Professional Voice Talent, Amateur Actor and Knitter

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Habit humour

I spent some time last night playing with the veil and wimple from my costume, trying to get the “habit humour” scene down. I’m doing alright with Pocahontas, Heidi, Pippi and Attila, because, well, they’re simple, and even if they weren’t, the actress does these on the dvd. Katherine Hepburn is a problem, not because I don’t know what I’m doing, but because the veil’s too long, and the little tail that’s supposed to kind of stick up droops down to my chin. Easy to fix, fortunately; just a bit of cutting and hemming. My biggest problem is Princess Leia, because she doesn’t do that one on the dvd (she does Twisted Sister instead), and I have no idea how to get the coils to stay (or maybe I’m just supposed to hold them??). I also need to alter the wimple so that it doesn’t move around on my head, because that just ruins the picture. I’m thinking of replacing the strips of ribbon that tie at the back with elastic, but I have to make sure it’s ok with the director first.

I’ve kind of been going into LV withdrawal lately because I just haven’t had time to record. I can only manage a chapter or two a week right now. I did manage to finish The Elusive Pimpernel and Anne of Avonlea before the new show started. I’ve got two new projects going now, Angelina by Manuel Delgado (in Spanish) and Mr Hogarth’s Will by Catherine Helen Spence. I’d never heard of either of these before I came across them while browsing gutenberg, but the title’s sounded interesting. I was most interested in Angelina because it’s by a Mexican author.

Much of a sameness…

So, not much new going on. I had fun at that workshop in Austin. Our meeting room was a computer lab, so there was plenty of hands-on time. We were at UT, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum was right across the street, so I went there one night. Other than that, I didn’t get out much. I asked Darryl when I got back what we actually use XSLT for here, and he could only think of one example off the top of his head, and that project’s done (though it may need tweaking at some point). So, though I was glad to learn the stuff, I don’t know when I’ll get to use it.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is just over a week away from opening (a week from tomorrow’s our preview performance) and it’s coming along nicely. Yesterday was the first night the actors weren’t allowed to call for lines (except for Big Mama, who only started about a week ago, due to an injury to the original Big Mama) and they did pretty well… except they were concentrating so hard on lines that they tended to lose energy. Tennessee Williams is a depressing enough playwright when the energy is up, so last night’s run-through just dragged in places.

I got a bunch of recording done this weekend. I had the time on Sunday, and I was in the right mood, so I just went for it. I got all my collaborative chapters done (a couple of the Arabian Nights [in French] and a few chapters from Kilmeny of the Orchard [which the BC asked me if I’d be willing to do]), and a monologue for the latest Shakespeare Collection, plus several chapters from my solos. I may get some more done tomorrow morning. I’m taking half a day off from work to get new tires for my car, so I may have some time before they open to get some chapters done. That’s one thing about doing shows, my evenings are pretty much gone. I have time between work and rehearsal to get a bite to eat or take a little nap (not both), but that’s about it. So I usually only get to record on the weekends.

Starting off the year

Well, I survived the week in CA, but I was glad I was only there for a week. The place was hectic. Ten people and two dogs, and then the last couple of days, one additional person. Two people had colds when I arrived, and by the time I left, they’d traded them with two others – myself and my mother. So, I was glad I’d asked for the rest of last week off. It gave me time to get better before having to come back to work. With so many of us sick, it was interesting to see how each of us reacted to the same virus – one had really bad chest congestion; another had horrible post-nasal drip and cough; mine was all in the sinuses; mum’s had just started when I left, so I don’t know what hers was like.

I got a great new lap quilt from mum for Christmas. I’d told her how cold it gets in my office, so she made me one that folds up into a pillow to keep at work. I’d been a bit worried about the gift I got for Andy – a physics kit (like a chemistry set but with gears and wires and things), but apparently his parents found him playing with it when they went to bed Christmas Eve (an hour or so after he’d said he was going to sleep). πŸ™‚

MB and Sherry and I got to have a couple of SKVE meetings while Sherry was here for her holiday. We went to see P.S. I Love You one day and met for coffee another day. I’m not a great fan of Hillary Swank, but I enjoyed the movie ok. Sherry hadn’t heard anything about it before going, so she was disappointed that Gerard Butler dies; but then relieved that he comes back in flash-backs and hallucinations. She just likes to look at him. I made them each a short scarf with a slit in one end that you can tuck the other end into. MB opened hers while Sherry and I were waiting for our coffees, and we watched her trying to figure it out. She kept looking at the length of it, then opening the slit, then folding it back up. When she heard us giggling at her she asked me what it was, “It’s too short to be a scarf, and it has this opening thing only on one end…” Once she figured it out, she liked it. Sherry, having spent some time in a colder climate now, knew exactly what it was and how to use it. πŸ™‚

I’m off to my first programming conference this week. It’s a three day conference on XSLT. It’s the first conference I’ve gone to for Baylor. I need to do a bit of research on Austin (which is where it’s going to be), so I can visit stuff after hours.

