Friday, February 29, 2008

Theater Blogging

We're in tech week for More Fun than Bowling, and it has been interesting. We had barely a month to put the show up as it was and no less than five rehearsals got canceled for weather. I had to miss a sixth, when the roads were still bad, and had several conflict dates to work around. If we didn't have such a seasoned cast and director, I'd be in a panic. But as it was, we've been doing pretty well. So tech week starts . . . and I come down with a high fever, body aches, etc.

I slug through it on Monday and Tuesday morning, but then arrange to have the rest of my week covered until one unavoidable hearing on Friday. My experience has taught me that I really shouldn't be trying to do legal work when my mind is so warped by illness that I have to think hard about simple things, like the mechanics of walking.

I take to my bed Tuesday afternoon and figure I'll sleep it out of my system, waking only for rehearsal. By Wednesday I still can't think straight, and I've got a hacking cough to boot. I stumble through rehearsal, lying on a couch and wishing to die between scenes.

On Thursday I decide to go to the doctor. Good news: I don't have the flu. Bad news: I have some unknown virus with all the characteristics of the flu, without actually having a course of treatment attached. If I'd had the flu, you see, they could have given me Tamiflu - even though it's most effective within 48 hours, she'd have stretched it because we were still within 72 hours. But being that this was some flu-like virus NOS, the doctor could only offer me prescription cough medicine and a little advice on how to tweak my ibuprofen/acetaminophen concoction to best reduce the fever. Which is probably going to last another two days or so.

We open tonight. . . .

I am feeling better, based primarily on the tweaks she geve me for my fever-reducing meds. But I'm still a little worried. At one point I have to laugh hysterically at a story Vicki tells me, and I haven't figured out how to do that yet without hacking up a lung.

However, you should come see the show:

1) The script is hilarious
2) Vicki and Matt do an awesome job
3) You can make bets on whether I can pull off the laugh without coughing all over the audience or other cast members (My money is on "no" at the moment)
4) You can watch Matt's face as he has to kiss me, knowing I'm a germ minefield. (Do they make Purell lip gloss?)
5) You can try to guess where all the stuff in the background came from, and what in the h*ll it is supposed to be. (We're doing this very minimally and conceptually, but I have a feeling that's a possible audience reaction.)
6) It is set in the eighties. Yep, high-waisted, big-haired fashion. For the girls, at least. We've put some serious thought into this: We had to teach Elise (she's a teenager) how to french-cuff her jeans and try to explain what a "banana comb" is. I ran out of hairspray doing my hair for tech week and need to make an emergency run this afternoon. We debated the precise date of the invention of the "scrunchie" - only to have the question definitively answered by referring to "Heathers." Then we had to explain to Elise what "Heathers" was. Oh, and I got to show her how to cut up her sweatshirt, though I still think she needs to wash it to get the edges to curl up.
7) My favorite line (Matt's): "He rose several times, gasping for breath an yelling at [his dog] Five to "FETCH HELP! FETCH HELP!" . . . and then he drowned with Five paddling in a circle around him with little sticks in her mouth. Obviously she misunderstood." My second favorite line (Vicki's, delivered as a completely serious assessment of bowling): "It's not exhilerating like darts or horseshoes." Yes, I have an odd sense of humor.
8) You can base a drinking game on the word "bowling". Oh, and it has been pointed out to me that the logo on the back of the shirts looks like the bowling pin is farting. So if fart jokes make you giggle, by all means come on down.
9) Vicki's monologue about dating a guy from the Duck Hollow Vo-Tech. Seriously funny.
10) There will be drinking afterwards, as usual. Tonight I might call Ellen Stevenson and try to coordinate with City Circle's cast - their big fundraiser is at the Englert. If you're in the mood for something fancy this evening, check it out.

PS - have I mentioned it is a seriously good script, and there are a bunch of excellent performances despite the challenges?

More Fun Than Bowling
by Stephen Dietz
directed by Rachael Lindhart
assistant-directed by Gerry Roe
February 29, March 1, 7, 8 at 8:00 pm
Arts a la Carte, at Old Brick Annex 20 E. Market Street Iowa City

A hilarious comedy that shows that life (and death) is a lot like bowling. Jake owns the bowling alley in a small Midwestern town. He is sitting on a hilltop where two of his three wives are buried. Lois was zapped by lightning while carrying a bowling trophy in a thunderstorm and Loretta was killed by a ball return machine where he comes to ruminate. In his younger days he was a promising concert musician but a foul tip baseball broke his fingers which subsequently healed into a perfect bowler’s grip. Jake replays the key frames of his life and, from time to time, is visited by his daughter Molly who has become adept at talking women into marrying her father for love and free lane time. But who is that nattily dressed man with dark glasses and a revolver lurking nearby?

A Circle Full of Stars
A Gala Event featuring the City Circle Orchestra
and an All-Star Line-up of Vocalists
One Night Only, Leap Year Evening
8 pm February 29
Englert Civic Theatre
Iowa City

Prices: $45, 35, 25 (reserved seats). Special Premium Seating (including champagne reception before the show and mention in the event Playbill): $100. Contact for tickets or call 541-2980.

Our first ever gala benefit featuring our beloved orchestra center stage, this evening promises the best we have to offer in musical theater, with highlights from our past ten seasons as well as songs from shows we hope to bring to the stage in the future. All heard with full orchestration from the Englert stage with special guests from our musical community!

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