Wednesday, April 11, 2007

three (or "fhree")

So I woke up this morning to this:

Indeed, I actually took pictures at six in the morning; I wanted to share with you the wonders that are Minnesota "winters." In my collected pictures blog, you can see I took photographs of snow dating six months ago (early October) and while it isn't surprising to be chilly for six months of the year, it is a little strange to see snow bookending those six months. The snow was wet, slushy, the kind that makes things a little more slick and every time the dogs go out, you want to ask, "Are you certain you really must go?" because you dread having to clean each of the eight paws as the scamper back in.

Musical rehearsal again today. A few apologies before I begin: I am sorry to those of you with a slow internet connection and to those of you who do not have internet caching (I think that's what it's called). I know what a pain it is for these pictures to load and I know that some people don't have time to listen to the cranky ticking that is a modem, but I think they're worth it. Of course, I have high speed internet, and I know the people in these pictures--this is, after all, an online diary of sorts, so the person it should matter the most to is me. (Interestingly enough, you'd think K would be second, but he refuses to read it. He tells me that he hopes to get all of these stories in person.)

I took nearly one hundred pictures at rehearsal today, and I managed to pare it down for you. Realize that many of them were crap and the ones that have any smidgen of goodness is mere coincidence and the thrill of this little beauty. K asked me if I'd need to go into a twelve step program, and I think maybe I will; I cannot seem to part with it and am now photographing dinner to go with the recipes I post... taking pictures of the action on stage rather than focusing on directing it (whoops).

Those of you who have been keeping up with my photo-a-day blog know I am fascinated with motion and light. I rarely capture it well, but I still like some of the effects. My co-director said I ought to change the settings on the camera to fix the whirling of limbs, but I like it that way--I like showing directing, railing arms and legs, facial expressions that change, and the bodies that remain at rest throughout the shutter's opening.

I also especially love the joy and carefree expressions on the students in some of the pictures I've been taking of rehearsals. They are truly having fun with this musical, which is sometimes a contrast to last year. That's not to say last year's musical was a bad experience or was dull, but the storyline was not goofy and we had so many glitches that my co-director and I often came to rehearsal red-eyed from lack of sleep, panicked, irritable, and sometimes heard the sound of angry tears in speeches we gave, hoping to jump start a rush off book or enunciation that would never fix. More often then not, we are frustrated with missed cues, poor excuses to depart rehearsal early, and messes left behind. This is a problem every year though; there is a level of disregard teenagers have that is usually grown out of--I know I had it in some situations myself, and though I feel ashamed, I know it's a part ofthe stages we all go through. Some just swish through them faster.

I love the motion of this one, especially in her mouth & hair.

This exit off stage will be in sync soon; they reminded me of jesters, of clowns, of children, of pinwheels, of windmills.

The girl in the purple was our lead in the musical last year and is a pleasure to work with. I love her hamming it up in rehearsals; she slides into character easily and well. Her expressions are amazing.

You can see her coming up from a forward dip, her hair flung back, his having to pull back, catching strands in his face.

This guy is also a ham (and happens to be dating the ham above). He plays a dopey prince, and there is an element of type cast in it--I had him as a student, and he's entertaining to have in class--he is involved, be it good or bad (which I appreciate), and wickedly creative.

I like the focus on this one. Here is the princess; she plans to go to school for musical theatre, and I wish her all the luck in chasing that dream. (After all, I know how hard and scary it is, but she is determined!)

I know there are plenty of issues with this picture technically, but what drew me to it was the central point, where she is grasping his shirt, and the lines that ray out of it.

A quick capture of a brief word: "QUIET!"

And below, some pictures I took of Kathryn, my co-director's daughter. She turns "fhree" today and is one of the cleverest, smartest girls I have met. I must say: I am not biased. I just met her last year in the context of the musical, and she threw mighty tantrums on occassion that would frustrate everyone around her. But her vocabulary and complex ability to understand and communicate and follow out layered directions blew me away. At one and a half, we could have a conversation with changes in emotion, and she could find the pencil that was tucked into the big pocket of the purse sitting in the third aisle, second seat from the end. Without having to search (which I would have to do, I would think, given my memory skills).

Her mother is in the final picture. She is a choreographer first. Well, she would correct me: she is a mother first. She has chosen to be a stay at home mother, which to me, last year, was horrifying. I couldn't imagine my life being central to a small child--what about the other things that made me who I am? What about a professional life? What about a creative life? I've talked about it at length with others... spoken to my colleague and friend Emily about it, and she said as long as she wasn't watching soaps and eating bon-bons, still staying in the intellectual world somehow, she would be happy to be a stay at home mom. (And she's the kind of person who is interested in the discipline I am interested in, though a variation of it.)

I trust these women that can choose that option now. Before I thought--how boring! But now that I face a summer marriage and am nearly eight years into the relationship, and I know a family with children who do not sleep in kennels on occasion (no matter how much we'd like them to) will follow in the coming years, I know it is different, somehow. Something shifts when it is your own child and you have this chance that you don't have with your students. I was telling one parent at conferences that he was lucky he had the chance to help his children through their growing writing selves (he homeschools them until high school, I believe--the sister of my student is actually in some of these pictures--both girls are amazing, and I'd love to have a thousand of them in my classroom--kids who ask questions for the sake of answers, not grades--kids who pay attention and seek you out for assistance even when they are among the best in the class), and I realized how silly that may sound to me a year ago, but it makes sense now. I actually look forward to helping my own children develop in whatever passion arises in their lives--be it science, sports, arts, whatever. I know sacrificing bits of me, in larger pieces progressively, is what will happen, and instead of cringing from it, I embrace the idea. One day.

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