (not a professional grooming job). He is gorgeous though.......just cuter than you can even imagine. - Sherrie

From: Sherrie

Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:17 PM

To: Annie

Subject: Evaluation of Cuddly SF aka Caddy SF

Hi Annie,
Please share this update and pictures with Pat who is planning on foster to adopt. I spent about 30 minutes with Caddy at the kennel today. He's a good boy! Never once did he snap at me or even so much as growl. He walked fine on the leash and really enjoyed being out in the yard away from the kennel. He is playful and jumped up on my legs, got in my lap, and let me handle him all over. When I first took him out, there was a male English Bulldog and a Yorkie on the front porch who belong to the kennel owner. He didn't seem to care about them at all and just sniffed and walked on past.
I can see how he would have been very scared in a shelter situation. He did not voluntarily come to me in his kennel today (even though I had a piece of cheese that he was interested in). I had to close the door to the outside run part and go in to get him. He showed no aggression at all, he was just apprehensive. Once outdoors though, he was fine with me. I even gave him a bellyrub at one point :-)

He just needs some TLC and time to adjust and to trust. Some dogs are more afraid than others in a kennel or a shelter situation. Transport may be more stressful for him than for some of the others. I was very pleased with what I saw in him today and how receptive that he was to me once outside of the kennel. I have attached a picture of his kennel which has a large outside run that you can't make out in the picture (he's got plenty of room and it is super clean). But.....the barking of the other dogs and just that type of environment is making him cautious and uneasy. He should do fine once in a quiet home setting. -


P.S. - I think he looks like a little bear cub. One cute little fellow!

At 10:25 PM 5/21/2010, Sherrie wrote:

Jeff did not take Cuddly......not even one open kennel space for him. He told me if he had known earlier that he could have sent him on the van that started back way ahead of him. I will foster Cuddly here at my house for the upcoming week to save you the expense of boarding and to help him too.

Annie, please let Pat know that Cuddly isn't coming up until next weekend. I hope she is not too disappointed. On a positive note, it will be good for me to work with him this week. I saw a major improvement in him at the kennel this afternoon. I believe he remembered me from his playtime yesterday. He greeted me and came right to the kennel gate and out for me to get him. He was excellent coming back from Knoxville in the car and loving a rawhide bone.

From: Sherrie
Date: Sat, May 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: Cuddly

Hi Pat - I like Buddy much better and will start calling him that. He did fine last night in his kennel crate and ate most of his breakfast this morning. I didn't put him out in the fenced area for playtime though because I want to take my time in introducing him to the other dogs. Also, he has a lot of hair and it does get hot and humid here. I will take very good care of him for you. I believe you will really like him. It was amazing how he came to me voluntarily at the kennel yesterday without having to go in to get him. I truly believe he remembered out playtime from the day before and knew to trust me. He walks great on a leash. I will be taking him out several times today. He is in a kennel crate right now. - Sherrie

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower

I'm revisiting an old favorite recipe today, originally posted here by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen fame (and I do mean fame, that woman's a one-person industry!) I recently found some gorgeous heads of cauliflower at our local produce market. We're so lucky to have a market specializing in produce, considering the low population density of our area. They price things just under what all the supermarkets are selling them at, and often quite a bit lower, and they have such amazing turnover that everything is fresh and beautiful.

Anyway, I was making a veggie platter with a creamy collard greens dip (only 100 calories per quarter cup, I need to blog that one too!) so I picked up an extra head for roasting. This recipe transforms cauliflower haters into ga-ga cauliflower fans. And fully roasted, the pieces keep beautifully for days in the fridge, making them a go-to recipe for those times when I'm not going to be home to cook much and The Huz is on a veggie kick.

I reprint the recipe here in the spirit of ensuring that it never disappears from the web. It's quick and easy (those famous two lies, but it's true!) and I really encourage you to give it a try.

The one suggestion I might make is that over-cooking the cauliflower may be the best thing you can do. Try it and see if you don't enjoy the extra caramelization that results.


Roasted Spicy Cauliflower

(About 4 servings, recipe from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook)

1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper)
pinch salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Placed cut up cauliflower, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper into mixing bowl and stir well to combine and coat cauliflower with oil and red pepper. Arrange in single layer on heavy baking sheet or baking dish. Roast until softened and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Public Radio likes our play!

This is the first time a play I've been in has been reviewed on the radio. How very cool!

I copy the text of the review here, for fear that it may eventually disappear from the NHPR website.

Up in Enfield, the Shaker Bridge Theatre, is holding forth with Tom Dudzick’s home-for-the-holidays comedy Greetings!