I’ve started a new project on LibriVox to work on in conjunction with The Elusive Pimpernel. I started Anne of Avonlea last night. I had a sudden craving for some more Anne. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to get done on these two projects this coming month (while Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is in rehearsals), but I’ll always have weekends.

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat…

The Man Who Came to Dinner has finished. I got lots of compliments on my character, and lots of “it took me a second to realize that was you when you came on stage” type comments. During the course of MWCtD my friend Tredessa applied for and got the directorship of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which is the next show coming up. I hadn’t been particularly interested in auditioning for that show (I find Tennessee Williams terribly depressing), but I enjoy working with T, so I checked to see if they had a stage manager for it yet. They didn’t, so I signed up for the job. We’ve had auditions, but rehearsals don’t really get started until the New Year, so there’ll be a bit of a break. As much as I enjoy doing stuff at the Civic, it’s nice to know that, for this gig, I actually do get paid a small stipend (yay, crew!).

I’m heading off to CA on Friday to spend Christmas with mum and Paul’s family. I just learned that Alondra’s sister and her two sons will also be there during that time. That is going to be one crowded house. I think I may be asking to go to work with mum more often than I would otherwise have done. I know she wants me to play Santa to all her friends one day at least.

I’ve been knitting frantically for the past few of weeks to finish Christmas presents. I’ve made a purse for my sister-in-law. I finished the actual knitting a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I got around to sewing up the seams and putting in the lining (which I think I made a little too big, but by the time I figured it out, I was so far into it that I couldn’t bear the thought of starting over (again – the first try was too small)). My other project was a scarf for mum’s friend Natalie, which I also finished last weekend. I took both patterns from my “knitting pattern a day ” calendar. I’ve been pulling out the patterns I like and storing them in one of my notebooks. I was pleased to be able to use a couple of them. I’d post pictures of them, only I haven’t been able to find my camera for several weeks now.

I’ve finished both the projects I was working on for LibriVox. I finished Pride and Prejudice over Thanksgiving weekend, and Novelas Cortas the following week. Now I’m working on another of the Scarlet Pimpernel books, The Elusive Pimpernel. At this rate, I may end up doing all of them (that are on gutenberg, anyway). I got the new MCC continuing ed schedule in the mail last week, and I saw that one of the seminars they’re offering is about doing voice over work. I’m seriously considering signing up for it.

I went to see August Rush and Enchanted around Thanksgiving. I really liked them both. I’ve gotten to the point where I usually just wait for a movie to come out on dvd before watching it, but there are a few that intrigue me enough that I’m willing to shell out five bucks for a matinee.

Bombshell? Me?? OK.

I’m in the middle of rehearsals for The Man Who Came to Dinner at the WCT. I got cast as Lorraine Sheldon, bombshell. The thought still makes me giggle, because I so don’t think of myself as the bombshell type. I wasn’t actually up for the part originally. The director only had one person read for it the night that I auditioned; but when she got up there and started to read (in the same normal voice she had used for all her other readings), I happened to glance at the director and saw her shuffling her papers, shaking her head and muttering to herself in reaction. Well, based on the description she’d given us of the character and the fact that her first word in that scene was “Darling” I had a decent idea of what she was looking for, in the voice, at least. So at the end of the night, when she asked if anyone had wanted to read for a part and hadn’t gotten to, I raised my hand and asked to read for Lorraine. The producer told me later that the director cast me in the part as soon as I started reading. It’s been a fun show, quite apart from playing a vamp, because Tredessa’s in it too (as the female romantic lead), and it’s always fun to play with her! Plus in this show we play rivals, so even more fun.

I’m working on two projects at LibriVox right now; I’m still working on Pride and Prejudice (on the sly, so to speak). I’m more than two thirds of the way through it. And for my “public” project I finally decided on a compilation of short stories by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. I have one left to go, and it’s the longest in the bunch, so I’ve broken it into three sections, to keep the file sizes manageable. I’m thinking of going back for more Scarlet Pimpernel after this; specifically, the Elusive Pimpernel, which is the book that comes between the two I’ve already done. My output has dropped lately, though, as I’m spending my evenings at the theatre and can only record on the weekends.

I went out to CHS with MB last Saturday to see Mandy’s production of Seussical. It was fun to compare similarities and differences in the costumes, because Mandy costumed the production we did at the WCT a few years ago. It was lots of fun, anyway. And Mandy played Mayzie; I’d always wondered how she would have played the part if she’d auditioned for our production (because I’m pretty darned sure she’d have gotten that part), and it was fun getting to see.

New project…

Since I still haven’t gotten back my knitting patterns book from Meredith, I’ve decided to start a project of my choice for Asa. I figure if I don’t start it soon, I may as well give it to him for his high school graduation. So, I found this pattern for a stuffed elephant that looked really cute, and I decided to do that for now. I’ll probably still do the other when/if I get the book back from her.

Stuffed Elephant

Cute, isn’t he? I’m making two of them, one in a darkish blue-grey for Asa, and one in yellow for Jana, since I don’t yet know what her baby will be. I’m about two thirds of the way through the first one and I only started Friday night, so it’s knitting up really quickly. I’ll post photos of my two versions when I get them finished (this photo is one of the ones on the pattern).

I did finish A Little Princess last weekend, but I didn’t get around to finishing cataloguing until the end of the week. I decided to do a collection of Alarcón short stories for my next official project. Ans is proofing both that and P & P for me, because I was starting to run out of room on my laptop with all the audacity files for P & P that I’d been saving up. She can’t understand a word of what I’m reading for the short stories, so she’s reading along and just comparing sounds. πŸ™‚

No more Armand!

I finished El Dorado yesterday! Woohoo! No more wanting to smack Armand! πŸ™‚

It really did end up being a very good book, once I got past those beginning chapters where he was being such a goose, and once the action moved onto the other characters. I’ve decided that one reason I was so annoyed with Armand was that Orczy changed him so much from the first book to this one. In that, he was the responsible elder brother, who had looked after his little sister from the time their parents died, and was completely devoted to the Scarlet Pimpernel’s cause. In this book she made him younger than Marguerite and completely reckless and foolish.

And I have two chapters left of A Little Princess, so I should be done with that this weekend. Now I need to find something new to read. I am still working on Pride and Prejudice, but when I started it, I didn’t realize there was another solo version in progress. It had been semi-abandoned, but it started back up this week. As it’s a newer reader, I don’t want them to feel like I’m infringing on their territory, so I’d rather not take P&P public just now. My plan is to keep working on it, but I need something else for my public project. I’m thinking of, perhaps, some more Nesbit, another Anne book, or maybe the first Katy Did book. But I haven’t decided yet.

I finally got my invite to Ravelry yesterday. I spent part of today adding completed projects to my page. I don’t know how much I’ll use it for organization, but it’s a great place to get new ideas!

On eating crow…

So after everything I said about the WCT being somewhat picky about casting the leads of plays, I have to take it back. I watched Annie the weekend it opened, and ended up leaving during intermission. Like Once Upon This Island, the casting of the leads left much to be desired. I will say that the three people cast as Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily St. Regis were fantastic. They were the only leads who seemed confident onstage and with their lines, songs and choreography. They were also the only leads who seemed to be having fun with their parts (not really difficult with those).

My main objection was to the poor child who played Annie (well, the one I saw that night… the role was shared by two girls). It’s not her fault. I’ve worked with her before and heard her sing, and know that she has a very nice voice, but someone made the decision that she should belt all her songs… and they just weren’t in her belting range, so the result was that she sounded strained and painful.

I decided not to audition for Amadeus after all. I’d only just regained enough energy (after the stress of adjusting to the new job) to get back into my LibriVox project, and I’m on a roll with that, so I wasn’t willing to give up my evenings just yet.

I’m still working on El Dorado, but I’m not as blocked as I was before. The focus hasn’t been on Armand as much as it was in the beginning, so he’s not driving me crazy like he was. I’ve also started two other projects – A Little Princess and Pride and Prejudice. I’ve been wanting to do both for a while, and doing chapters in those was a good motivation to deal with Armand. πŸ™‚ I haven’t put P & P into the catalogue yet, I’m just working on it on the side for now, but I’m five chapters each away from finishing El Dorado and Little Princess , and I’ll be taking it public once I do finish them.

I learned of a knitting group here in Waco a few weeks ago. I’ve been thinking of visiting it. I’m a bit shy of going because I only know one person… and also because I don’t have anything particularly interesting on the needles just now. I’ve got that scarf I started for Ethel last winter still going; and a hat for the Dulaan project. I had bought a whole bundle of a particular yarn… ooh, probably two years ago that didn’t turn out to be how I expected (it said worsted, but it’s much thicker than that), so I figured I could use it up making hats and things for the Dulaan project.

