Thursday, December 06, 2007
Our First PodcastJill and I did a podcast for a great site called Divorcing Daze. It was just posted and sounds pretty good. We come off as pretty smart and funny (it was the equivalent of a verbal good hair day)-- and have a chance to say some good stuff about the relationship between moms and stepmoms.
Check it out!
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 3:21 PM 1 comments
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Hear My Song
"It's about one moment
For the past week I've been working with my son and a group of stunningly talented young people on a musical theatre proudction. It's a fundraiser they're putting on themselves, in association with Pasadena Junior Theatre, to help raise money for a trip they are planning to New York next year.
The show is a compilation of Broadway songs and monologues, culled from a variety of shows. The songs range from deliciously cute ("Omigod you guys" from Legally Blonde, the musical) to traditionally satisfying ("Oh What a Night" from The Jersey Boys}. There are songs about being at the beginning of life, an artist, different from the rest of the world and having that aching feeling of anticipation and uncertainty as you wonder what the rest of your life is going to hold. There is a monologue about the moment you realize that theatre is a magical world that can sweep you away with passion and drama, and bring you back again safely, but forever changed.
In short, it's terrific.
The production is tonight. My son is singing a song from Fame called "I Want to Make Magic" which, in my opinion was not constructed for anyone with normal vocal chords, let alone a 15 year old with a range that seems to omit every other interval of fourths. He requested some extra time here with me so we could have access to the piano, sheet music, and some time to actually find the notes and try to imprint them. The song is beautiful, but difficult.
I've been working like a demon at the day job and going over to the theatre every night this week to set up the lighting. Dinner has been a peanut butter sandwich left on my dashboard all day and consumed during the commute. I've been dragging myself into the small space, not any more of a theatre than a room in a church with a raised area and a small procsenium at one end, wondering when I'm going to learn I'm too old to do two jobs and live on 4 hours of sleep.
And then, every night, the magic has happened. By an hour into setting up the lights or writing cues or running a rehearsal, I'm back in my body. More than back in my body... I'm fine. I'm gloriously fine. The production takes me up, the alchemy of lights and words and music and human bodies performing art in real time infuses me, and suddenly I'm just locked into the sweet spot of life again.
This has happened every night. Despite the frustrations of working with an unknown lighting board, the threat of popping a fuse every time all nine (9) of my lighting instruments are lit, and the intrinsic fatigue that comes with working 15 and 16 hour days back-to-back ... every night it's been good.
Some images I've taken with me:
I look at those kids on stage singing and dancing and I know our future is in good hands. These kids have put this whole thing on together. They are committed artists who spend their days in high school and their nights and weekends taking lessons or rehearsing or performing. They are smart and bright and funny and directed.
One night I was looking for my son to get him to pack up. The houselights were still out and I finally found him in the back of the room, huddling inside a patch of light streaming in through a window, doing his geometry homework. This is how it starts, I thought. The life of being an artist. Figuring out how to make the rest of it work while you pursue your passions. Finding the stray bits of lights while the show goes on around you.
Theatre is a holy place and a sacred endeavor. In much the same way as a church, it brings people together in communion of a common experience. It uplifts and enlightens and changes. It produces transformative tears of joy. If the early Christians felt about their church the way I feel about theatre, the Crusades and other atrocities suddenly become a bit more understandable. I would consider strapping on some live grenades and driving into a shopping mall if I truly believed that act would save the institution forever.
Theatre is one of those things that make life tolerable. As one of the songs says, "Hear my song, it'll help you believe in tomorrow; Hear my song, it'll show you the way you can shine." Theatre raises our consciousness and soothes our soul and is a holy act for those of us who participate in its creation. Yes, it's hours of work, but so is flagellation with horse hair. And, I'd suggest, infinitely more satisfying when the final curtain comes down.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 7:34 AM 1 comments