Monday, March 30, 2009

FAQ #3 Are you really a princess?

Usually asked when we're performing Princess on a Pea, the answer is (non-technically speaking) YES!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Show Must Go On...two thoughts

Aa! A year or so ago we performed a murder mystery in an art gallery. During the show, I bumped against a glass display shelf and it started to go down. Mind you, this is in an art gallery and there's ART on this display shelf. I caught the shelf but not the clay creation on top which fell onto the clay creation on the floor. We bought those clay creations. Last night we did the same show in a living room. This time it was my husband and acting partner who performed the boo-boo: he brushed against someone's wine glass. Red wine on a white carpet. Dang it. We profusely apologized AFTER the shows (and offered to pay for damages), because the shows had to go on & did.

"The Show Must Go On" is not necessarily true in business. This was a discussion at a business class I was helping to teach and the subject was the ideal customer. There are those people who are the opposite of your ideal customer. What they want makes you look bad. For us it was a singing telegram for a 2-year-old. In trying to accommodate the customer, we came off stinking...and we happen to be good at what we do. Another customer hired us to perform on the bottom deck of a boat. The walled staircase came right through the center of the area--we could only perform to 1/2 the audience at a time...again, we looked BAD! If you're in business, remember that the customer may "always be right" but not right for you and your business; the show shouldn't go on for a bad match.

Tip: Apparently, if you pour white wine onto the spilled red wine and top it with salt, the red wine doesn't cause a stain. Or you can use club soda and baking soda. We don't drink but I wonder if that would work for something like cranberry juice.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

FAQ #2 Can you do the box?

And how! I can do it fast, slow, and medium speed. I can make it tump over. I can make it surround me or surround an audience. I can shrink it, escape from it, or remain trapped forever. I can have a box with a top or open at the top. I can make a gift box and pull something neat out of it and I can build one the size of a small house. I can teach it to 20 people and have them create a box that surrounds just them. Boxes, real or mimed, are just food for the imagination.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FAQ #1: Do you get nervous before a performance?

Always. Right before and right after, but never during (as long as I've rehearsed enough).

Performer's Tip for the Day: Keep your brain engaged after a performance

After a performance, I tend to be exhausted and relieved. Sometimes my brain goes out-of-gear. Don't do it. Don't fall into that trap. Recently, I finished a singing telegram (one wouldn't think that a 5-min singing tele would be an exhausting thing but it is)--last one for the day--and I jumped in my car to head home. I must have disengaged my brain because I started going the wrong way on a one way street, and I ran a red light turning left. Kudos to the drivers of McMinnville for avoiding my brainless self. It must have been my evil twin, taking over my body.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Blog's Focus

I'm supposed to be writing about writing and performing. I've now talked about pets in two long posts. Fine. Let's see:
*I renamed my theater book to Speak Up, Speak Out, Show Your Stuff: Easy Theater Activities to Improve Children's Speaking and Creative Abilities.
I'm editing it. I'll probably change the name, too.
*I didn't perform this past week, but on Friday, I will.
*The kids in my after-school class did perform this past week. They did great. Parents impressed.
*I'm reading Writer Mama by Christina Katz. Good book. Learning lots. Sold an article because of her tips.

Okay, good then. I've brought the blog back on focus.

And the Dog Takes Off, Too. And While We're Talking about Pets...

Not to be out done by the cat, Cute, one of our outdoor dogs, broke her chain and went racing through the neighbors' fields after dark this evening. Cute is black. Hard to see in the dark. We weren't worried or heart sick this time. Frustrated would be a better word. Okay, maybe a tad worried--not for the dog but for the chickens she might have chased and caught. I don't think our neighbors have chickens any more though. So we waited and she came back promptly--9 p.m. compared to Bobcat's 5:20 a.m.

And while we're on the subject of pets: my 12 yo wanted to buy her own pet. She looked into corn snakes and lizards. I don't know why the reptiles but that's what she wanted. She finally decided on a bearded dragon. We went to the store to buy the cage set up and had everything in the basket but the light. The bulb cost $80! We put everything back and went to craigslist to see what was available. We also went to and found more information than we had before. Then we returned to the pet store to gain more knowledge. Those bearded dragons have to eat crickets every day and not the ones you catch in your field; no, you must buy the non-disease carrying crickets at the pet store and the crickets need to be gut-loaded, which means they're being fed a special diet high in vitamins and minerals so they will be of nutritional value to the bearded dragon, because crickets don't have nutritional value. And those blasted crickets are 15 cents each and a young beardie needs six per day and you have to have a container to hold the crickets and you have to buy the special food for the crickets so they'll be nutritionally valuable to the dragon. And the crickets are just a side note for food for the bearded dragon. I have no idea how bearded dragons survive in the wild, eating non-nutritional, disease-laden crickets. If we want one in the house, we'll move to Australia and it can catch it's own food.

