It’s interesting that whenever I find myself at my sister’s place, I am always inclined to post. Not much of a leap considering I am usually spending large chunks of time on my own with narry a thing to chew away at my attention. November has surged onward to this holiday and I am winded, but still running. Work has loaded in a show that gave everyone one or two (billion) things to grumble over, but we prevailed. The highlight for me was that I got a chance to do some teaching. You see, the Stage has a symbiotic relationship with the big university in this town (shall henceforth be known as the University. I know, my originality is stellar) and thus the staff cross over as instructors in such classes. I got to teach what’s known as a “lab” portion of a generalized technical theatre course. The students receive a lecture portion, then they get lab sessions to accomplish projects that apply the things that they are learning in lecture. I have another session in December and I could not be more excited. I was so nervous about the first portion. I mean, I did some teaching in undergrad, but I had never been fully left alone to teach a whole lesson (on my own, no other adult in the room…debatable whether I should actually be considered an adult considering how much Disney music populates my playlists). However, the first session went supremely well. The day completely galloped away and I got to experience a most joyous ride. The students appeared to grasp the concepts that I demonstrated and they also seemed legitimately enthused by their progress. I personally felt a deep happiness at seeing them go through the first stages successfully. I know the next portion will prove a little trickier because there is more fussing during the process, but they are capable. I just hope I continue to present the information in a way that is accessible.

Another highlight was seeing the movie Catching Fire. I try not to talk too much pop-culture on this blog, but I feel I must extend an honorary “hat’s off” to both movies that have been released thus far. I enjoyed the books, but I am so excited that, finally, there appears to be “book movies” that are actually aiming for an accurate adaptation of the words on the page to a cinematic experience. So many times, I am disappointed that a movie touts to be “based on” a novel when it should actually say “loosely inspired by some plot devices and character names in the novel…” Not so with the Hunger Games movies thus far. Handsome and I spent an excellent evening seeing a movie that gave me the same deep satisfaction that I experienced when watching its predecessor. Catching Fire is actually my favorite of the trilogy and I was genuinely relieved that it was handled so well. Plus, Katniss was wearing some absolutely amazing knitwear!!! Did anyone else notice all the fabulous knits? Please tell me someone did because if you didn’t, go watch it again an then come back and gush with me. (Handsome humors me God bless him, but he wasn’t nearly as excited by her super-chic cowl, or her hunting neck piece, or her cardigan in that scene…)

Now I am here, at my sister’s for Thanksgiving. We switch off with our family every year and my family in PA lives super close to my sister and it is their turn to host. I didn’t realize how much I was missing my family until I saw my sister. Despite the fact that I was unemployed while I was in New Jersey, one of the nice things was that I saw my family a lot more often. Now, they are just far enough to make a weekend visit just a hair too short for full quality time. I am used to that reality, but it strikes me more now because I had that time where they were so easily accessible. I do miss that. Thus, this holiday will be grand, if only for the sole reason that I get to see people that I am proud to say I am related to.

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A weekend away

The whirlwind never ceases. It’s that time of year when anyone who has anything to do at all finds herself running around in the headless chicken fashion. In our theatre season, it is that last crunch of shows before the lull around the Christmas holiday. Twas not exactly the best time for me to go galavanting off to a wedding, but I was not consulted when the date was decided 😉 Thankfully, knowing the date a million years in advance allows a boss and her assistant to plan accordingly. Thus, this weekend found Handsome and myself in Maryland for the wedding of one of my good friends. The weekend began with a night full of good drink and good company because the lovely Herculine joined us for that night. I also got to see a few alum from my school that I have not seen in a very long time. One of the highlights was getting the chance to go grab a caramel apple spice earlier in the day with my mentor. Ultra-Umber (so named because of his penchant for always using ultramarine blue and burnt umber in any paint treatment he creates) is the man who was my advisor throughout college, both for my academic planning and my undergrad design work. Now, he is a friend and someone who holds a huge portion of my respect for just being a solidly incredible person. Whenever I am in town we try to meet for a spell and  I always feel enriched by the encounter. I also got to spend a surprising amount of time with Herculine. I mean, she was kind enough to put us up for the weekend, but we were expecting maybe one evening of hangout time. Turns out a good portion of Friday and Saturday evening were spent in the company of my lovely friend and I am saddened that I can’t have her in every state in which I live.

