Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why I'm Choosing Triple Digits Over Colonial Era Whale Bone Stays

The triple digits did it.

I've curtailed my covert trips to the kitchen to stick my head in the freezer, and gone to the dark side.  It happened yesterday when my morning thermometer check revealed 108 degrees outside and 98 degrees in my bedroom.

Yes, I've caved.  I've closed the windows and turned on the A/C unit.

But I'm disappointed.  I was just getting into the Tennessee Williams mindset, just truly channelling why everyone in "Streetcar Named Desire" always sat around on the fire escape, fanning themselves, fussing, nattering, bellowing at each other.

And this made my mind wander back even further to America's own Colonial days when womenfolk wore stays, for goodness sakes.  Whale bone stays wrapped and sewn into layers of fabric.  Wore them under layers and layers of other pieces of clothing, even to work in the garden midsummer.   I am so relieved that I'm not performing my American Revolution show, "Steadfast and Spirited" because that would mean having to wear a costume for a whole hour at a time.  I don't even want to contemplate wearing such a massive amount of fabric on a daily basis!

I'm happy in the sundresses I'm wearing to perform this summer's library shows!

Even the personalities of the cat and the dog changed yesterday.  They stopped fleeing from my hot hugs and started snuggling again.  They better not get too used to this coolness.  The A/C goes off again . . . tomorrow.  Or the next day.

Meanwhile, oh frabjous day!  The Klondike bars in my freezer are once again frozen enough to eat!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Courthouse Telling

Think Perry Mason, only without the miscreants.

Today's library gig (my summer show this year is called "Shimmer-Swimmers") was in an ancient, unrenovated courthouse in North Carolina. There was no sign outside to indicate this enormous dusty building in the little bitty town could possibly house a library, so it took asking someone using the post office across the street to find out where I should go, and how I might get inside.

I was, however, met by someone who put me in an elevator with buttons marked "jail" and "courtroom."

Yes, the show was in a courtroom just like the ones in black and white movies. Which meant that the audience was going to sit on wooden benches behind a dense wooden fence meant to separate the populace from the officials. My show this summer involves a shadow theater. How to enable folks to see?

I decided on a little table for my theater-suitcase which would then go atop one of those huge wooden barrister tables. A sturdy wooden chair would be my step up. Oh yes! My puppets would be seen! But, of course, I would have to stand on the table as well.

Bless the heart of the librarian, who took one look at my plan and suggested I add another table behind the first one, so that if I should inadvertently step backwards, I wouldn't--in front of all the innocent, unsuspecting children--catapult, screaming, to the ground mid-show.

As it was, I had to get up and down several times during the show since not all my stories use the puppet theater, and when I'm telling stories, I like to be as close to the audience as possible. But hey, as I said, my puppets were seen!

My only regret--it didn't occur to me to take photos with my cell phone till I'd already driven all the way home to Virginia. I can but swear on my honor to the truth of this story.