Monday, 30 November 2015

The Auditions

Yesterday was the day Joy and I had looked forward to with excitement, fear and anticipation for months - the auditions for the Wizard of Oz.  They ran from 10:00-1:00, but because we went to church first, we didn't get there until a bit past 11:00.

When we did arrive, they had done the Dorothy auditions and were at the tail end of auditioning for the Scarecrow, Tin man, and the Lion.  Obviously, none of those roles would suit either me or Joy, but the directors knew that we were wanting for both try out for Dorothy and I also wanted to try out for Glinda.  Because The Wizard of Oz is a musical, for a part, you have to present both singing and acting skills.  Not long after we showed up, Joy was asked to read for Dorothy.  The scene was right at the start when Miss Gulch is arguing with Uncle Henry and Auntie Em about Dorothy's dog who allegedly bit Miss Gulch on the leg.  Dorothy is tearfully pleading to be allowed to keep her beloved pet.

To an extent, it was hard to put heaps of emotion into what you were saying, because you had to constantly be reading the script to make sure you didn't miss where you were supposed to say something.  There was one scene I had to play Dorothy where the Wikard Witch of the West and Glinda are discussing the death of the WWOTW's sister and the possession of the Ruby Red Slippers.  It was quite a long scene, and I only got one line - "Oh it's my fault!  I'm so sorry - my house dropped on top of her!"  Or something like that.  But there was a lot of acting for me still because I had the WWOTW screaming at me half the time to hand over the slippers and condemning me for killing her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East.

The second scene I got to act for was when Dorothy and the Scarecrow find the stiff and rusted Tim Man in the forest.  This one was heaps of fun!  Someone I don't know played the Scarecrow, but our friend Jeremy played the Tim Man.  There was quite a bit of dialogue between the three of us as Scarecrow and I oiled down Tim Man with the oil out of the oil can ("Oil can what??"  XD)  I then had to pretend to bang Jeremy on the chest to hear how hollow he was as he related sorrowfully to us that he had no heart.

The directors were really lovely and kind - there were four on the auditioning panel all up: the two production directors, the vocal director, and the music director.  They 're-wound' the program so that Joy and I could sing for Dorothy.  Predictably, the song was "Over the Rainbow" and so we have been practising it for weeks.  Joy was the first to sing it.  She sang it beautifully, I thought.  She was very nervous and sang softly, but she remembered all the words and stayed in pitch.  :)

Then... it was my turn.

I wasn't feeling particularly nervous, but I stood up the front and promptly forgot the words to half the song.  The vocal director was feeding me the lines and I still forgot them.  Doh!  Needless to say, the acting was much more fun.  XD

I did also sing the Glinda song, which went much better ironically seeing as I had never heard it before or practised it.  I heard two other ladies sing it before me, then a very kind lady (who actually ended up getting the part) gave me her music and I sight sang it.  It was very fast and very high (most of the song was above C5.  I'm am soprano, so I don't find that to be that high if I have practised before hand... which I hadn't.)  Anyway, I think they forgot afterwards that I was auditioning for Glinda because I didn't get to act any of her talking parts, but that's ok.  :)

There were some wonderful actors there.  There were some terrifying women in that room when they started screaming abuse at Dorothy, but it was wonderful to watch - and we haven't even started rehearsals yet!

Early yesterday evening I got a phone call from the directors.  They thanked Joy and me for auditioning and said we both really suited the part of Dorothy and were very lovely and feminine, however this tie they felt they needed to choose someone with a bit more experience for the role.  We had expected as much, but the directors did double check that we both still wanted to be in the chorus - munchkins, trees, flying monkeys, poppies, etc - and we very gladly said we would.  We are both thrilled because, even though we didn't get a main role, we will be working with some wonderful people and musical theatre is something we have been wanting to do for quite some time.

You are probably wondering who did get the roles to Dorothy and the other main characters.  I do know - and I am terribly excited about it because I know these people - but I don't want to say yet as the news is still fairly fresh and they may want to share the news first!  ^_^

The rehearsals start the first first week of the first term in January/February and we have two (later three) rehearsals a week until the shows in May/June.  

Thursday, 26 November 2015

This Whirlwind We Call Life

Whirlwind is the only appropriate word I can think of to describe life at the moment.  I know I say it every time, but life is busy.  It has been so busy I wonder sometimes if it's all really worth it.  (Of course, I know it is, but you know, when you're tired you ask yourself silly questions.)  I have been intending to blog for some time now, and it just hasn't happened.  Well, it's happening now, and I shall attempt to sum up the last few weeks and the next few so as to update you on this whirlwind we call life.  

