The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Continued Amends

From the vaults of the memory....


Havana and If I Were a Bell


  • The other day, when we had the first snow fall, I was in class. Our professor calls for break and immediately several people scoot out for Starbucks, when all of a sudden I hear a shriek: "It's snowing! It's snowing!!!" It was, of course, the Californians, Louisianites and Texans whooping it up in the lightly frozen rain - but it was delightful to be reminded of how lovely the first snowfall is. Yay.

  • Had an experience of theatre (pronounced the-ah-tuuuuuh in one's best British hoity-toity) last weekend at Shrapnel (the show Ryan was in). The whole thing was set up very avante-garde: in a black box, with three small tiers of audience (no more 54, I think) facing one another, stage inbetween, strip of sand down the middle, the actors all in white fighting karate-like garb, the set all in white, the seats for the audience all in white - very...clean. (He's a clean old man!) Anywho, Johnny and I went and managed to actually get in, which meant that we ended up in the very front.

    At the top of the show, a projected slide reads "stand." After looking uncomfortably at the other audience members, we all stood just as the actors came on the stage - one line on each side - and turned to face us. They were very close. Maybe two inches away. (Which meant that the poor girl who came on and faced me suddenly had a view of my bosom. I know I was uncomfortable and would have apologized were she not violently singing the National Anthem.)

    Anywho, at last we get to sit, and all of a sudden the poor girl who'd been faced with me, is actually face to face with me. I look at her eyes, she's looking right back at me. Not through me, not at my shoulder. Just simply, directly, and rather aggressively right at me. I try to look elsewhere, just so that I don't throw her off her game - the show's about to start and she needs to stay in character. No dice. So, I look her right back. She cocks her head as though to invite me to fight her. I raise my brow and give it right back. Perhaps, I think, she's trying to get a rise out of me in order to get into the mood for the remainder of the show. Sure, I'll play along.

    After a minute, she turns away a little "upstage" (or inside, nearer the sand) along with everyone else. They strike a pose. And then they all turn as though they're going to rush at and attack us. The girl's got a dead eye on me. She lunges. I yelp and rustle back in my seat. And she halts herself and with the rest of the company, falls down dead.

    And in my mind, I think, "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, precious. This is THE-AH-TUH! I shall do well here."

    It was loverly, loverly, loverly for just a minute, for just a second, to be a real-life-honest-to-goodness audience member. To have a moment of that rough, immediate, surprising, unexpected, terrifying, exhilerating experience - no director, no playwright, no choreographer overanalyzing. Just that actress and myself and two inches of uncomfortable space. Marveillieux.

  • That same weekend (last weekend) I went that evening to see Footloose at Hopkinton High School. Meh. Well, first I really don't like that play. Next, the actors were all flaccid. At least the director cut out a lot of the songs so the show moved along. And she was trying to say something, but the students were beyond amateur...and my other thoughts are going to stay in my brain for now. Saw, the next day, It's a Beautiful Life with Mom, in support of Jackie. Jackie did very well, the sets were beautiful, as were the costumes and hair and make-up. Nice to see Mark again. Sound was good. The script was...adequate; the story is really more a movie than a play. The set changes were forever. And I laughed at the use of blue light, mostly because of a question on the theatre teacher certification. Again, other thoughts are going to stay in my brain.

  • Had the audition workshop for Bye, Bye Birdie. Spent several hours the past few Thursdays in the piano rooms at Emerson practicing. (When not composing, that is!) Managed, I think, to not fumble on the piano too much. But it's very odd - very very odd - to be seeing all these faces who I do not know. It's odd, mostly, because I know that these faces, these random folk, the ones crowding round the piano making themselves known to me in hopes of a good recommendation at auditions as well as those hiding at the back of the crowd for whatever reason - to think, to know that these faces will not be unknown for long. That is what I most anticipate when I think of taking on Bye, Bye Birdie: learning who these new children are. Yes.

