Tag Archives: college

Into the Woods: So Happy

We went and saw an early screening of Into the Woods the other day. When did we start hearing about this movie being made? A couple years ago? The first whisperings. Then you start hearing casting and concepts. What songs will they cut? What plot lines will they change? I remember there was rumor of one big change – which then apparently “fell through” because of “public outrage.” (I still think it was a publicity stunt.)

This show is so personal, to both Drew and me. Here’s the background: back in college, my two best friends and I decided we wanted to produce the show. We were young and reckless, and there was this student “production” group on campus, Studio 301, that at the time, was basically a campus organization that anyone could just jump on and do whatever show they wanted. (I actually think it was through Studio 301 that had presented Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb!)

So to make a long story short, we got together, got some early funding, got the royalties, got a production team, got a faculty advisor, got a space, got a cast, got some business cards to pass out to promote the show…and put on Into the Woods in the spring of 2005. I directed, and my friends played Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.

Here’s the set – this is Wyatt Pavilion, the cattle show ring turned thrust stage.

woods set

 

I literally still have a piece of the story book writing from the wall.

When we were doing auditions in the fall of 2004, Drew (then just a friend of mine) came in to audition for the part of Milky White, the cow. We hadn’t planned on casting a person – it just hadn’t occurred to any of us – and I think we were just going to use a plaster cow that we were pretty sure was in prop storage underneath the theatre department. But he’s a genius and so the musical director and I went with it. He played Milky White, and also Little Red’s Granny, which I actually still think was hilarious, because the costume designer really made no attempt to make him look old, or like a woman.

Drew is very creative, and he makes a lot of choices. I think having the cow be more a character and less of a prop actually adds a lot to the show. In our case, the cow did things like eat flowers, eat Cinderella’s hair at one point, and offer to play Clue with his bff, Jack.

milky white

(On a completely unrelated note, here’s a tumblr of Low Budget Milky Whites. Completely unrelated.)

(Also – I so wish that cameras were better quality back then, that long long nine years ago. I took all these pictures with my digital camera, but it just didn’t capture movement well without the flash, and so most of the pictures are super blurry, and also far away, since I was running around in the house while taking these. I treasure them anyway.)

Anyway, by the time we started rehearsals, Drew and I were dating, which I think is partly why I thought all his choices were hilarious. So yeah, this show has a lot of emotion and memory attached to it for both of us.

Which is why we were both excited and scared to go see the screening. I mean, this movie could have gone really wrong.

But it didn’t! I am happy to say that we both liked it and I think that Rob Marshall and Disney did a good job of adapting it. I miss some of the songs they cut out – but I get why they did. I think the edits are good, and the Baker’s story is fleshed out in an interesting way you don’t really get onstage. It’s funny, poignant, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. The parenting themes hit me harder than they have in the past, maybe because I haven’t seen a production in awhile, just listened to it, and it’s not the same. At any rate, I’m a big fan, and can’t wait to watch it again.

Happy now, happy hence, happy ever after!

(Oh, and yes, Tug was a decent Milky White, but I mean, she was no Drew…)

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Filed under Drew, Memoir, Sentiment, Theatre

tbt: Theatre Obsessions

I remember this one time, in my sophomore year of college, there was this production of Falsettos. I wasn’t working on the show but I had seen it a couple times – I don’t think we ever ran a show longer than two weekends, but I had to go to a tech rehearsal for a class. I had become obsessed with the show…an obsession that’s lasted for the next decade.

It was a Sunday night, closing night of Falsettos. I wanted to go see it one more time. But there was another show closing that weekend – a one-man show by another student. I’ll call him Ivan. The show was called Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! Good gravy.

I had promised the stage manager of the show, a friend of mine and someone I looked up to, that I would come see his show that night. But by late afternoon I was just lying on the floor of our apartment, tormented because I wanted to take my very last opportunity to see Falsettos. I was completely torn. I was a little over-dramatic.

