We have now been in Cambridge for a week and are in the full swing of "tech." I explained in my last blog that this is the part of the process when the show is moved out of the rehearsal room and onto the stage. As some may know, we begin at the top of the show and carefully move forward step by step and cue by cue setting lights and figuring out the logistics of the show. A lot goes into making a musical flow smoothly.
This is all very complicated and intricate and requires a hard working network of stage managers and crew members to make it all run smoothly. Our dedicated (and patient) stage managers Nancy Harrington, Julie Baldauff, and Stephen Gruse have been doing an amazing job of coordinating all these cues and also of wrangling the often wild and crazy band of actors, dancers, and acrobats. A huge thank you to them for their hard work.
I must also thank another very special person, and that is my aerial coach, Bobby Hedglin-Taylor. A few years ago I met him doing a workshop of a show in which I played an aerialist super hero. The only problem was that I was not an aerialist! Bobby worked tirelessly with me teaching me aerial fabric, hammock, and cerceau (aerial hoop). Ever since that workshop, I have trained with him regularly. The skills that he has taught me are a large part of why I am in this show, so I was very happy when he was brought into this production to train other performers who are performing some aerial elements in the show. I perform a routine on the cerceau during the "With You" section of the show which we teched this week. As I sat in the cerceau high above the stage gazing out into the dark house, I thought of Bobby and how much I owe to him. Thank you, Bobby!
It will come as no surprise that all this "tech" business can get a little exhausting, so we were very happy to have Thursday off to celebrate Thanksgiving! Many of the company members traveled out of town to be with their families. But a large group of us stayed in town and decided to have a big family style potluck dinner. The enormous feast that we assembled was seriously one of the most delicious Thanksgiving dinners I have ever had! We had an enormous roast turkey (prepared by Viktoria Grimmy) and every accompanying Thanksgiving dish you can imagine. I have told you before that this cast is tremendously multi-talented. Add cooking to the long list of skills!
Gypsy Snider has a Thanksgiving tradition in her family of going around the table and saying what you are thankful for. So after we stuffed our bellies full of tasty food and wine, we did just that. It turned into a very deep bonding moment for us as a company. We realized that we are part of a very special group of people who have all been brought into this company for different reasons that have affected us very personally. There is something about the story of Pippin and the journey the cast must take together that really forces the actors to trust each other and commit to each other. We all feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work on this very special production and become part of such an amazingly tight knit group of people.
After Thanksgiving dinner we needed to lighten things up a bit, so we decided to play musical chairs. Yes, you read that correctly. We actually played musical chairs! It was hilarious. Philip Rosenberg (who played DJ for the game) selected some ridiculous polka music which kept us all laughing the entire time. The competition got pretty intense towards the end, but ultimately Colin Cunliffe took the win and graced us with a ridiculous victory dance. It was the perfect end to a very special day.
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A PIPPIN Thanksgiving Dinner