  • Speaking of which: total Director Emily moment earlier this month. I was subbing at Marlborough Middle (it's gotten a little easier to do), and during my free I was perusing the script of Birdie. As I glanced over the stage directions, I found myself thinking, "Oh, horrid horrid. What if they did this instead - or do we need this - or can we bring on this character in place of that one - or this will be a fun scene to direct - or.... Wait. I'm not directing. Do-not-block. DO NOT BLOCK! Ahhhhh, crisis averted. On to a song. Yes! I can read over the songs. I am teaching the music after all. Oh, what's that dance move the stage directions recommend? No no no. If we use the choreography to say this instead, or maybe move this way or.... You're doing it again, Emily! DO NOT CHOREOGRAPH! ...breathe in, breathe out.... Oh, silly silly me.

  • So I totally forgot about Across the Universe - the movie and the song and the soundtrack, until I was perusing Blogging So You Think You Can Dance (I'm a geek, I know), and saw a video that used the song, which reminded me that I had meant to purchase the soundtrack. Which, thanks to iTunes, I then did. Which, when I was listening to the song (not the soundtrack) I was immediately struck with how great it would be to use as a theme for Romeo and Juliet. Which prompted me to find two other versions - one Rufus Wainwright, one Stephanie Rearick - of the song for variation. Which prompted me to find the chords, to transpose said chords (so I'm not hitting a frakkin' E below middle C!!!), and to plot my world domination. Bwahahahhahahhaha! Fights shall be had to this song. Yay! Oh, also using "Lucky Ones" from the first Buffy: Live from Sunnydale album, by Biff Naked. Using it for the "The gentle sin lies in this" part of the dance. Yeah. Need theatre much?

  • Speaking of, so I'm signed up for next semester's classes: Intro to Directing, Theatre in Education II, and Puppetry! I'm taking the latter because I know nothing about it and it sounds interesting and Julie wants to live vicariously through me and this class. The pentultimate because it'll get me to a real live teacher, Pinnochio! (It's a good class, frequently even a great class. This past week, though, it's been writing up lesson plans. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Ah ca.) Anywho, and directing - intro to directing?!?!??! - for a few reasons. 1) I have to take a directing class anyway. I'm planning on taking Directing the Musical Theatre next semester (fall) but should it fall through, I'll have that requirement covered. 2) It fits perfectly into my schedule. Absofreakinlutely perfectly into it. 3) It will be interesting to see what other tricks I might pick up from it, or be reminded of from it. 4) I NEED THEATRE. I NEED TO DIRECT THEATRE. GIVE ME THEATRE NOOOOOOOOW. 5) In doing this, I'd have the opportunity to do an avant-garde piece or experimental piece with older actors with whom I can do more - or at least push more - than I would from younger students. Hence, I can do Greek tragedy!!! I'm thinking of a scene from Antigone or Medea. Maybe the Cassadra part from Aggamemnon. Some part that has the chorus, definitely! Yaaaaaaaay!

  • Went to the Marlborough/Hudson football game yesterday for Peter who's in band. I was expecting to be thoroughly bored, as I often am at football games, and probably jostled by a lot of folk who would have no idea how close they came to having my fist in their face (I really don't like being at sporting events! :), when I discovered much to my surprise and delight that several of my old HCH kids were there! Yay! So I was able to ignore the game and catch up. Which was nice. And then the Snyder kids did the hokey pokey and turned ourselves around (no, literally!) during Hudson High's part of halftime.

  • My goal is to finish at least act one of Guys and Dolls by the end of this weekend. I think I'll be able to do it! I only have about ten minutes more in act one to do. Huzzah! (I've put the latest - and possibly last? - clip up top of this post.) Anywho, so yay me. Even if it does mean ridonkulous hours of uplateness.

    Mood: Bon. Mais sleepy. (Dopey! Doc!)
    Music: Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. Currently "Flying" by Avalon.
    Thought: Theatre. Theatre. Theatre. Look ma! One track!

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