And now I’m off to eat lunch in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. πŸ™‚

Catching up

Life’s been pretty busy since my last post (hence no posts since then).

So, first off, I started the new job. It’s been fairly quiet for these first few weeks. The whole first week and part of the second all I did was read, because they’d ordered me a new computer (a nice, shiny new macbook!) and we were waiting for it to arrive. The rest of the second week I spent trying to install Windows and Linux on it (some of the things I’m going to be working with run on Mac, some on Windows and some on Linux, so I have to have all three OS’s). Then I went on vacation for a week, but I did finally get the various operating systems running when I got back. Since then, they’ve slowly been getting me started on some of the things I’m going to be dealing with. Oh, and kind of cool coincidence, one of the first things I worked on was a problem a professor was having with his website, which he was running with wordpress… so this blog? Not just for fun! Actual work related learning experience gained from it! πŸ™‚

Now back to the vacation. I went out to Mum’s for ten days. This is the first time I’d been out there since she moved to Palmdale and Paul brought the family up, so I got to see the new house, and of course, all the family. The times at home were fairly quiet. The boys are sort of between activities right now, so they spend most of their time online or playing video games (sometimes both). Mum and Natalie and I had fun though. Mum and I usually try to get out to the Hollywood Bowl whenever I visit during the summer, and this year Natalie came with us. We got to see South Pacific, with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell. It was awesome! Then a few days later, we went to see Wicked. I’d been wanting to see this since I first found out that the book was being turned into a musical, so I did a quick search to see if the touring company might happen to be in the Los Angeles area during that week, and found that there’s a permanent (well, probably semi-permanent) production at the Pantages! I treated Mum to both shows for her birthday present. Natalie came with us to this one too. They didn’t know anything about Wicked, but they were excited to be getting out of the house for something other than work. On the Friday before I came back Natalie’s daughter Debbie was playing in the orchestra for a community college production of Once Upon This Island, so we went to that too. Needless to say, after South Pacific and Wicked, this was a bit of a letdown. Maybe if we’d seen that one first. πŸ™‚ I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely an amateur performance (I like to think that we’re a little pickier about our lead roles at the WCT… but I’m terribly afraid we aren’t always).

I haven’t been doing much outside of work since I got back. Though yesterday was my birthday and I did get taken out for lunch. Apparently, the Preservation people adopt whoever works in the office across the hall from them, regardless of what department they’re in, so Eric and I get included in all they do. It’s fun, and I’m enjoying getting to know that group better. I used to see them some when they were on the first floor, but we’re in much closer proximity here and it’s easier.

Annie opens next weekend at the Civic. I got cast in it, but then I found out that Linda had cast about 60 kids! I told them that I’d just started a new job and we were starting a big project and that I wasn’t sure how much spare time I was going to have in the evenings (all of which is true), so thank you but I was going to have to turn down the part. I will be ushering, though. Beth is playing Miss Hannigan and I’ve heard that she’s hilarious, so I’m looking forward to watching her.

I’m still working on El Dorado for Librivox. It’s an interesting story, but I keep putting off recording because Armand, from whose perspective most of this story is told, is driving me spare. He’s being such an absolute infant that I keep wanting to smack him upside the head. This one’s longer than the other Orczy book I did too, much longer. I originally picked it because it’s the other book they generally use when they’re making a film adaptation, so I know parts of the plot.

I’ve been searchin’…

For a job, that is. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck, but I did have an interview here in the library Friday before last. They said that they hoped to have the rest of the interviews done by last Friday and make their decision some time this week. It’s now Thursday and I have yet to hear anything, so I’m starting to lose hope. Still, fingers crossed until I know for certain.

I finally finished Tales from Shakespeare on LibriVox, which I’d been working on since March. I didn’t remember them being so dry and dull. The only way I got through was by bribing myself with reading a chapter in a new project every time I managed to finish one of the Tales. The two projects I bribed myself with were What Katy Did at School, which I’ve since finished, and Anne of Green Gables, which I’m about two thirds of the way through. I’m planning on doing another of the Scarlet Pimpernel books next; I’m leaning toward El Dorado, the one where they rescue the Dauphin.

We had a SKVE meeting on Monday and watched How to Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. So now we have several new quotes on our SKVE board. And let me just say that Peter O’Toole was hot back then! πŸ™‚ We still need to have our SKVE Music Man intervention with Regan and Melissa, because we never did get our schedules worked out during Mattress, and they can’t keep going through life without having seen Music Man!

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