It’s Christmas Eve in Pittsburgh, and young Andy Gorski has brought his fiancée home to meet the folks. The trouble is, Andy’s parents are staunch working-class Catholics, and his girlfriend is not only Jewish, but an actress! Worst of all, she’s an avowed atheist! All this plays rather badly, especially with Andy’s terminal sourpuss of a father. But after a little help from his mentally disabled brother Mickey – and some divine intervention – things turn out just fine.

Dudzick’s play has those peculiar properties that critics hate and audiences love, probably for the same reasons. The script is clichéd and shamelessly sentimental, crammed with loose ends and addicted to bad one-liners. Its characters and situations are almost entirely ripped off from All In The Family, It’s A Wonderful Life, and, yes, A Christmas Carol. Even so, Greetings!’ familiarity is part of its appeal, and Shaker Bridge has put together a sincere and relatively smooth production.

Founding Artistic Director Bill Coons does triple duty. He directed, designed the play’s comfortable, intelligent set, and plays Andy’s dyspeptic father, Phil.

Coons the actor could use more of Carroll O’Connor’s subversive zest. But he gets good support from Pat Langille as his heroically patient wife, Emily, and very fine, understated work from Lane Gibson as little brother Mickey. Mike Backman and Jocelyn Parrish are less successful as son Andy and his fiancée, Randi, mostly because both are fifteen to twenty years too old for these roles.

In spite of its flaws, however, Shaker Bridge’s Greetings! still has enough sweetness and pathos to make it an attractive family outing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rest in peace, sweet Simba

Simba died Monday. He was 14, and had been in the final stages of renal failure for many months. We kept him fairly healthy and still quite happy by giving him twice-weekly trips to the vet to get subcutaneous fluids; by doing so his life was better and longer than it would have been otherwise.

I miss him so much. He was a good dog, even sweeter than most dogs, and as a dog lover I know whereof I speak.

We're going to have a burial service for him in a couple of weeks. Here's the eulogy I'm going to try to read for him.
I speak these words to Simba, who wouldn't have understood them when he was alive, but maybe he can hear them now.

Your mama loved you, Simba, but you knew that. I have no regrets. You had a better than average doggie life while you were in my care, but it's only what you deserved, because you were the sweetest dog I've ever had the pleasure of sharing my home with. You loved me generously, lavishly, and phooey on anyone who says dogs only love you because you feed them. You celebrated with energy and noise whenever I walked through a closed door, even if I'd just been in the bathroom too long. You celebrated being outside by doing "silly dog," running like a streak of blond lightning all around the yard, running so fast your tummy dragged on the ground, zooming toward me, daring me to catch you, and then zooming off at the last minute, your eyes sparkling, breathing hard. And then finally, one last dash straight to me to sit at my feet and pant while I stroked your heaving sides. You celebrated your mastery of your kingdom by chasing turkeys, deer, and even a bear that came into sight. You terrorized cats, squirrels, chipmunks, and any bird that walked on the ground. And they all fled from you because you were fierce far beyond your 11 pounds. You never caught anything, but each time hope sprang again in your heart. You were a mighty 11-pound predator.

You hugged my knees, kissed my hand and my chin, rolled over for tummy pats, leaned against me for comfort, and saved all your sweetest faces for me. You followed me from room to room, except when it meant climbing the stairs because you long ago figured out there's a 50-50 chance I forgot something and was coming right back. You were gracious and accepting to those who wanted to pat you (after first making enough noise to let them know you weren't a pushover) but you loved me the best. You were the softest doggie in the world. You loved me to hold you in your meerkat pose and scratch your neck and your tummy and I so loved doing that. The best feeling ever was to have you fall asleep in my arms while I was petting you. But you weren't a demanding doggie, until the last year of your life when you needed more from me and I gave it gladly because you so deserved it. You trusted me so much, you let me take you to the vet where they stuck you with needles to draw out blood or run in fluids, and even though you shivered with anxiety you didn't try to run away. You let me take food away from you. You let me give you baths and brush you. You traveled hours in the car, shivering the whole time, to be with me in Connecticut for Christmas. You were my best boy, and as I write this I look at you and the tears stream down my cheeks because I know you won't be here much longer. God says there will be no tears in heaven, and that tells me that you will be there, because if you aren't there will be an empty place in my heart that only tears could express. I love you, Simba. I will miss you every time I come in the door, every time I come up the stairs or out of the bathroom, every morning when I wake up and you're not there at my feet, every time I see a squirrel or a bear in our yard. There may be other dogs in my life, but there will never be another you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Scones with FRESH blueberries ... yum!

