Tuesday, March 06, 2012

So Long, Farewell

...to The Sound of Music!

What a wonderful show it ended up to be.

I am filled with such a mixture of emotions. Everyone is sad that it is over. It seemed too short! Just when everyone was feeling comfortable and confident, and really enjoying their parts, it ended.

I am trying to let go of disappointment, too, because I have no pictures to share!  Papa Rooster had to be at a conference for work during the tech rehearsals, so we don't have any on-stage shots. He got just a couple in the hallway, but they're still on his camera and now he's traveling again. We ordered the professional photographer's disc, but can't put up her images here or on Facebook.  (I'll post the link to her site, at least, when they become available.)  Sigh.  Of all the shows we've done, to not have pictures to share of this one is such a bummer.

The biggest disappointment is that because of the licensing agreement, the professional videographer was only allowed to tape a school day performance, which had seven scenes cut from it to keep the show to 90 minutes for the schools.  So several scenes, including B16's performance of "Edelweiss"--which he sang so tenderly and beautifully, accompanying himself on his prized Taylor guitar, so handsome in a European-cut suit--won't be on the DVD. Sigh.

There is always a sense of loss at the close of a show.  Those performances will never be repeated.  These children will all grow and change, these families all go their separate ways.  But for a few nights, we all came together and formed this beautiful thing, and hearts were touched and souls were lifted into another realm.

So the overwhelming emotion I am feeling is thankfulness! Lacking pictures, indulge me as I record in words of thanksgiving the pictures I don't want to forget. Please forgive anything that sounds boastful, but my heart is so full, and this blog is a repository for family memories, as much as it is anything else.

I am especially thankful that my three kids had the opportunity to all act together, as an onstage family. Will they ever have that opportunity again?  There were so many moments made more poignant for me because of the interrelationships.  I will never forget B16 carrying Chicklet9 up the aisle in the last scene as they leave Austria, heading for the mountains and the Swiss border.  Father and daughter in the show, brother and sister in real life, Chicklet laying her head so trustingly down on his shoulder, him carrying her so carefully and lovingly.  I couldn't stop the tears at the wedding scene, as Friedrich (B13) appears at the side of his father (B16) to be his best man. They both looked so heartbreakingly handsome in their tuxes and tails.  And I'm pretty sure they will be best man for each other on their own wedding days.

There were so many little glimpses of things to come in this show.  B16 looked much older and more manly in the Captain's suits and tuxedo, and it was easy to imagine what he might be like in his forties, his own father's age. And he was so paternal with his children, after he begins warming to them.  During the party scene, while the Party Guests are dancing the Landler and Captain Von Trapp is waiting for Elsa Schrader to join the party, he would kneel on the balcony and smile and talk with his two youngest daughters, Gretel and Marta (Chicklet), and give them each a little spin in their satin dresses.  Then he held their hands and led them to the side of the dance floor, before dancing a few bars of the Landler with Maria. He seemed so natural as a father, and the little girls were so adoring to him.  It was precious.

Funny thing:  Back in the Green Room, the moms noticed that he never stopped being the Captain.  He paced around the Green Room with one hand behind his back, as he did on stage, and he was so paternal with the younger kids, even those who weren't in his onstage family.  We pointed this out to him and he said he couldn't help it, when he was wearing the Captain's costume.  He had to put his own clothes on before he could act like himself again!

But even in his own clothes, he was so good with the younger kids, and several parents commented on it to me. Another gave me the best compliment of the whole week:  She said she admired the way my children seemed to genuinely enjoy each other and treated each other so well, and that in their family, they often invoke my kids as an example, because their kids have noticed and want to be that way with each other too. I can only praise the Lord for that!  Another parent, stationed as a hall monitor, told me that Chicklet--who didn't even know this mom--gave her the biggest smile every time she walked by, and another mom, who knew me but not my children, before this, also commented on how sweet and happy all my children were, and how glad she was to get to know them.  These comments that had nothing to do with performance--so unexpected--are another reason my heart is so full of thanksgiving.

