Friday, February 26, 2010

Most Embarrassing Moment

I was working with some journalism kids today and they were practicing their interviewing questions on me. One of the questions was "what was your most embarrassing moment?"

If it's the "most embarrassing moment," it means that it was pretty embarrassing...

I'm not telling.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Audience Behavior

When one performs in a variety of places for a variety of ages, one notices the little things that get neglected, such as remembering to have manners during a show. This is called Good Audience Behavior. Good Audience Behavior boils down to one thing: Do not become a distraction to the performers or the people around you. Sadly, more and more productions must give a Good Audience Behavior speech before the curtain rises. Lest "Do not become a distraction..." is not quite understood, here are further guidelines:
1) Turn off your cell phone. Or leave it in the car. Do not look at it when it vibrates to see who it is. Do NOT excuse yourself "quietly" to the foyer or other area just to answer the phone. If you are waiting for a very important call, don't attend the performance. People used to survive for several hours at a time without being near a phone (or checking Facebook). We can do it again. And if you forget to turn off the cell and it rings, turn it off--just push the volume button to make it go quiet and once the call gets sent to voice mail, you can turn off your phone; do not answer it.
2) Sit quietly. Talking to the person next to you, even if you're whispering, is a distraction.
3) If you are not interested in the show--maybe you were roped into coming or maybe it's boring--tough it out. Do not start talking or playing with your cell phone or Nintendo DS. Other people want to be there--don't be distracting.
4) If you must exit or walk by (perhaps it's an outdoor performance), do NOT walk between the audience and the performers. Cling to the edges of the group and go behind the audience, even if it means walking a bit further, even if it means getting off the sidewalk.

If you take your child to a play, you need to be in charge:
1) Sit next to your child. If you have a group of children with you, sit where you can easily reach any of them and have the most rambunctious child sit right next to you. Shushing a child over the tops of three or four children is distracting to everyone around you.
2) Keep your child seated. They should not be running around just because the show is in a gym or in the library. Especially, do not let them play on the stage or the stage area before, during or after a performance. If you know your child may have a problem sitting still, sit in the back, near an exit.
3) Kids get excited during a play but allowing them to get "into it" by yelling things out is a distraction. If the play is an audience-participation play, listen to the instructions. There may be times to yell things out and times NOT to.

If you're in charge of a large group of kids:
1) Don't leave the area just because the kids seem focused on the play. This is not the time for a meeting in the next room.
2) Staff members should be spread throughout the audience, not in one spot.
3) Don't talk to other staff members even in the back of the room; you can be heard. It's distracting.
4) Your most active children should be next to an adult and probably not in the front row.
5) The children will get excited. If they do not see you watching them, their noise/wiggly level will increase. If you don't stop them quickly, the level will get to be monstrous. The performers should not have to stop performing just to shush the children.
6) So sorry, but don't watch the show, watch the kids.

1) Laugh out loud when the play is funny. Enjoy it. It gives the performers more energy.
2) Applaud at the conclusion of the show. I don't care what the age of the performers--two, teen, senior, and everything in between--applaud. It is DIFFICULT work getting in front of a group of strangers and performing! With shows such as America's Got Talent, we've become a bit too critical, thinking everyone has to be Broadway, Hollywood or Vegas material to be appreciated. Not so. Applaud because of the efforts of the performers. Applaud because you saw a live performance. Applaud because you love the playwright. Applaud because the performance was pretty dang good for being a high school (or whatever) production. If you absolutely hated the performance and you didn't leave at intermission, that would be your fault--applaud politely.

Lots of information here but again it boils down to one thing...wait a minute, two things:
1) Don't become a distraction.
2) Enjoy it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Expect the Unexpected When You Do Mime

Just a silly little memory: I was off to do a mime show and my husband glances up from whatever he was reading and comments, "My wife is a painted lady."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Fine Art of Eating One Food at a Time and the Problems It Causes

I love eating a meal, a good meal, such as served at lunch or dinner. You'll notice it was served, not made by me. If I make a "meal" it usually consists of one item--spaghetti, chili, soup, that kind of thing, not a variety of delectable vegetables and meats on a plate. But when I have a plate of food in front of me, I eat all of one item at a time because I "save the best for last"--which always changes depending what I'm in the mood for. Even as a child, I ate one item at a time before moving to the next food.

The problems associated with such eating may not be obvious. As a child, I ran the risk of a sibling or parent leaning over my plate and spearing a delicious morsel I was saving and eating it because they thought I didn't want it. My oldest sister once downed my glass of cold milk that I was saving for the very end that night; I was going to swallow the cool refreshment as the last lingering flavor on my taste buds.

I haven't been too worried about my mono-eating as an adult. I knew how to wield a fork if I had to. But the funniest problem I had by eating this way was at a luncheon board meeting I attended. Two of the people on the board were also the ones catering the luncheon. Oh my goodness, my plate had SALMON on it--I love salmon, broiled or baked with butter and spices. Oh, yeah, that was going to be THE last thing I savored that day. So, I went through my salad and had just started in on the veggies, when the serious-about-the-business-and-oh-so-attentive caterer asked me if the salmon was okay. I assured him I was saving it for last. I went through my veggies, took a sip of water and again the caterer, now rather worried for his reputation I suppose, told me if the salmon wasn't good, he would be happy to bring me something else. His hand was even inching towards my plate to take it away! (My fork was in the ready position). In spite of the meeting already in progress, I whispered to him in the most urgent way I could--my salmon was on the line after all--that I am 1) a mono-eater; 2) I ALWAYS save the best for last; 3) I LOVE salmon; and 4) DON'T TOUCH MY SALMON. All in a whisper, you understand. Perhaps brandishing the fork got my message across...okay, I didn't really brandish the fork but I leaned forward to protect my plate and gobbled up the salmon before anyone could reach over and take it.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Deadlines get me nervous. I feel myself start to panic when deadlines draw near. I'm not an absolute procrastinator but there are times I put off doing one thing to be able to complete something else, such as, perhaps I'd like to clean the house that day so there's no longer a foul odor, or maybe I want to have three meals in the day where I actually sit down to eat them. Point being, I try to pace myself in all the tasks that I know have deadlines coming up. It just never works. At the end of last summer, I was already thinking of a new children's play to write for summer 2010. One would think I've had a leisurely six months to plod along writing, right? Well, I got the outline ready...the rest of the play ought to be due about NOW! Is it done? No. But I hate plodding! If I have a job to do, I just like completing the whole thing in one fell swoop when possible. I even eat that way--one food at a time; I complete the mashed potatoes then I move on to the green beans (another day, I'll have to tell you an amusing story about that habit). I hate eating--or completing projects--piecemeal. That's why when I go to sew an outfit, I need to be able to finish it within the day or it drives me crazy. (I've never come across a sewing project that lasts a day, which could account for me being crazy. Dang it.) Same thing happens when writing a play, reading a book, de-cluttering the house. That could be why I'm often up late, too. Perhaps between deadlines and life, I could learn patience (Ha!).

Is posting on a blog procrastinating?

(Next time on Simply Marian, we'll explore the fine art of eating one food at a time and the problems it causes.)