Friday, April 4, 2008

The Reason for the Hyphen

Did you know that there's another Modern-Day Jane out there? Or more specifically, a Modern Day Jane, no hyphen. She began her blog only weeks before mine, so I have to give her kudos for being more on the ball than I. However, she has 10 total posts, and I have over one hundred. But who's counting?

Something that some of you may not know is that in college I was a theater minor, along with my English major. I loved theater, but I am no actress, ladies and gents. Oh no. I, alas, cannot memorize lines to save my life. There is a very long gap between my acting experiences...from high school (a max of 7 lines) until Salem's Christmas play last December (where I think I had 10 lines - Broadway, here I come.)

My specific expertise in the theater is directing - because there's nothing I enjoy more than a good bossing session. And I really do think actors/actresses are the coolest and most fun to work with, even if I can't be them.

I directed a one-act required for my minor. It was so fun. It was a play about a couple that was in the process of divorcing. They were trying to divide up their belongings, and in the meantime were reminiscing about all their shared experiences. At the end of the scene, the wife leaves, and as the husband is replaying a special song, you see her re-enter the room. Curtain.

At one point in the scene, the couple was supposed to kiss. I initially eliminated it because I didn't want to embarrass my extremely novice actors. However, during a final rehearsal, it became evident to me that the scene NEEDED that kiss. And they did it. Wonderfully.

I was so happy and excited and proud that I could create a scene that drew in those people watching - it's that joy that I feel after attending a really good play, one that makes me forget that I'm sitting in the audience.

Because I wasn't an actor, I found other ways to be involved with productions - I worked as Prop Manager for one show (a job NOT as easy as it sounds. You'd think inanimate objects would stay where you put them, wouldn't you?) and as House Manager for another. Working backstage is about as fun as you can get without actually having to be onstage.

Also, I really enjoyed studying the literary aspect of plays and discussing/analyzing them to death. Highly influential to this passion of mine was my theater teacher at Cottey College, Ms. Nancy Haynes, who was a costumer by trade, but also taught one heck of a Shakespeare class and made me more grateful for a C than I can ever remember being. Her tests are still in my files, partially because I was so proud of the grades I received, and mostly so I can look back at how incredibly hard her classes were and be amazed that I survived. They are a good example to me of what I can accomplish when I am properly motivated.

One of my life fantasies involves me living in a big city and working backstage for theater companies. So this MDJ chick. She is my alter-ego or something. Not only is she a believer (or so I assume in my optimistic fashion) but she is a costumer for the Metropolitan Opera! How freaking cool is that? Of course she is also a Jane Austen fan...she'd better be, or I'd be asking for her to step down from her blog name. Here she is, half a country away, living my dream. I hope she knows how lucky she is.

Meanwhile, I'll just appreciate my spacious home, clean air, lack of traffic jams, and the love of my own husband and two children so adorable that when we were at the mall tonight, as they were holding hands, teenage girls were ooohing and ahhing over how cute they were, and as they were going into a store, one looked over her shoulder and said, "I just want to LOOK at them!" Them's cute kids, folks.


Noel said...

And reading your post I could just vividly see your next theatrical production....a young family has lost their home and need to move out. Complicating the situation is that the husband and heavy lifter has just had knee surgery and can do no more then encourage his wife from a recliner. As a side bar, the two adorable preschool kids have birthday parties, including a princess birthday party for the precocious daughter. Were will the family move? Will they get get moved in time or have to camp in nearby river diversion just as heavy spring rains approach and threaten to wash them away to Canada? Will the father recover in time to be a really useful engine like Thomas? Will the story end with a kiss?

I'm looking forward to this production in eager anticipation. Putting on family plays is just so 19th century British!

Jenifleur-de-lis said...


Adorable blog name! I was also an English Major at MSUM. I focussed on Creative Writing and Technical Writing though :) It appears as if we have a lot in common! During my college years, I also went to Salem. It is a great chuch! So friendly and welcoming. I've added your blog to my list of is fun to find other locals blogging. Have a great weekend!

Aaron said...

I love how your reason for not being an actor is failure to memorize lines. :)

Moar fotos!

JJ and EJ said...

Ha, thanks Lyz, you made me feel better! : ) Yay, at least my little April fool wasn't completely lost.

Noel said...

If learning lines is an issue, then perhaps becoming a mime would be a good artistic move....

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