Monday, November 14, 2016

I am I, Don Quixote, the lord of La Mancha!

Knowing Blake was going to be gone for 10 weeks, I was semi-retired, and I really missed doing theatre, I figured that doing a fall show at a nearby community theater would help me pass the time and be a great deal of fun. So, mid-summer, I started looking around at what was coming up. I started with the organizations closest to me and discovered that The Arlington Players would be doing Man of La Mancha at exactly the right time. I scrolled through their audition notice and then looked at the production staff, which seemed to have a number of vacancies, including choreographer. I knew it wouldn't hurt to volunteer my services, because if they didn't need me, I could still audition. I really do love both performing and choreographing, so I'd be happy either way.

They quickly responded to my email and I soon met with the producer and director and we all hit it off immediately! This project was a go! Sure, I'd miss being on stage in the actual performances, but to be part of the creative process would be such a joy. Plus, I wouldn't have to risk auditioning and not actually getting cast. 

It really was the perfect way to spend time while Blake was away. I could use my day time to plan choreography, get ready for Japan, and do all the other things I needed to do, and then spend my evenings in the rehearsal hall. We started rehearsals a week before Blake left and the last performance was a week before we moved, exactly the time frame I needed.
The Impossible Dream

It's not a dance heavy show, but I still made it to most of the rehearsals and the director and I worked really well together on several moments throughout. I'd tweak blocking and movement and she'd add layers of character to my choreography. It was a beautiful process and I'm so glad to have been a part of it! 
Golden Helmet of Mambrino

Ultimately, it breaks both of our hearts that we met such a short time before I had to leave. I really hope we can find a way to work together again. We also hung out several times outside of rehearsals, whether joining me in binge watching The West Wing or eating dollar tacos.
Choreographer and Director on opening night!

Blake couldn't attend opening weekend, but he did send me flowers to congratulate me. He was able to get permission to visit over Columbus Day weekend, so we got to attend closing night together. The oldest two Heiss girls came with me to opening night instead, which was pretty cool. 
I have a very sweet husband, who knows how to celebrate someone on stage, having grown up with a violinist for a sister.

I felt a like a mermaid, and many of my cast agreed!

The second weekend of the show, one of our actors had a work commitment for one performance. We cast her anyway, and I acted as her understudy, so I got to perform after all! In our staging, everyone was on stage pretty much the whole show, so even though I had the fewest lines of anyone to memorize, it was a bit of work to remember her entire blocking track. It worked out though, even if I lost a prop that went rolling under our set right before I needed it, and I had a few friends in the audience to cheer me on.
The innkeeper's less kindly sister

I'm not entirely sure what opportunities I'll have in Japan to exercise my musical and theatrical crafts, but La Mancha was a fantastic way to end my theatrical time in DC.
Flamenco for I, Don Quixote! also become part of the pre-show.

2 comments:

Heidi said...

I really wish I'd been able to see your work! It's one of my favorite shows.

AmandaStretch said...

Well, my parents happen to have my *ahem* "memento of moving pictures" at their house at this time. You should arrange to watch it with them or borrow their copy!