The moral twin of my Gemini sensibility must have been on duty that night, because I went to Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! But I regretted it almost immediately. I mean, it was just ridiculous. At intermission, I left and went down the street to Falsettos, where I snuck into the back. Man, that’s a good show.

The thing about theatre is that if you love something, there really isn’t a way to just save it and rewatch it. Even a bootleg version of something isn’t the same as being there. And I know there’s bad theatre. I have seen bad theatre. I have peeked at my phone to see how much longer this act could possibly be. I have left things at intermission (not often, but I’ve done it). I’ve seen things out of an obligation and not necessarily out of joy.

But then there are the things that you can’t get enough of. When I saw Wicked for the first time (cheesy example, I know), it was the first time in years and years of shows that the curtain call ended, the lights came up, and I was like, “Okay, reset everything, I will watch this all again from the beginning RIGHT NOW.”

I went years without having that feeling about a show. But I am having it again. Right now. (This is not a marketing ploy.)

My work is currently presenting Sweeney Todd. I love Sweeney Todd. It’s one of my favorite musicals. This particular production has something extra. It’s addictive. I can’t stop watching it. It has been running for the last three weeks, and closes this Sunday. I have seen it five times so far, which is already two times more than I have seen any other work show. I saw it yesterday and again today. I am sitting here debating whether I should go back for the closing performance on Sunday night. The only reason I’m not sprawled out on the carpet, conflicted over my decision, is that I have a couple days to work it out. If I don’t go, I will never see this particular production, with this particular cast and set and direction again. But maybe the five times I’ve gone should be enough.

This time, instead of missing out on a student-written one-man show, I would be missing out on precious weekend time with my family. I would be driving all the way down the peninsula a whole extra time. But I would be helping out by filling a seat, and I would be getting one more chance to bask in the pure joy that I experience while watching a show about an insane guy who kills people, and his girlfriend who bakes them into pies. “God That’s Good.”

I think I might have my answer.

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Filed under Awesome, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Theatre, Work

Throwback Thursday: Graduation

Graduate college  
Become an Adult  
Fight with technology  
Get up super early  

30-year-old Me laughs right in 22-year-old Me’s face.

tbt graduation
So cute. Enjoy it (everything) while you can, 22-year-old Me!

 

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Filed under Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Technology, Writing

Throwback Thursday: Memoir

I pulled this gem off my old LiveJournal. I’m actually surprised (but very grateful) that I still remember the password.

This is from August 5, 2005. I’m really working hard to restrain from editing. (Oh, and as far as I can tell, the title means nothing but was probably the angstiest word in the song I was listening to at that exact moment.) Enjoy!

==

COLLAPSE

I have been at UC Davis for three years, and the number of things that I have exclaimed “Yes, let’s do that!” and then never done is astounding. Here is a brief list of examples:

1. Run through the maize maze (Woodland?) in the fall.
2. Gone, with any sort of regularity, to the Farmer’s Market. (And “But it’s SATURDAY MORNING” is no longer an excuse, as they have Wednesday evening FMs for which I know I am awake.)
3. Mini-golfing…Scandia…Sacramento…wherever.
4. The Davis Public Library: If I’m missin The Babysitters Club, they’re only a couple blocks away.
5. The MU Games Area.

Until tonight.

A bunch of us went to go bowling. It’s cheap, it’s accessible, it’s fun, it’s not too athletic (heaven forbid we do something cardio), and we all claimed to be bad at it. (Which was a huge lie, be careful of Drew, he will try to hustle you, but he’s bad at hustling.)

As far as I can see, bowling is bowling (*unless it’s $1.35/game and $.85/shoes*) and I thought it was all going to be very…familiar. Bowling. Ugly shoes and socks with shorts (what else could possibly be hotter?), and people watching your back, golf clapping for you whenever you turn back around but secretly chanting “gutter ball!” to themselves.