My 12 yo is just going to get another Tamagotchi or two, this time with my enthusiastic approval.

(Hats off to those of yo
u keeping bearded dragons and other cool pets like that)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bobcat's Outdoor Adventure

Once upon a time there was a cat named Zorro the Phantom Bobcat because of the black marking on the right side of her face, and her bobbed tail. Her family called her Bobcat for short. Sometimes they just called her Kitty because she was so small and delicate...

So, our cats are indoor cats. We live on a busy road and we'd lost four cats to that road before we decided to never own cats again. But that vow didn't last so the next cute kittens that came into our house became indoor cats only.

Bobcat came to us three years ago. She was the runt of the litter and full of personality. She liked to go adventuring in the garage (and she's a pretty good mouser, too, leaves them on the steps to the garage--ick!). We ALWAYS make sure the door to the backyard is closed when we let her into the garage. You know where this is going - we let her into the garage at 9 p.m. and I went to let her back into the house at midnight but no Bobcat. The garage door was open. This happened to be a nice spring night for Oregon, no rain. We called and looked until 1 a.m. (we live out in the country, sort of, so we weren't disturbing neighbors), then stayed up listening for her until 2 a.m.. We were scared and heart sick. Not only do we have the Road in front of our house, we also have Owls which could easily snatch our runty Bobcat; and Foxes in the field; Skunks, Racoons, and Dogs live in the vicinity, too. Bobcat would have taken them on more than likely. She acts so big and bossy.

Happy ending though: I saw Bobcat dashing for the garage at 5:20 a.m. (after my nap of three hours). I dashed for the garage too. By the time I got to the backyard door, Bobcat circumvented the junk in the garage and was already in the house. We allowed her to sleep with us...although, I had second thoughts when she tried to bite my toes. Stupid cat.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scripts, Picture Books, and Dialogue.

Since most of my writing is for turning out scripts, I'm used to writing nothing but dialogue. As a director/writer I see the play in my head, including the set. Sometimes it's hard to switch to narrative such as needed for stories. I can get the conversations going between the princess and the dragon, for instance, but I forget to describe the surroundings, to tell the story. I guess I figure everyone is seeing the story "play" in their heads. I better practice not writing dialogue. *sigh*...and if you're having trouble with dialogue, read (and write?) lots of plays.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Worst Places for Singing Telegrams

Don't do a singing telegram at the Oregon state capitol. Apparently the powers that be won't let you come in if you're there to do a singing telegram. A certain representative's birthday was last week and his team wanted to surprise him. We decided on the female pirate to tease the (relatively) young representative. I had my contact make sure latex balloons were allowed in the capitol (our treated balloons stay up for a week or more; it would have been awful had I accidently released one in the rotunda--tempting, but no). As it turns out, the latex balloons could enter the capitol but I couldn't. My contact and a couple of his team members videoed my schtick on the capitol steps. It went well I think. I hope the Representative enjoyed the tiny me singing to him. So remember, the state capitol is too dignified for happy things.

You also have to watch out for banks. I suppose the people in banks have good reason; they have to be alert for suspicious characters. And when doing a singing telegram, we really do look strange. Anyway, my husband recently performed four singing telegrams at banks. Could the people in the banks try harder to avoid looking at him? The people receiving the singing telegrams were laughing but their cohorts acted as if they were very--and I mean, very--busy. To be fair though, the employees of two out of four banks had senses of humor. One branch was inside a grocery store--those employees had a good time, and the other was a regular branch filled with good-natured employees. I may have to take my business there; I like happy people.

Although most restaurants don't have a problem with singing telegrams, be cautious with those that have "atmosphere." Olive Garden once told my husband to be quieter. He was disturbing those around him. Um, yes, that would be the point. And it's not like a singing telegram lasts 20 minutes or longer (3-5 minutes). Of course, I was once doing a singing telegram in the foyer of Olive Garden (Friday night, very crowded) and the employees didn't seem to mind then. Maybe it was too crowded to actually reach me. (And for the record, we love eating at Olive Garden).

Another bad place for singing telegrams is at children's play places, and the singing telegram is for a child. Yes, we have done singing telegrams for kids--it's not the best idea. I did it at a party at a playground. The child and his friends wanted to...PLAY. We did it for a 2-year-old--bad mistake--at a children's museum. The 2-year-old and the little friends cried. They also wanted to go PLAY. (Doing a singing telegram for young children only makes the performer look bad--avoid that. We now do them for 16 and up, only).

That would be the top four places where one should not perform singing telegrams. And there are exceptions to everything, of course. But basically, there you have it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Children's script...edited rough draft

Yay! I managed to edit my newest script once--I deleted some of the lines that needed to go to make the script fit the necessary running time better. Now I have about two more edits to go--I need to add some lines in some areas, count lines for some of the characters, and then I need to get the tunes just right for the three songs in the play. But for now, I got through one edit.