I am so thankful that B13 ended up having a good time.  He is in a negative phase--it comes with the hormones, in boys this age--and he complained through all the rehearsals that it was too much singing and not enough fun. And then he was embarrassed about the costumes, especially the sailor suit and the shorts made out of curtains.  But once there was a real and appreciative audience out there, he rose to the occasion and he was just perfect as the oldest son.  I hardly saw any of the real B13 when he was Friedrich!  His singing voice has become so low, he sang down the octave from the melody and anchored the ensemble in a noticeable way. And he did a lot with his few lines, which, except for two longer speeches, we noticed, all consisted of 1-3 words.  ("How?"  "Presents!!"  "Frau Schraeder?"  "No school!"  "Father, you're back!") I loved watching him dance the Landler as a Party Guest, looking much older than 13 in his tux and tails, a lovely girl as his partner, then looking very grown up as he mingled with the other guests, champagne glass in hand--so dapper.

And I am thankful that Chicklet did well.  She was so stressed earlier in the week.  The double-casting was probably the hardest on her, the youngest of the Von Trapp leads.  (Both the Martas were 9 years old; both the Gretels, though shorter than the Martas, were 10.)  With three nights of dress rehearsal, one of the casts would only get to rehearse the show once; it ended up to be Chicklet and B13's group, the Red Cast, and they didn't get quite though the entire show because of tech and backstage issues.  Then for school days, some scenes were cut, so in the end, Chicklet only performed the entire show two times, at the last two public performances. The costume changes alone were so stressful--she had five costumes and seven costume changes, and several of them were 30-second changes--costume, socks, shoes and all! (During the shows, I spent most of my time in the quick change area, since most of the makeup was done by the first scene, and the other Marta's mom helped Chicklet when I watched the show.)

So it was a wonder and a joy to me to watch her on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon looking so happy and confident. She acts like she owns the stage when she's on it!  Many of our friends commented that she lights up the stage, especially when she smiles.  She adds her own unique spark to whatever she does, whether it's putting a little skip in her step, or dashing to be the first to the door to go get Father, or giggling with her sister as they dance together. She flitted around that party scene like a lovely pink butterfly, and she looked like an angel in her white nightgown, her two braids looking so Heidi-like.  She was probably the only Von Trapp who liked her curtain dress, and her white knee socks kept falling down her toothpick legs in her sailor suit. She forgot part of a line one time, and during the first school day show, she randomly inserted the line, "But she was the best governess we ever had!" into the wrong scene, but it was a wonder that overall, she did so well. I am so thankful.

Most of all, I am thankful for how much B16 progressed during the week. In fact, he received the Leapfrog Award for stepping up his performance so much, beyond even what the director hoped she'd be able to get out of him, she said! He was so believable, both as the stern, cold father, masking pain with discipline, who begins to thaw as Maria brings music back into his home, warming to his children, and then as the man who begins to love a woman again, and his country and justice so passionately that he gives up everything for them.

No one doubted that he could get through the show, but it was a question, even in his own mind, whether he could really become the Captain.  But he did! It's hard to be objective, but it seemed to me that he did it in a way that was so appealing, you just had to believe him.  One of my favorite scenes was a number that's not in the movie, a duet sung by Max and Elsa called "How Will Love Survive?" It's about how the Captain and Elsa's problem is that their love doesn't have to struggle--they're both too rich ("up to our necks in secur-ity...trapped by our capital gains are we"). The Captain doesn't sing in the number at all, but he dances with Elsa and Max as they sing, an amused smile on his face, looking debonaire, charming and dispassionate.  It was perfect.

I am thankful for the entire cast, who produced so many delightful moments together.  I am thankful for the directing team, who invested so much time in these young people, and especially for their laughter throughout. I am so thankful that all four grandparents were able to come--especially my parents, who drove from Ohio--and that they got to see the show twice!  I am thankful for the other women on my makeup committee, who painted marionette eyelashes and cheeks and lips during the second act of each show, freeing me to help with quick changes.  I am thankful for B21, who was willing to man a spotlight at every dress rehearsal and every single show, and who did such a good job remembering cues and faithfully lighting every scene he was supposed to.

I am thankful for the many amusing moments!  But this post is already too long, so I shall save them for another post.

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities, the experiences, the joys, the laughs and the memories!

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