Last year, I was inspired by my friend, Kerry Hishon to do a year in review… and this year I waited with baited breath for her post. It didn’t disappoint. So now, I am going to attempt another of my own to reflect on the highlights from year that was… and what a year it was.
Like so many years in the past, my January began slowly. I was in recovery mode after a very eventful December. Isn’t everyone’s?
But in all seriousness, I directed, (and choreographed) and epically funny production of The Trials of Robin Hood by Will Averill. It had a tremendous cast and crew who adored the process, the product and each other. They, and I shed many tears upon the closing of that gem.
But, I didn’t have much time to recover, as I was already busy choreographing a delightful production of She Loves Me. It was a bit of a bucket list show for myself and my friend, Kristina, as she and I had been talking about our love for this gem of a show for many, many years. It was also one of the first productions I ever saw on Broadway. My work on that also partially inspired a past blog I wrote on the Copywrite of Choreography…
And if that wasn’t enough… I began work on another Original Kids production of Once Upon a Mattress – GTKY, an edited version of the full musical that was made for young performers. No rest for the wicked, right?
February saw many more rehearsals, the start of a new semester and the beginning of my work to support a production of The Little Mermaid at the high school where I teach. I had been tasked with choreographing a few of the numbers, (the biggest ones, yes…) and creating a number of puppets to add dimension and magic to the whole production. This took ages… and ages… and though many people offered their assistance, it became quite apparent, that because I cannot open up my brain and show others the workings of my thought process, that trying to explain what I think, I might want to do and translating that into discussion for how a person might help me realize that… is a futile effort.
March was pretty restful – in the sense that I didn’t travel anywhere and March Break and Easter were all in that month… but there were rehearsals and rehearsals and, oh yes, more rehearsals!
I also managed to sell some items that I wasn’t needing or using anymore. This allowed us enough savings to put money together to replace our aging refrigerator. That was a joyous experience. You don’t know how important that one device can be to the overall happiness of your kitchen – until you change it.
By April, I had a number of projects in very good shape, lots of teaching on the go and my husband had a pile of combat related projects that he had been supporting. It came to the point that we had to choose how and where we’d support the different productions we’d been helping. He got to see Heathers and I didn’t, I got to see Mary Poppins and he didn’t… that sort of thing. But it was an active time of year that kept us hopping, leading up to …
In May, we took students on an amazing trip to Walt Disney World! I’d been trying to make this happen for my students for years and we finally had approval and everything worked! It was a tremendous trip. The kids were great, the parks were great, the weather was – hot! But we had a superb time visiting and learning and pointing out to our performing arts students all the skills that they had, or were learning, that were being used by cast members all over Disney World. It was truly incredible. I look forward to doing that again.
June is the winding down time of the year for teaching, but it is also like a break neck race to the finish to get as many things crammed in as possible before the exams and the clean up and commencement.
This year, my seniors planned a Drama Nite, to showcase their talents and perform for family and friends in our school’s courtyard. It was a great evening. It was a HOT evening with a lot of sunshine and the threat of thunderstorms, but I was immensely proud of the final product and the work my kids did to make it happen. They really pulled together on that project.
Aside from all that, I began rehearsals and planning for a dream show, that I will tell you more about later.
July had us travelling. My husband and I went to Great Britain for three weeks. We were primarily in Wales, Cornwall and a few days in London. It was a wonderful trip. A gift from my parents that meant a great deal to the two of us. The portion of the trip to Cornwall was planned by my husband as he has done the research into the history of his family and discovered that his lineage is entirely from Cornwall. He enjoys research, planning and lists. He’s exceptionally good at them. What we discovered he doesn’t enjoy, is driving on the left-hand side of the road. I, on the other hand, don’t mind it. I really enjoyed driving in Great Britain. I found it quite sensible and easy. The navigation, I left to him. He was exceptional at that.
By the way, I love Cardiff. I really do – and if you do, (or if you haven’t been there, go!), you can show the world how you love Cardiff, buy purchasing items from http://ilovesthediff.com
August saw us visiting family, friends and attending special events. We had four weddings through August and September. It was wonderful to celebrate with special people.
Not everything in our year was happy, of course. Many sad things happened, but the only one I’m going to mention is the passing of our beautiful and loving cat, Willow. He left us in August. That kept us busy for a good while. And we still think of him, daily.
By all accounts, September was pretty normal. There were rehearsals, for that project that was alluded to earlier. There was the return to school and all materials that are associated with that. There were two large purchases – a vehicle for each of us. Original Kids rehearsal starting up and general life. It all seems like a blur. Good thing there’s Google Calendar to help to remind us of what we have done!
October is where life started to ramp up! The Performing Arts kids at my school planned and performed our best Haunted Hallway to date – sold out! Our theme was a graveyard and their characters were the best so far, and so was our transformation of the simple drama room, into a spooky environment. They built a tree, used shadow puppetry and had tombstones, dead leaves and corn husks to help mark the path of our visitors to the event.
We also hosted The Young Americans at our school in October. It was a pretty amazing event. I have seen their work and been a part of the experience in the past, but no one else at my school had. My colleague deserves an immense shout out for her organization of the whole event. She hadn’t been involved in any visit by them to another school before and yet she took the task on and planned the whole thing with style and grace. It was an incredible experience for our school and our kids. I look forward to when we can host them again.
Also in October, my production of Silverwing took to the stage at Original Kids. It was a wonderfully weird little play that the kids completely embraced. They performed beautifully and expertly this adaptation of a Canadian novel, that really was a film adaptation. More playwrites need to learn that taking a novel and just putting into play format does not really make it a play. Usually, it just makes it an awkward film script that needs an editor. Sheesh.
In November I started to get memory posts from Facebook about doing puppet workshops with TAG at Original Kids with Kerry Hishon… so, I just showed up and did more workshops! No, not really. But clearly there’s a theme to how my year goes because right when I was scheduled to do workshops for Kerry this year, my memory feed reminded me that I’d done these sorts of workshops for her in the past. Isn’t that interesting the way life has patterns? Speaking of patterns, in September of 2016, Brock, (that’s my husband) and I, went to see an Opening Night performance of Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers SIX YEARS TO THE DAY from the Preview performance of our life changing production. That is life repeating itself. Ripples and spirals…
December saw me moving stuff – literally – in a moving truck, into The Arts Project to set up for my bucket list production, (that I alluded to earlier) of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer. I saw this show in New York City in 2008 on a trip with Original Kids and I was amazed by it. It has stuck with me and sat in my brain ever since. I have been waiting for the perfect situation to come along so I could direct this play. In July, Brock and I extended our stopover in Dublin, so that I could visit some of the areas where the play is set. We were in a pub that is mentioned in the script and met the owner. She said she used to be friends with the playwright. The first part of December was about set up, final rehearsals and the Opening Gala. The second week was about savouring the whole thing before it disappeared into thin air, and the final weeks of the month were filling time between remembering the sweetness of the process and production and real life. Sure, there was a holiday assembly and a pretty sweet Coffee House in there, plus some Christmassy celebrations and a wedding anniversary, but since the show is set on Christmas Eve… it permeated almost every waking moment of December. It is a production of which I am immensely proud. I am pleased that I had wonderful friends to help me make it a reality.