So, so, so much to tell since the last post. I'm sorry I've been so out of touch here, but life has been crazy. There's a lot to cover, so some things will be mostly just summarized, rather than described in detail, so you don't have to read a short novel just to catch up.
Easter Break was fantastic; I spent ten days in England, which was really fantastic. I visited my friend Jim, who had been my counselor at a summer study program I did at Cambridge University about seven and a half years ago. It was a blast to see him again, and we had a lot of fun hanging out in Norwich. We went birdwatching, sampled the finest of British comedy, took a brewery/pub tour, and went and saw a great blues band. I then went to Birmingham to visit my friend Agnieszka, who I knew from her exchange to the U.S. also about seven and a half years ago (the last time I'd seen her was the day before I left for England). It was great to see her, and catch up, and I also got to take a trip down to Bristol to visit a fellow Ole and swing dancer, Chris. All in all it was a wonderful and relaxing trip. I could obviously go on about quite a few things concerning England (new friends made, etc), but mostly I just hung out with people. I didn't go there with the intention to sightsee, though of course I did some, but rather just to see people and spend some quality time with them.
Then when I got back, life got busy real fast. I was having about four-six individual rehearsals every week with the members of the various sketches in the show for Center Stage, as well as having evening rehearsals in Mannheim for This Lime Bower. A girl I had hoped to potentially start something with when I returned home informed me that she had been dating someone since the first of April, so that threw me for a loop, as well, and it all just sort of swirled together into a mash of sadness at that fact, stressing out about how much work needed to be done for Center Stage, and sheer enjoyment of the moments during rehearsals with the students when things would just click. The last few weeks have been some of the most demanding, and most difficult of my life, I think. I was honestly worried about whether or not we would pull of the show at times, and whether or not the kids would really be ready for the stage.
The week before the show was insane. I'm not sure I've ever been quite so active. I was on the go constantly, trying to figure out everything that needed doing, and if not for the two teachers that helped me, Anette and Romy, I would never have gotten it all done, or figured out how to do most of it. We managed to work with the tech team, despite myriad technical difficulties relating to the room we were performing in (our normal space was under construction), and get the sound and light figured out more or less satisfactorily. Assembling the stage was a relatively minor challenge, but still a bit of a challenge. Since we hadn't been able to rehearse on the stage until that week, and indeed didn't even know what the stage would look like, all the plays had to be blocked out (that means that the actors' movements needed to be planned or fit to the stage) again in the space. Most of the shows are fairly static, but a couple required more movement. Props were assembled, and fake blood made, and sound effects found. That Thursday I had 13 and a half hours of rehearsal. 7:30 to 17:00 with Center Stage, and 20:00 to 23:00 with TiG7 in Mannheim. And then I was on the train to Rimbach again at 6:00 in the morning to get back for our 7:30 rehearsal. The title of the show, by the by, was "It's Art! (I'm Not Crazy!)."
I am very, very proud of my students; of the work they put in, the progress they made, and the performances they put on. The shows went well, and even when a fair amount of lines were dropped or parts were skipped on Saturday night, the actors kept the show moving, and didn't let the audience know, which is a major part of theater. I feel very lucky to have worked with such a wonderful group of kids, and am extremely grateful to them for their efforts and their patience with their often-distracted and often-contradictory director.
This coming weekend is the show in Mannheim, and I'm looking forward to that. It's part of an English theater festival, so there are a number of actors there from the U.S. and U.K., and I got to meet a few of them the last couple days. It should be a good weekend.
All the best to everyone.