I can't even remember where I left off on my last post... *goes and checks*  Oh my goodness!!  It's been over a month!!!  Oops...
At the end of October/start of November, we had our family church camp.  As always, it was wonderful.  Our pastor asked me and another guy,Jeremy, to organize the games for the Saturday seeing as we had both been to kids camp a few weeks before.  We agreed and got together to organize it.  I have to say it was rather amusing as we are both very laid back and organizing isn't a strong point for either of us (although I think I do have the upper hand in that department out of the two of us!  XD)  We sat there for a bit and for the life of us could only remember two or three games from kids camp and we weren't sure how they would apply to a big group.  In the end, we scrapped kids camp inspiration and came up with our own ideas, even taking a couple of games and putting our own twist on them and making up our own rules to make them work for 50+ people.  It didn't go too badly at all.  Capture the flag was the hit game of the day.  We had four teams (Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green) and so there were two colours to a side for each round of the game.  Jeremy insisted on swapping the teams around every round of the game though, so as not to create any animosity between people of any two colour teams.  I have to say, that amused me somewhat.
Just in front of the sand, near the logs on the left
is where we have church by the lake.  Isn't it beautiful??
(Picture from the Generate Church Website)
On Sunday morning, we always have church by the lake at camp.  Because we are down by the lake, we have water baptisms there every year.  This year I decided to be water baptised.  Our pastor asked me if I would share my testimony with the church as well.  I agreed, but I was rather nervous.  I won't repeat it all here, but if you are interested in reading it, I wrote it all in a guest post over at Fullness of Joy.  What you read on the post is more than what I shared with the church.  I did intend to share most of it when I got up, but then I had a microphone in one hand and couldn't open my paper with the other because I was shaking too much!  So I said the main points as I could remember them, and I think it went exactly the way God wanted it, even if it wasn't what I had planned.  People told me afterwards that I spoke well and didn't sound or look nervous at all.  That was so encouraging!!  

The weekend after family camp, I had - wait for it! - another camp!!  This one was the kids camp out for our kids church, of which I am one of the leaders.  we were so pleased with the attendance and participation of the kids (we ended up with seven boys and seven girls.)  I was in charge of the food for the weekend and went shopping with co-leader Christy which was an experience all of it's own as we are like chalk and cheese with completely different personalities.  (Christy will write lists of lists she has to write, and I am like, "Oh, there were lesson plans for that??"  It is quite funny - we crack each other up!) 
The highlight of the weekend for me was on Saturday night when a few of the youth band came and did some worship with the kids.  We were so grateful and blessed to have them come - a couple of them even postponed plans they already had for the evening just to come and minister to the children.  To those of you who did that, I know you probably won't ever read this, but your selfless actions blew me away - your kingdom focus is amazing and I thankyou all from the bottom of my heart.  I know that the leaders and kids alike were incredibly blessed by the way you served us and the Lord.  
While we were all sitting in a circle singing along to the acoustic guitars, we got to the bit in Hosanna  where it says:

Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like you have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
Everything I have for the kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.

As those lines started the kids lifted up their voices and sang.  Yes, they sing other times, but this was worship and hearing their young voices singing out to their God to break their hearts for the things that break His, and committing themselves to the Kingdom of God, it brought tears to my eyes.  This is why we - my co-leaders and I - continue in kids ministry.  Hearing them worship that night puts it all in perspective.  When the presence of God comes and responds to the praise and the worship of children, you realize you have the key to changing the world.  Children respond to the presence of God, and God works powerfully  through them.  In our kids church, we have children who speak in tongues, children to have been baptised in the Holy Spirit, children who have seen visions from God and have learned to interpret them correctly, children who hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit and obey it, children who pray for the sick and see healing occur before their eyes, children whose hearts break to the point of tears when they learn of suffering and injustice.  And I don't believe that it is limited to our church - God is moving among the young people all over the planet.  Watch out world - there is an Army rising up who will stand for what they believe in, who aren't afraid of what people think, and who will shake the very foundations of hell.  

I see a generation, 
rising up to take their place,
With selfless faith...

The week after the camp out, I got really sick due to the fact that about five of the children who attended said camp were just recovering from some flu-bug thing.  It was really awful and had me flat on  my back for nearly four days.  Thankfully, I  recovered after that and Grace was the only other person in our house to really get it.  Not that those days were totally wasted... I watched all of the 2009 Emma and most of the BBC Mansfield Park in that time.  Emma  is my favourite Jane Austin - yes, even over Pride and Prejudice.  (I mean, who would want Mr. Darcy if you could have Mr. Knightly???  He is so kind and honourable, and he and Emma and Miss Bates and all the people from Highbury are such wonderful characters!)  

