What a busy little bee I’ve been since last I wrote. Lots ‘o news:
Shlemiel the First at Theatre J closed at the end of January, and I did a little of this and a little of that to fill the time. I wrote some trivia for a company that needs that kind of thing on occasion (and since the trivia is geared to kids, there’s a lot of “kewl” and “dude”-ing that always makes me roll my eyes a bit, even as I pocket the generous paycheck). I traveled down to Tennessee to celebrate my mother’s 87th birthday with her. John and I visited his family in New York state. I constructed another unlauded Peep Diorama (see previous entry below). John and I made our yearly visit to Dunya the horse and picked up a load of composted manure for the garden.
I picked up another Helen Hayes nomination, this one for last summer’s The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! at MetroStage, and went to an ever- so-swell nominees’ reception at the Four Seasons hotel. And I added a new skill to my resume: artist’s model. NO, NO NUDE POSING. That’s the first question everyone asks. Good ol’ Craig’s List gave me the lead, and I did a couple of sessions for an artists’ co-op before I had to give it up to go to work on my current production (more on that in a sec). I found the artists extremely pleasant and the work pretty easy. I discovered I can sit very still for a long period of time (all those theatre exercises in my past helped – thanks, Joe Calarco). And I must add that it’s gratifying to have someone murmur, “ooo, that’s beautiful – look at her bone structure” when you strike a pose. I am hoping to pose for them again once my current production has opened, and that production is:
David in Shadow and Light, a new musical by Yehuda Hyman and Daniel Hoffman receiving its world premiere at Theatre J. We are in the third week of a generous six-week rehearsal period, which is a good thing since there is a lot of tough material to learn. As the opening draws closer, I’ll have all the details in a Crass Commercial Announcement; meanwhile, I’m enjoying being back at the J. Ari Roth and company have always treated me fabulously, and there’s something really homey about the DC Jewish Community Center, where Theatre J lives. Little bitty kids are always around since there is a daycare center in the building; good smells come from the first floor cafe throughout the day; folks come in after business hours with their workout gear to utilize the very nice gym facilities; there’s an art gallery and a library and classrooms, all of which are always in use – in short, there is a sense of thriving community. Most of the time we theatricals work in a fairly rarefied, sterile atmosphere, cut off from the world swirling around us and often, the people for whom we will perform. Not at the J – the theatre there is as much a part of the everyday world as the kids in the daycare, the mah-jongg players in the lobby, the scholars in the library and the sweating runners on the treadmills.
I also love the neighborhood around the DCJCC. I frequently take the Metro to Dupont Circle and walk up Q Street to rehearsal, and I find the whole area really interesting. As soon as you come up from the subway, you’re greeted by a Walt Whitman quote (from “The Wound Dresser”) engraved into the stone surround at the entrance:
There’s the Cairo apartment building, with its ferocious cornices:
And this bird bath in someone’s little pocket-handkerchief of a yard. Note the building across the street relected in the upper windows, the squiggly grillwork on the ground floor windows, and in the fountain itself, a sparrow posing nicely. During the run of Shlemiel the fountain was frequently iced over; I wish I’d taken a photo of it then:
And of course, there’s the DCJCC itself, here looking particularly welcoming on a bright spring morning: