Sunday, October 21, 2007

Charlotte's Web Review

What a looooonnnnng week we've had! In the past nine days, the kids have had five rehearsals and seven performances of the musical Charlotte's Web. I've been there too, doing makeup. (Thank you, dear husband and dear friend Heather, for watching my little ones!!) Bantam16 has been able to do backstage for every show, since he's homeschooled this year. It's been an exhausting week, but so gratifying to do together!

My only disappointment is that I was unable to take pictures at the dress rehearsals, since I was so busy working with my team on makeup designs for the animal characters in the show. And they've changed the policy for public performances from "no flash photography" to "no photography." I did take a few long shots at a school day performance that turned out okay, but we'll see what we get from stills from a high-definition video recorder. Hope to post something soon!

In the meantime, I'll do my best with word pictures, and please forgive a proud mama who wants to record and remember many wonderful moments....

Everyone--not just friends, but total strangers and our Chicago area executive theater director--said Blondechick14 was a perfect Charlotte. So many people commented on her lovely singing voice, and her beautifully smooth and melodious speaking voice; several people made favorable comparisons to Debbie Reynolds and Julie Roberts, who have been the voice of Charlotte in the Charlotte's Web movies. One person couldn't believe she is only 14--her speaking voice and stage presence seemed so much more mature and maternal. Another friend, who knows her well, remarked that it was quite an acting job for someone with as lively a personality as Blondechick to play such a mellow role so convincingly.

Everyone also praised her acting--how much she did with her face and arms--given that she's perched up on a rooftop for the entire show. She spoke with a more animated voice and lifted her six arms more frequently in the barnyard scenes in the first act; in the second act, at the county fair, Charlotte is "slowing up...feeling her age," so she became less and less lively. And every show, during her death scene, there were sniffles all over the theater.

One of my favorite compliments came from a mom with a 9-year-old daughter in the show. Her two younger daughters are so in love with Blondechick; they think she is sooooo beautiful with all her glitter and big made-up eyes, and they're always drawing pictures for her and waving shyly at her. "Your daughter always smiles at them, and talks to them, and treats them so kindly. She's just as sweet as she can be. What a wonderful role model she is to the younger kids!"

A funny moment: They were having trouble with a scene change taking too long, and they needed Blondechick off the barn QUICK so they could move it. It was taking her too long to descend all those stairs in the dark with an awkward costume. So the director, a former cheerleader, taught Blondechick how to "trust fall" backwards off the barn into a chair of arms of two strong men. Even though it's in the dark, you can see her "fall" if you're on that side and looking for it, and you should have seen Papa Rooster's face the first time he saw her go! She said it was scary the first few times, but now she thinks it's fun. (The people in the front row on that side always gasp, she says!)

Everyone loves the Goslings, and Bantam8, who got such kudos for being the most energetic marcher as a Cadet in Seussical, now stands out as the most animated Gosling as well, though the others are taking a leaf from his book. They're all so cute at pretending to talk and play and chase flies and keep busy while other dialogue is happening onstage. And in the dances, they get to be in the front row and shake their tails at the audience! Bantam8 loves that part.

Bantam12 has a small part with just a few lines, but he's doing great and looking handsome as Henry Fussy, Fern's boyfriend. And speaking of Fern, our good friend from church who plays her is so darling, with such a sweet voice and presence. All the leads are so strong in this show, with good voices and musicality, and great acting. Wilbur the pig is played by an amazing little girl (whose mom is co-chairing makeup with me); no one can believe that a 9-year-old can sing and act like she can!

And everyone thinks the makeup is great. I am so relieved and glad. I do Charlotte's and Templeton's, and they get lots of compliments each show, they tell me. This has been the most challenging makeup show we've ever done, for me personally, since I had none of my usual team on my committee. But my new team is awesome! I hope to take pictures of each Animal in costume under stage lights next weekend.

On the way home from the Saturday night performance, I realized I was getting a sore throat and sore joints. Turns out Blondechick has the same thing. I am so grateful that we all made it through the weekend without illness, as there was a fever going around among the cast. Our friend "Fern" missed the final two dress rehearsals because of illness, and the whole cast and many others were praying their hearts out for Thursday morning's show. Our theater group never casts understudies, and in many, many years, they've never once had a lead not be able to go on. It looked like this might be the first time...but then her 103 degree fever broke on Wednesday night, and though she still had a slight temperature, she was able to perform Thursday morning. And you couldn't even tell that she'd missed two important rehearsals! (Thank you, Lord!)

Blondechick and I don't have a fever, but our heads feel pretty crummy. We have four more performances to go, beginning Thursday. I'm hopeful that she'll be just fine by then--but maybe I better email our area coordinator and get the cast praying. (And we'd welcome your prayers as well.)

We're all looking forward to next weekend...and even beginning to think of good auditions for the next show: Godspell! (Since our house won't be going back on the market till January, and it's in February, it looks like we'll be here for it.)


Erin said...

Wow! Amazingness! So cool! Woo-hoo!

Hope you and Blondechick are feeling loads better really soon!

Traci said...

That was so fun to read! I'm so glad everything has gone well and I will pray that it continues to go amazingly!

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

Great "word pics". I'm feeling proud for you.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Wheeeeeeee! That was so much fun to read. I read the part about the trust fall over and over again... that's just sooooooo neat and professional-sounding. I hope y'all can get rested up and untornadified and healthy by Thursday. I'm dying to see pictures. Particularly of the animals.

Linds said...

I could just imagine it all from your words. How proud of them you must be, and rightly so. You are one very talented family! Enjoy the next performances!

randi---i have to say said...

You have a wonderful theater company in your area! It seems that the plays are of high-quality and the parts are challenging for the kids. How neat that your girl is getting such rave reviews!