During all this time we have desperately been preparing for the church carols as well.  As well as being in the choir, I am the lead girl in one of the drama skits (we were a little short on people this year and several members of the choir are participating in multiple roles throughout the night!)  I have rehearsed one scene where I have to blow up at this guy who crashes into me by accident and breaks all the Christmas presents in my bags.  I really have trouble with this because I am pretty even-keel by nature and blowing up at people with sarcasm and a blaring temper is actually a challenge.  (Not that I am perfect by any means - I tend to react backhandedly when I get ticked off!)  On top of that, the guy who runs into me is played a good friend of ours and who I get along with really well.  Aaron is a funny man and we make each other laugh when we're not acting... I'm a hopeless case when we are -- especially when he calls me ma'am.  Do I look or sound like a ma'am to you???  No.  I didn't think so.  The other bit that makes me laugh is when I have to correct his grammar as part of the script.  I wanted to leave that part out, but Aaron said we should leave it in because his wife is a school teacher and will find that bit highly amusing.  "Just you wait," he told me. "You'll hear her giggle in the crowd!"
One part of the carols I am really looking forward to is the dress.  We try to theme each year differently, and this year the theme is rockabilly.  I was SO excited when I heard that, because it is my favourite era and style of dress... and it gave me a good excuse to buy a rockabilly dress.  It was a big decision for me because modest dresses are really hard to find for my height and build, and I wanted to be able to wear it again as I actually don't have any dresses in my
wardrobe at the moment.  Joy also wanted one and so we hit Ebay... and found exactly what we were looking for.  And yes, the dress pictured on the right there is mine.  Isn't it gorgeous??  I was so happy to find it!  Joy's is exactly the same but in a light blue.  There was also dark blue and white with black dots, but I liked the purple best which is odd because I'm not really a purple kind of girl.  :)  As of this moment, they are still currently making there way here from Hong Kong, but we are hoping they arrive very soon because we just can't wait to try them on!!  ^_^

Another thing that has been happening the last couple weeks is rehearsals for our nursing home ministry.  Our family joins with seven other people from our church and another girl every term and we go around to the nursing homes in town and entertain them... but it is so much more than entertainment.  We sing a combination of secular and Christian songs, because it is not about shoving the Gospel down their throats, but about being the hands and feet of Jesus and loving those people where they are at.  I always think that nursing homes are sad places... some of those dear old people are so overjoyed that we come and sing to them and talk with them because they never get visits from anyone else.  They get excited when we sing our Rock and Roll bracket because we dress up for swing dance and those who aren't singing dance.  Some of the patients join in as they can,but for others it brings back such precious memories of when they were younger.  Sometimes we sing a couple of old hymns like "Amazing Grace", "How Great Thou Art", "The Old Rugged Cross" and "It Is Well".  It amazes me every time how an elderly person can seem to be asleep, or be entirely unresponsive due to dementia, and yet know and sing along to every word of those hymns.  I have seen some of them break down and sob during those hymns, while others sit with tears running quietly down their wrinkled cheeks.  Others lean forward, enchanted by the thrill of the sweet, familiar lyrics.  These ones often have a glow of complete content and peace on their faces as they listen to words they may not have heard in decades...  
We have one more rehearsal before this round of concerts.  Needless to say, Christmas Carols are featuring in this term's run sheet.  The first concert is on Thursday week, and then the other two and on back to back eight days later.  

Joy and I are doing something very exciting this Sunday.  For the very first time, we are auditioning for the annual town stage production.  Remember how Mum and Dad played in the band for The Pirates of Penzance earlier in the year?  Well, for some unknown reason, the auditions for next year's show are happening before next year.  And the SATS show for 2016 is:  *drumroll please*

Joy and I are so excited, because even if we don't get a main role, we will be in the chorus which will be playing parts like munchkins, apple trees, poppies, and inhabitants of the Emerald City.  However we are auditioning for main roles first.  Joy is auditioning for Dorothy, and I... well... I can't make up my mind.  My plan ever since I learned of this production has been to audition for Glinda, but recently I have been second guessing myself.  I figured I am too tall for Dorothy and too young for Glinda, and so in the end I have decided to audition for them both and see what happens.  Mum says she thinks I suit the role of Glinda best out of the two roles.  I tend to agree, but I have practised the audition material for Dorothy as well, and I think playing Dorothy would be so much fun!  She also gets to sing Over the Rainbow.  :)  If you think of it, do pray for us to be courageous as we are rather nervous... and wish us a bit of luck too.  ;)

So as you can see, life has been crazy.  Between now and when we go away for holidays on the 21st of December, we have so much happening I wonder when we even get time to, you know... eat... or breathe...  I hope to get at least a couple more posts in before then, so fare thee well until then!  And always remember to live fully, give recklessly, love ceaselessly, hope eternally, and strive heavenward.  <3 <3