Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Minnesota Memories Pt II


On Thursday we dawdle awake. It's weird not to be with Lilo, but I have to admit I enjoyed sleeping in for four days!
It is Opening night! We are put to work after a long Kaffeclatcsh on the porch, where we admired the lake views. We walk over to Gail's house laden with show related goodies for the cast party that night, Tiger Sundae fixings, gummy worms and buns for our Tendermaids. Yep, it's that kind of a party.
I am slicing the buns when E, the director walks in, she ignores me completely, and tells Joan, Gail and Tom that she is going home due to extreme exhaustion... did I mention this was opening night? Joan is floored. E cheerily walks out... on the show. There is now a damper on our party prep. We wonder what the problem is. She is a bit of a Jeckyll-y Hyde, as she is cheery and sweet to her cast, but a raving meanie to Joan. We decide she's either panicky or nuts.
We decide to go to lunch at the Elbow Room, i.e. Garrison Keillor's Chatterbox Cafe, then we stop at the Salvation Army for a treasure hunt. T and J run into a pair of fans of the show, one of whom turn's out to be Marion Ross' sister!
WE drop Joan off to get ready and T and I continue to go thrifting until he is felled by the overweening smell of scented candles.
We have a pre-show dinner at The Green Mill, with Tom B. We are terribly overdressed, but we hoist a cocktail and a cheer for opening.
"Tales of Two Counties" opened at The Marion Ross Performing Arts center October 16th 2008. The place is packed.
T has to give the pre show pep talk, extempore, since the director isn't there to do it.
The stories are all familiar to the audience members and there are a lot of nods and whispers and comments about the stories. The show is very site-specific, but the stories and the songs are universal..
Some of the singing is great, some is sincere. It works in the context of them being "Real" people. I find the staging a little silly, grown men and women making gestures that belong in a second grade recital. The director didn't trust the script to be compelling enough, which was a mistake, but luckily they mostly speak normally and that really works. And there is no first act blackout which leaves the audience in their seats not knowing that it's over.
T gets praised in a taciturn way, since no one is effusive in Albert Lea, but we eventually suss out that the crowd really liked it.
We retire to Gail's for celebratory ice cream Tiger Sundaes. (I don't know if I've mentioned the cold yet.)
Feels like a quiet success.

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