Monday, January 13, 2014

My life is a comedy act waiting to be discovered.

I promised to give you the comedy details of my first week at rehearsals and I always keep my promises so let's cut out the fat and get to the pudding.

 Let's start with day One:

Let's  title this, "You can call me Lucille Ball."

When I went to our initial meeting I was given a script, but no folder to put the loose papers in. The day of my first real practice I grabbed a used, but empty folder from the cupboard and stuffed the papers in the side pockets thinking that later (I'm always thinking later), I'll punch holes and put it in a better binder...or something. I'd also been advised to bring something to record with to the musical practices. I thought I would use my phone, though I don't actually know how to do that, so trying to think ahead I had a plan b. I asked my son to go find that tape recorder they play with sometimes. Yes, you heard right. I said TAPE RECORDER. Just in case you don't know what that is here is a definition, at least about the tape cassette.

Noun1.cassette tape - a cassette that contains magnetic tapecassette tape - a cassette that contains magnetic tape
cassette - a container that holds a magnetic tape used for recording or playing sound or video
mag tapemagnetic tapetape - memory device consisting of a long thin plastic strip coated with iron oxide; used to record audio or video signals or to store computer information; "he took along a dozen tapes to record the interview"

I don't know where this thing came from, but it has been floating around our house for at least a couple years. It doesn't work so well, but I am a tape recorder fix-a-lot-er so there was no worries. Back in the day I removed more jammed Madonna tapes from my car tape deck than you could La isla Bonita with the material girl herself in a year. Rewind button broken? No problem. Turn it over to the other side and fast-forward a ways, then flip it back over and walla, your back to the beginning of Glenn Medeiros Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You
Won't record? Hold the tape down half way. Or how about twisted ribbon on the wheel, or what to do when your little baby or brother has taken to the tape ribbon like it was some kind of pull string toy and left it in a heap like cow dung on the living room floor. Pencils come in handy then. And if you ever wondered why I had one of my moms kitchen knives in my car, well, they came in handy when I couldn't get that tape out of the deck.

I'm getting off topic. Let me reign myself back in...but while I type I think I'll listen to Madonna's, Like a prayer to keep with the nun theme. Sort of.

So I get there. I look around and see that OTHER people have put a bit more thought into their folders. Several have had their scripts professionally bound. What a good idea. And those that didn't bind them had carefully placed them in sheet protectors and organized them by scene, tabbed and color coded in nice three ring binders.Perhaps it was just my pride that made it difficult to pull out my sons old folder with Science scribbled in seventh grade penmanship across the front, but this really set me back. I was quite embarrassed and wanted to hide all my stuff under my coat which was suddenly sitting on my lap.

When the director asked us to go to scene two, I shifted through my papers and pulled them out only to have three or four extras grab hold and go floating all over the floor. While everyone else spoke their lines, I crawled on hands and knees after runaway scenes three and four that had scattered under chairs and under foot. When I caught those  little naughty papers I spent the next little while trying to get them back in order. When pages are printed front and back I get easily confused. I was lost half the time. When she told me to counter cross and I looked at her blankly, it wasn't just because I wasn't sure what that meant, but also I was on the wrong page. Again. Still.

Then it was time to go over the music. Wait a minute. Where was my music? Oh yeah. They sent it in an email and I hadn't printed it off yet as I was feeling lazy...I mean, I was thinking I would use my phone and just look at the music from the actual attachment. See how environmentally friendly I can be? I reached into my bag to pull my phone out. No phone. I searched my coat pockets. No phone. Crap! Where is my phone? I realized eventually that I'd left it at home. Something I never do, but in my haste had done.

So I had no music and no phone. Everyone around me used their color coded tabs to find the right song. Wanting to look professional I shuffled some more papers around. Actually, I didn't have to pretend. My pages were so messed up I had Maria and the Captain professing their love on one page and on the next page he was blowing his whistle at her as he introduced her to the children. Finally I confessed to the girl next to me that I didn't have any music with me and could I share with her? She was nice enough to share, but I could tell that her binder felt too heavy for her to hold out to me, and she was sniffing and wiping her nose constantly which made me a little worried I would catch whatever she had, but I didn't want to seem ungrateful, so eventually, to spread the love, I began looking at another person's well-organized binder to give her a break.

Now here comes the best part. The director instructed us to pull out our recording devices "now." Wanting to be obedient I complied quickly, pulling out my ancient looking tape recorder only one step up from my kids old Fisher Price Recorder, (man I had fun with that toy). I mean my kids had fun with that toy. I looked around and realized that EVERYONE else was using their fancy dancy iphones. And then there was Becky with her 1990 (maybe, could be older) big black monstrous looking tape recorder taking up her whole lap like a big black metal box of shame.

"Record now!" She said. Just as I pushed on the record and play button the room became eerily silent. The tape made a sickening screechy sound that echoed throughout the room and caught too many peoples attention. It kind of sounded like the tape was being massacred. Almost as horrible as fingernails on a chalkboard.

Side note. Did you know that there are kids out there that don't know what that sounds like? True story. They have white boards at schools nowadays. The idea of fingernails scraping a chalkboard doesn't leave my kids squirming. They just stare at me with blank faces, like, "Yeah? That's the best you got?"

I'm getting old.

I hid my giant recording device under my collection of loose papers. I didn't want anyone to see it. It refused to record of course, so I  had to hold the play/record button down midway the whole time which left me with no free hands and a very red face. I got through it though and the minute we finished I shoved that black contraption into my very large handbag and swore that no amount of wanting to please the director would convince me to use that ever again.

The rest of practice went quite well. I was surrounded by amazing singers. I left feeling so excited to be a part of such a talented cast and I was reminded how much I love this kind of thing and even told a lady as we exited the building how excited I was. She smiled politely at me. She probably remembered me as being the unprepared one. Then I went right to the store and bought a new binder and two packages of sheet protectors. Haven't tabbed it yet, but I think it's a good idea. Then I printed off all my music.

I may not have made a great first impression, but I'm determined to be the black horse in this little production. Or maybe the blue horse, or red. I like red as well.

*In case you are wondering, I tried to listen to the recording of the nuns songs on my recorder. It didn't work so well. It was too slow, too fast, muffled, (probably because I was hiding it under my papers),  horrible and made my kids laugh. Made me laugh too. Then I had my son show me how to record on my phone. No more looking like a fool Mr. T. Or  rather, Mrs. B.


  1. I feel terrible enjoying your trials, but oh man! this was funny....have you considered writing a novel? Kidding! I have read and loved your two novels! Thanks for sharing your talents.

  2. Thanks for reading Shannon!

    I don't mind being the butt of the joke every now and then. :-) Besides, I'm used to it. It keeps me humble, which, by the amount of faux pas I endure, must be deeply needed.