As for the wedding, there were multiple happy things. First of all, Handsome and I looked damn good. I fear I don’t have pictures, but try to picture a dapper bearded gentleman in a fine black suit, white dress shirt, and a wine-red tie. Then, imagine a lady in a pewter-gray, silken material dress that has a classy neckline and a skirt that sits at the knee in the front, only to swoop down to just above the calves in the back. The material smacks of liquid- metal- in- moonlight, and then couple the dress with slight pops of silver-crystal glitz to provide that sparkle. Oh yes, we were a very fine couple indeed. However, Princess P. (the bride) eclipsed all. She had that bride glow (coupled with a gorgeously beaded dress) that everyone whispers about when they speak of weddings. The whole affair was quite traditional and the couple seemed pleased with the proceedings. I got to see others from the Pack (group of us who lived on the same floor freshman year in college) which made my heart swell. There was dancing, silly photos, and much talk and catching up. Handsome was a lovely escort and the weather was fine in the way that only late-Fall blue sky can be. Now I am returned to a very attention starved feline and mercy am I glad to come home to this place.

Explosive Activity and Heartspaces

October kind of exploded a whole bunch of happening in my face. First of all, people visited. I mean, I covered the first wave, but then Wonder Woman came to town. She was here for almost an entire week, but most of our adventures occurred over that weekend. On the morning of October 19th, Handsome, Wonder Woman, and I headed to a tiny train station in New Jersey to catch the train to NYC. After grabbing the train by the mere skin of our teeth, we were on our way to the City. Why go to the Big Apple? Well, when one has another fine friend to meet up with (who also happens to have a free place to crash) and one has an incredibly eye-opening piece of theatre to see…one may find oneself in the midst of Penn Station in a drag-queen-silver jacket looking about hopelessly for Emrys in the midst of the throng. We eventually found him and we spent the day traipsing about the city. From Emrys’s cozy apartment, to a nifty little market, I was reminded why I enjoy visiting the city with people who actually know how to navigate the labyrinth of subways and streets. The first highlight of the visit occurred that night.

Wonder Woman, when planning her excursion to our humble dwelling, recommended that we go to the City in order to see the piece Sleep No More. I had heard ridiculously good things about this piece and I found myself overjoyed to be in a financial situation where such an excursion could be possible. For those who don’t know, Sleep No More is an interactive/site specific theatre experience that is loosely based on Macbeth, but utilizes elements of other dark tales in order to fashion an experience that is unlike anything you are likely to have experienced prior to witnessing this work.  When you enter the space, you are told that the evening is meant to be your experience. There is no right or wrong way to go about exploring the world that has been created. There is no speaking. Even the actors do not use speech, but rather physical theatre techniques and intense body imagery to tell their part of the story. I personally chose not to follow a particular actor. I found the herds of spectators chasing after the various performers overwhelming, thus I chose to just explore every nook and cranny of the space, happening on scenes by chance rather than by design. You can open drawers, pick up bottles of various liquids, page through accounts and letters….tis a dark playground for the curious child who just happens to be a little taller than she was some years ago. There were limits to the space and where one could go, but ultimately I was occupied for the three hours that I wandered. I was exhausted and ached in every portion of my legs and hips, but I was most satisfied. I would not recommend this experience to everyone, but if you are willing to traipse through a dark maze dripping with the dregs of human misery and notorious intent, then Sleep No More is completely worth the ticket price.

The second highlight of the trip is a little more subtle and perhaps very specific to me. For the first time in a very long time, I got to spend a full day and a half with Emrys. Emrys and I have been friends for almost 11 years, but the college years did not allow for a great deal of contact. Due to physical distance and both of us having extremely busy lives, I rarely got to see my friend. In truth, he is more family to me, but in the sense that he is the brother of my heart. We have experienced much together and I did not even realize how much I sorely missed spending time with him until we had more than a quick dinner after a year of barely speaking. Such time is precious and there is a chance that we might be at a place in our lives where we can see each other more often. I don’t demand that such a time continue infinitely, but I am inspired to make the most of it, not only with Emrys, but also with all those who are my heart-family that I have scattered along this coast. I would challenge all of us to actively remain in contact with those who share our heartspace, because it’s important. Such people are a gift. Show gratitude by giving to them a hundred-fold.