HOWEVER, UC Davis, well-known for several things, cows and a ginormous library being not the least of them, also features a “Rockin’ Bowl” to put all other “Rockin’ Bowl”s to shame.*

*Note: Writer has never actually been to any Rockin’ Bowls, nor does she know whether the term is “Rockin’ Bowl” or “Rock & Bowl,” but frankly, neither does she particularly care, and if you are still reading this, maybe you should just marry editing if you love it so much.*

So it seems to me that “Rockin’ Bowl” is made up of 4 main components. I will go through these for anyone who is unlucky enough to have never experienced the majesty.

#1. The music. Already loud when you walk in, and louder when you descend into the bowling pit, I mean area, it is turned up by a kid who can’t be older than 18 who tight-rope-walks down someone’s gutter to crank up the volume on the speakers sitting mid-lane. The number of times this exchange occurred is more than I want to remember:

*something unimportant*
“What?”
*repeat something unimportant*
“What?”
*repeat something unimportant, again, and louder, and also in a slightly embarrassed tone*
“What?”
“Never mind, it wasn’t that funny.”
“WHAT?”
“NEVER MIND!”

Then both parties would pretend to have heard the other, and that bit of conversation would be over.

Oh the glory.

#2. The music videos. Four large projection screens plummet from the heavens, and for the next…I don’t know how long it lasts. From then on, music videos are played on these screens. Music videos for songs whose names I only vaguely recognize. Music videos that are not nearly as clever as Britney Spears’ “Lucky” or Blues Traveler’s “Run-Around.” Music videos with angsty-looking men whose voices remind me sort of Phish, except I’m not thinking of these men as fondly as I think of Phish.

If I wanted to watch music videos, I would have been sitting at home whining about not having MTV. Or I would be going to Erin’s gym to “work out” and watch TV. It would not have occurred to me to go to Rockin’ Bowl at the UCDMU Games Area.

#3. The lights. Strobe and disco, namely. As soon as the fluorescents dimmed and the colored lights began to spin and I began to think about maybe getting a headache, I was also transferred immediately back in time to high school dances. (Probably more middle school, honestly, because in high school I went to 1 dance that was not a prom or formal (neither of which seemed to feature strobe lights to the degree of your everyday school dance), and I left that 1 dance pretty early.) So, middle school dances. So why was my impulse, on the strobe lights, to make out with someone? I was definitely not doing that in middle school.

Hold up, I wasn’t doing that in high school, either.

#4 and finally. The fog. I didn’t notice it for awhile (or maybe it didn’t get going until a little bit after the lights, etc., made their appearance on the scene), but once I did, I was transported to the backstage area of the Mondavi Center, kneeling on the ground, with my head in the Coke machine, filling it with fog so that the guy who played Eddie could trip over me to get in it before all the fog drifted out and we missed his entrance.

It’s funny that I “hated” Rocky Horror so much while it was going on, but now I can totally look back fondly and think “Awwww. Backstage at Mondavi, dressed up with Katie and Tyler and Eric. How cute. And foggy.”

So while, for a minute or two, I was thinking to myself, “Man, I suck at bowling…good thing I’m good at mini-golf,” I spent some time post-our-game checking out the other people playing, and I realized that most people are not that good. Except for this one girl who got three strikes in a row, I saw on her screen. There was a little cartoon of bowling-pin Caesar in a chariot. But I digress. I don’t think that the UC Davis Memorial Union Games Area is the place to be super-concerned about your bowling skillz. (I am, frankly, more worried about my inability to write “skills” instead of “skillz.”)

So all in all, I guess I learned a good lesson tonight.

And that lesson is, remember to bring socks so I don’t have to wear socks that I find in the backseat of the car, socks that dump sand everywhere when I turn them right-side-out.

Oh, and I also learned not to stress about my bowling abilities.

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Filed under Awesome, Beginnings, Being a girl, Drew, Friends, Games, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment