Sidereal ramblings

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Graduation weekend

Our high school graduation is tomorrow. Lots of kids holding graduation parties this weekend. I attended seven today. Two last night. I think five tomorrow. If that seems like a lot, you don't know me well enough. That's about half of what I usually get invited to. This year was a light year for invites. I was a bit surprised about that at first. I felt that I was really close to this particular class, but then when I thought about it, I realized I was extremely close to just a handful of kids in the class, and not so much to the others. In fact, I kind of wonder if some of the others resent my closeness with my drama/speech kids. Do I favor them a little bit? Not necessarily in terms of grades or anything, but I definitely spend more time with them.

Having fewer parties to go to today actually worked out well for me in a couple of ways. I drove a bit less than usual -- put on about 80 miles today. And I managed to arrange the timing so that I could spend longer with my special kids. I usually spend about half an hour at most at any graduation party; sometimes I'm in and out in about ten minutes. (In past years, I can remember going to upwards of 12 in a single day.) I spent nearly an hour and a half with one of my drama girls (see Odd Couple post below if you're curious) and about two hours at the home of another.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lonely Day

Today was one of those days when I had very little human contact. Those who know me well know that those aren't unusual, even if they don't happen all that often. Sure, I spent about 20-25 minutes this morning talking on the phone with a U.S. senate candidate. But the only time I left the house was to get lunch, which involved giving an order, and to go to the movies, and I talked to the cashier at the theatre (one of my students) for a few seconds. That's it. Normally, I relish these days, but today felt a little bit...lonely.

I had a couple of goals today. One was blocking the entire play I'm directing this summer. The other was to read at least one of the two stacks of papers I brought home to grade this weekend. I got through half the play; I'm up to the end of Act I. I didn't touch the homework papers. Fortunately, there's an extra day this weekend to get it done. I watched a lot of TV and read something like nine comics. Perhaps I can be more productive tomorrow. I did clean up the living room a bit, though, so I guess that's something.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Odd Couple

I don't normally direct a spring play at the high school. It's much harder to work around spring sports schedules than fall ones (don't ask why -- just accept it), and I really kind of like having the last couple of months of school extra-curricular-free. However, I've done it once before, and I did one this year as well. I have a couple of girls who are amazing, and both of whom are headed off to college to major in theatre and intend on pursuing some type of career in it, so I thought I had to do something special for them. We did the female version of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, because it had a small cast and two very strong female roles. We spent five weeks in rehearsal -- about a week less than normal -- because time was tight, and because I knew the cast I'd chosen could handle it. It was tough going in -- our dress rehearsal the night before opening was pretty bad -- but the cast pulled it together and did three good performances last weekend. My leads, pictured above, were wonderful, as I knew they would be. I had some doubts about some of the other, minor characters, but they came through. I've been bemoaning the lack of support our community gives to the arts, though. For three performances, we barely had over 100 people in the audience -- total. No one from the school board was there. No one from the administration was there (well, the high school principal came on Friday night, but left at intermission to go to a track meet). We had some great press prior to the show: the Fairmont newspaper ran an article on us, and the local Martin County weekly ran a front page photo and article (that I'd written) about the show. And yet the audiences just weren't there. I felt disappointed in my community and bad for my kids. To their credit, they didn't let it get to them, and performed like they would have (I imagine) for a full house. It was a great show; it's too bad more people didn't see it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Summer Gig

Last summer, I took a bunch of coursework to finish my master's degree. The summer of 2006 is somehow a blur. The three summers before that I acted in my local community theatre, who, unfortunately, have jettisoned their summer comedies in favor of producing two musicals in the summer, which counts me out. So, figuring I needed something to do this summer to keep busy and keep my mind off my impending depression, I "applied" for and was hired to direct the summer community theatre play down in Rushford. The play they're producing is called The Sensuous Senator, and is a pretty funny farce. A lot of it (the humor) is going to depend on timing and blocking. I'm thinking it should be fun. Auditions were held last weekend. For a play with five female roles (one is so small it's basically a cameo, and could easily be doubled if necessary) and four male roles, I had five females and three males audition. I was, needless to say, a bit disappointed in that turnout. The RASA (Rushford's arts group) people (who accounted for about half the auditioneers) didn't seem too surprised. It's always like this, they told me, hard to get people to audition. Okay, but we're still short at least one actor for putting on the show. We'll see what happens from here. They thought they might be able to recruit someone.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Emotional Dreams

I've had several dreams lately that have made a big impression on me. I don't remember the content of the dreams, and in fact, didn't really remember them when I awoke. What happened was that I woke up with a overwhelming sense of sadness, melancholy, or nostalgia. Somehow the feelings that I had bubbled up from my subconscious. Those dreams (again, ones that I don't even remember) affected my emotions a great deal. I think part of it is that I've been feeling rather sad lately about various things going on in my life. I've been submerging those feelings, trying not to think about the stuff that's happening (or is about to happen) that's really making me feel depressed. In trying to ignore it -- or at least keep it out of my conscious mind -- it's affected my nighttime, sleeping mind. It's created some weird feelings. I've woken up with these very strong emotional reactions to things that I hadn't been consciously thinking about.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Iron Man

I've never been a huge fan of the Iron Man Marvel comics character, but I've never really disliked him either. I've been an on-and-off reader of the series since the '70s, though it's been awhile now since I've read it. That being said, I was really looking forward to the new movie. All the previews looked really good. And the movie did not disappoint. This may be the best movie based on a Marvel character yet (and I'm a big fan of the first Spider-man flick and the X-Men movies). It may be because Iron Man is not the iconic type of character that Superman, Batman, or Spider-man is (or Wolverine, for that matter), but there was never a moment while I was watching the movie when I thought, "Robert Downey is doing a good job acting as Tony Stark." On the contrary, I always felt that was Tony Stark up there on the screen. Nicely done.

If anyone hasn't seen the movie yet, and still intends to, I counsel sticking through the credits to see the "extra" scene tacked on at the end. For the true comics fan, it's well worth it. Given what happens in the movie, I figured out what that little scene would contain (I'd heard there was one, but I generally sit through credits anyway), but was pleased to see the particular actor representing the character in that scene. 'Nuff said.

Speaking of credits, like all Marvel movies, the credit sequence is really horrible. Thankfully, they left it until the end of the movie instead of the beginning this time.