is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Christmas In July

For the past few years, I have been on a safari of sorts, searching the tracks and  earth upon which local theater folk tread to find cool stories about all those who work so hard to entertain us.  

I've been the fortunate one given access to one of the most miraculous processes ever witnessed.  To watch a play go from page to stage is to watch a labor of love, to see a family form, to enjoy seeing the ego give way to the artform -- it's a birth of sorts, a true transformation that brings a born-again nature after a lot of hard work for this thing called Play.

And Play, they do.  They laugh, they cry, they cuss, they pretend, they perform magic, they bond and garner relationships that will last a lifetime in the process.  The give and take, the growth of a character, the unique facets that each actor brings to their individual part is all fascinating to an observer like me.  This past year, I saw every scenario possible, from The Jungle Fun Room to Dead Man's Cell Phone to Much Ado About Nothing to Lonely Planet to The Impersonation of Being Earnest - and that's only naming a dollop, just a smidgen of the marvelous productions whose programs and ticket stubs I've saved and treasure (I even gluestick the ticket stubs to my favorite cabinet's door.  I know, I's tacky -- but it's also whimsical -- so I like to plaster all those fun reminders in a conspicuous place :) So yes,  I confess, I'm a shameless hoarder of playbills and photos and mementos of the shows I've been lucky enough  to cover here in Kimmyville.  Besides, I just never know when I'm going to need to pinch information from a bio of someone appearing in the next great show...

Yes, Mr. Darcy can play the ukulele too.  
However, I have been a bad blog mommy lately and have neglected to make the effort to get to rehearsals and question my lambchops who will be taking the stage soon in various productions.  I've been working long days at the law firm who were nice enough to give me an office and a lot of responsibility and a pretty lil paycheck to boot, so I've been busy, y'all...but I promise to catch up as soon as I can, though, because with SummerFest coming to the arboretum in just two weeks, I feel like it's Christmas in July.  It seems, in my mind's eye anyway, that the calendar year, theatrically, begins with Kentucky Conservatory Theatre's extravaganza of three mind-blowing shows, all pulled off in the outdoor arena of the Arboretum as night falls, the sun sets like a gorgeous smiling cowboy in vermillion boots and the stage lights up with drama, laughter, music, costumes, props, jokes, and yes, even an occasional glitch, which makes everything seem all the more natural.  

Just back from filming Checking In in Atlantic City,
Allie Darden is about to begin work on
Actors Guild of Lexington's next offering,
End Days
Last year's triumvirate of The Merchant of Venice -- set in modern day by way of director Ave Lawyer's genius and rich in talent with Bob Singleton, Adam Luckey, Patrick Davis, Carmen Geraci, and oh my goshes Lisa Thomas as Portia -- and then came the splendor of Missy Johnston's costuming and Sully White's direction of Pride & Prejudice (with the marquee attraction being the return of the likes of the ever-inspirational Trish Clark and dashing devil Tom Phillips to the in-the-park festival) and then wow, what a closing act -- RENT!  RENT, the spectacular song-and-dance marathon with energetic performers performing with seasoned with impeccable music by Karen Thomas, Jim Gleason, Bob Goff and Dave Hamon, and direction from the organic choreographer Tracey Bonner and meticulous vocal coaching by Mark Calkins.  All three shows were quite the delightful sight to see, and to experience that sort of quality theatre along with good friends whilst sipping wine and having all sorts of gorgeous snacks...well, SummerFest  is nothing but pure joy. It's about Hope. It's about Faith. It's about your fellow man/actor/producer/stage manager/props princess/musician/director -- yes, it's like a big ol' hug-a-lot holiday.  It's just like Christmas in July, to me.  
Trish Clark, Holly Hazelwood Brady and Ellie Clark,
in Pride & Prejudice

When I was on my way to work the other day, I noticed a mother robin in my yard, flying in a circle like a whirling dervish.  When I looked closer, I noticed she was gathering tinsel from the grass -- what we used to call icicles -- erstwhile leftovers from someone's Christmas tree last December.  It reminded me of that phrase, "Christmas in July" ... and that set my little blogger mind to thinking.  I finally came to the realization that with SummerFest on its way with Dmetrius Conley-Williams as Richard III leading the way in just two weeks (TWO WEEKS!) -- and then Frankenstein and Rocky Horror Show to follow, I'm like a little kid at Christmastime, counting down the days until the Gifts will be open.  

So, yes, it IS Christmas in July for me, for SummerFest, and for all the other ambitious productions in the planning and rehearsal stages right now with Bluegrass Mystery Tours, Fantastical Theatricals, Actors Guild, and Balagula - and oh, so many more.  I'm really looking forward to watching some rehearsals, finding some juicy stories to share with you, and letting the actors open my presents for me once the curtain rises.  
From a dangerously beautiful
dancer in Impersonation
of Being Ernest 
to director of
choreography in 
Summerfest's Rocky Horror, 
Jenny Fitzpatrick's 
expertise is a
shining example of  Kentucky Conservatory
Theatre's rich reserve of
extraordinary talent.

I'll be back with more meanderings soon about SummerFest, and about Jungle Fun Room author Brian Hampton's Checking In, which premiered onstage here in Lexington and has now been made into a film, starring the always engaging and beautiful Allie Darden, and directed by the feller who brought it to the stage for its first time a few years ago, AGL's former artistic director, Rick St. Peter, who is now directing shows like High School Musical in Lubbock and pursuing his PhD.  I'll also be peeking into the world of other productions that are being feverishly prepared as I type, all kinds of musicals and concerts and readings and other fabulous events are happening.  It's Christmas, I tellya...Christmas in July :)  
Bluegrass Mystery Theatre!

If you're still reading, thanks. I'll be back as soon as I can.  Thanks to everyone who keeps encouraging me to write, despite my lack of quality time to bond with my inner blogger of late. It's great to have a job that pays the bills, but all my leisure time these days, I'm afraid, is spent soaking my dawgs and resting up for tomorrow's mysteries.  I do find the time to play my lil uke and sing a few songs, and am getting ready to sing for another concert my sister has put together.  I may even debut my ukulele playing if I get brave enough...and sing If I Had A Hammer for the patriotic gathering next Sunday at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary.  See? There's that Christmas thing again...

pray for peace, y'all,

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