I may be the last person in the world to discover Cooks Illustrated's fresh blueberry scones. When I googled the recipe I found lots of posts reproducing it. I have a little recipe website that I use for sharing my recipes with folks who've attended events I've cooked for, separate from this blog, so I won't reproduce the recipe here. But I will tell you that these scones are breathtakingly almost perfect ... perfected, IMHO, by the additon of a teensy amount of extra sugar. After you bite through the crisp crust, they just melt in your mouth. And then to put big delicious fresh blueberries in them ... it's just the most perfect combination ever. Honest. Try 'em. I dare you to eat just one.

Cooks Illustrated's Fresh Blueberry Scones as adapted by yours truly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Splendid Table's Ginger Scallion Shrimp

If you haven't already done so, visit The Splendid Table's website and sign up for their weekly email. I've gotten pretty selective about adding recipes to my "to try" pile but about 2 out of 3 recipes from this email make it onto the pile. Lynn Rosette Kasper is one of those people who seem so generous, fun, and gracious that you'd just love to sit down with her for a cup of coffee and laugh and gossip for hours.

I've searched their website to see if they've posted this recipe online so I could give them some link love directly to the recipe, but I can't find it there, so I'll reproduce the entire recipe right here.

You may already know that there are health and environmental concerns about farmed and imported shrimp, which is what is generally sold cheaply in chain supermarkets and elsewhere. The source of the shrimp is now required to be listed on the label in the US, so look for wild shrimp or at least shrimp that is farmed in the US. Of particular concern are shrimp farmed in southeast Asia. There may be some healthily farmed shrimp from there, but it's impossible to disinguish them from the unhealthy ones, so I avoid those. I'd rather eat shrimp less frequently and buy them healthy than ingest heavy metals, etc.

Anyway, getting off my soapbox now, this recipe is one that has made us very happy more than once. It's a rare recipe that I don't tinker with at least a little, but I haven't found a need to change this one bit. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Ginger-Scallion Shrimp

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Serves 4 generously
This recipe has a favorite brining technique, which is worth filing away. Keep it for other seafood, and for poultry and meats. Spoon the shrimp over rice noodles and scatter with fresh basil and mint leaves.


  • 1/2 cup salt (kosher or sea salt, not iodized)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup medium hot pure chile powder
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 1/2 pounds large raw shrimp, in or out of their shells


  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thin sliced
  • 3-inch piece new ginger root, peeled and cut into long, thin strips
  • 3 whole scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

  1. Brine the shrimp 20 minutes by blending in a medium stainless or glass bowl the salt, sugar and chile in the water. Drop in the shrimp and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes, no more. Drain, shell if necessary, and pat dry.
  2. Have everything cut and ready to cook. Drain the shrimp, peel off shells if necessary, and pat them dry. Heat a wok or 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over high. Once the pan is hot, swirl in the oil.
  3. Immediately stir in the garlic, ginger, and scallion. Cook until fragrant (a few seconds), stirring all the time. Add the shrimp, sprinkling them with the sugar and black pepper. Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until they are turning pink and are barely firm. Turn them into a serving bowl. Season to taste, and serve with rice or rice noodles.
  • Shrimp are sold by count — the number of shrimp in a pound. The larger the shrimp, the lower the count, and the higher the price. Large shrimp are those labeled 20-30 per pound.
  • Choose fresh ginger root that is firm with a thin shiny skin. Those that look dry or shriveled are past their prime.
  • To store fresh ginger root, blot away any surface moisture, wrap airtight and refrigerate for up to 10 days. For longer storage, peel the root, slice, wrap airtight and freeze. No need to thaw before using — just break off what you need and return the rest to the freezer.
  • Sprinkle coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves over each serving as a garnish.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A new favorite cookie recipe: chocolate peanut butter mini sandwich cookies

Each Christmas, my contribution to the festivities (outside of my sparkling smile and sardonic wit) is a platter of assorted home-baked treats. Last year, I brought dark chocolate buttercrunch (see most recent post for recipe), a triple layered tea cookie with peppermint icing and chocolate drizzle, something else I can't remember, and chocolate PB mini sandwich cookies.

I was betting on the peppermint cookies for favoritude, so imagine my surprise when everyone, including yours truly, decided the Choco PBs were the best! They're peanut butter cookies with a peanut buttery filling, drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped dry roasted peanuts. The recipe is courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens, and you can find it on their site here. But I don't ever trust public sites to keep those recipes around, and in fact if you just go to bhg.com and search for it, you won't find the recipe. So I always take favorites and write them up either here or on my recipe website. This time I decided to put it on my site, which you can find here.

By the way, those of you who used to pay attention to this blog have probably mostly disappeared, and who can blame you, for who pays attention to one who pays no attention back? I've not been adding much to the blog for a couple of years now, since life got busy work and acting-wise. But work has slowed down, and acting isn't all-consuming, so I do hope to pick back up a bit. If you're still out there listening, will you leave me a comment for encouragement? That's a good soul. Thanks.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch

dark chocolate buttercrunchIf you like Heath Bar candy bars, you'll love this homemade candy. Don't be intimidated by all the steps. If you follow them fairly carefully, you'll be surprised how easily this comes together. (A hit for our family Christmas '08. Great for holiday gifts.)

Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch

1 c (2 sticks, 1 lb) salted butter
1 ½ c (12 oz) sugar
1 T corn syrup
3 T water
2 c (8 oz) diced pecans or slivered almonds, toasted
1 lb semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • In a large, deep saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, water and corn syrup, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Boil gently, over medium heat, until the mixture reaches hard-crack stage (300°F on an instant-read or candy thermometer), about 20 minutes. The syrup will seem to take a long time to come to the hard-crack stage, but be patient; all of a sudden it will darken, and at that point you need to take its temperature and see if it's ready. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test a dollop in ice water; it should immediately harden to a brittleness sufficient that you'll be able to snap it in two, without any bending or softness). If you stop too soon, you'll have candy that sticks vehemently to your teeth. Too long, and the syrup will burn and you'll need to start over.
  • While the sugar mixture is gently bubbling, spread half of the toasted nuts, in a fairly closely packed, even, single layer, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Don't crowd the nuts too closely, just spread them thinly but evenly. Too closely = small platform for buttercrunch = too thick buttercrunch.
  • Top the layer of nuts with half the chocolate. Just drizzle it over; no need to spread it.
  • When the syrup is ready, pour it quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Immediately top with the remaining chocolate, then the remaining nuts.
  • Wait several minutes, then gently, using the back of a spatula, press down on the chocolate-nut layer to spread the chocolate around evenly.
  • While the candy is still slightly warm,use a spatula to loosen it from the baking sheet.
  • When cool, break it into uneven chunks. Catch any slivers and powdery bits & use as ice cream topping.
Print the recipe from here

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Turkey & pear tart

When I was a kid, I didn't much like turkey. I've always preferred nice moist dark poultry meat, and turkey is so much drier than chicken that it just wasn't a favorite of anyone in my family when I was growing up. So we stopped serving turkey for holidays when I was a kid, and alternated between duck and goose instead. Now that's flavorful meat!

But duck and goose are expensive and not always available, and lately I've begun to appreciate turkey for its distinctive flavor, more interesting than chicken by far. We don't traditionally have Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at our house, so we don't get turkey leftovers that way. But hey, who says you can only cook turkeys for holidays? Our local coop has locally-raised turkeys, and sells some of it fresh in packaged pieces, so I picked up some thighs the other day and baked them. After we enjoyed a meal of turkey meat, I used the leftovers for this tart. We both liked it. It has a nice blend of flavors and textures, and the sour cream makes a smooth, satisfying sauce without making it heavy.

Now, the Huz doesn't care for blue cheeses of any variety, even mild gorgonzola. So I had to make half the tart with another cheese, in this case some shredded Swiss I had on hand. Just like a half-and-half pizza, I split the ingredients in two and added Swiss to one half of the mixture, gorgonzola to the other, and carefully piled them in separate halves of the tart. It worked out great!

Here's the recipe, adapted from CooksCountry.com.

Turkey & pear tart

1 9-inch round pie crust (prepared is OK, although I made my own tonight)
2 c leftover turkey meat, cut into bite-size pieces
¾ c crumbled cheese (gorgonzola, blue, swiss), divided
3 large or 4 medium firm pears, peeled, cored, and diced
¼ c pecans, toasted and chopped
¼ c dried cranberries (I used dried cherries and would have liked more)
1 c light sour cream
3 T light cream
1 T minced fresh thyme
salt & pepper
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Gently press pie crust into 9-inch tart pan and trim excess dough with knife. Prick bottom of dough all over with tines of fork. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
  3. Combine turkey, 1/2 c cheese, pears, cranberries, sour cream, cream, and thyme in large bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer mixture to cooled pie crust, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Let cool up to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The tart can be refrigerated for 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

where it's happenin'

My acting resume

With all the acting & working going on, this sad little blog has been very lonesome lately. (Not nearly as lonesome as my virtual pet on Facebook, but let's not go there.)

I did recently update my acting resume, and am frankly putting a post here about it in hopes of getting some search engine love. So you can follow the link or not, totally up to you, and no hard feelings if your answer is "Feh!" Recent updates include a page with photos and some anonymized comments from others ... kind of fun for ME to read if nobody else! :o)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Give peace a chance

Whether or not you agree with the views expressed, this animation is fabulous.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some fun at rehearsal

Whenever a show runs just on weekends, there's always something called a "pickup rehearsal" mid-week, so the actors aren't coming into the first night's performance cold. Sometimes it's a full rehearsal without costumes, other times we just "run lines," which means we sit around with each person saying their lines, no movements. Often if it's running lines, it becomes something of a race, with everyone saying their lines from memory as fast as they can, with little inflection, just really running the lines.

Earlier in the rehearsal schedule, if I was having trouble remembering a line, I would use some sort of trick. My second favorite one was when Annie says, "... her mind is like a mousetrap." My next line isn't responding to that one, it's referring back to something she'd said earlier. It's a little harder to remember lines like that. My line starts, "But after a child hears how many words, Miss Annie?" So the trick that I used for that one was to envision a cartoon mouse with his butt sticking out of a mousetrap ("mousetrap." "But") and then to envision a child's bare butt ("But after a child") and that got me to remember the next line.

That was one of the more elaborate ones, but it worked, and now I don't have to use the trick any more, I just remember the line!

But my hands-down favorite trick led to some fun at last night's pickup rehearsal, which was of the running lines variety. I have a line that goes, "We're off to meet the train, Captain." For some reason, I couldn't get that exactly right. I knew I needed to tell him we were leaving to pick up Annie at the train, but I couldn't get those exact words stuck in my head. So while I was saying them over & over again, I began to hear, "We're OFF to meet the wizard! The wonderful wizard of Oz!" That did it for me, but then of course my mind began running to who we're really off to meet, Miss Annie, and before you know it I'd composed a silly little takeoff on the song.

So I began conspiring, whispering, telling the other actors (but not Annie or the director) that at the pickup rehearsal when we came to that point, I was going to signal with a "Hmmmmmm" setting the first note, and we'd all burst into song. So we did:
We're off to meet the wizard!
The wonderful wizard of Ann.
She is, she is a teaching whiz
Because of her flappin' hands!

If ever, oh ever a whiz there was,
The wizard of Ann's a whiz because,
Because, because, because, because, beCAUSE!
Because of the wonderful signs she does!

[doo doo, doo doo, do doo, do dooo!]

We're off to meet the wizard!
The wonderful wizard of Ann!
We all had a good laugh, and now Annie's worried that when she hears that line as she sits stage right in the "train station" that she'll be unable to keep from smiling!

Very fun. What a good cast we have, to indulge me in such silliness ... and to enjoy it with me!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quick show update

I'm thrilled to tell you that our first weekend of The Miracle Worker was a raging success. By Sunday, word of mouth had swelled the audience to 3/4 of the theater (and I've played shows there with only 20 people in the seats, so this is definitely a commentary on the show). It's a physically demanding show, especially for the young women who are playing Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller (if you've ever seen the movie you know what I mean). They are doing a bang-up job of those action sequences. When we started rehearsing I was pretty sure it was going to look like a couple of girls pretending to fight with each other but Man! It surely does not!

The role I play, as Helen's mom, is a gem. Even though it's not a lead part, in my opinion Kate Keller really is the beating heart of the story (or am I prejudiced?). She loves her daughter fiercely, and even though she's a proper Southern belle, she is willing to stand up to an overbearing husband, a sniping stepson, and anyone else who tries to get in the way of getting Helen the help she needs. She is gracious, smart, and loving. She loves, jokes, smiles, struggles, cries, and offers emotional support to everyone in her family at one time or another. She's just a gem, and I'm privileged to play her.

The play is structured so that I'm on stage most of the time, even though the lead roles are Annie and Helen. I so much prefer being on stage a lot during a performance. It helps me stay in character; there's often a lot of goofing around going on backstage that can be distracting.

My costumes are drop-dead GORGEOUS! Here's a snapshot the Huz snapped. I'll have more at some point, as the costumer intends to offer them for rental on a website. They're completely authentic right down to the corset & chemise, and completely beautiful. She chose lovely fabrics for mine. In this picture you also see, from left to right, a blind girl, Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller, and a second blind girl. Click on the picture to see it a bit larger.

Saturday night for the first time in all my performances I had the heartwarming experience of hearing the audience clap louder when I came on stage. ("You like me, you really like me!") It happened again for the Sunday matinee, and the crowd held the applause for so long that we had a second bow.

I'm on cloud 9! (That little speck in the picture is me ;-)