RSS Feed

Tag Archives: dirty work at the crossroads

More Dirty Work

I believe I’ve mentioned some of drama surrounding Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play my husband is directing for Ilion Little Theatre (drama in the theatre? Say it ain’t so!). Well, the latest update includes good news and bad news and good news.

The good news is we have a hero. A young man was referred to us by a former president of the group (who, by the way, would have made a dandy hero himself but is too busy with work and family commitments). So far our new hero has been at one rehearsal (which I was not at), and Steven thinks he’s going to work out just fine.

I’ve heard good reports about him from others, too. My friend Phyllis says he’s a real nice guy. She told me her son said there was just one thing against him. I thought, “What? He can’t take direction. He’s a know-it-all. He says ‘um’ a lot.”

“He’s a Washington Redskins fan,” Phyllis said.

“The whole thing comes to a grinding halt,” I declared, with gestures. I was just kidding. I don’t even know what sport they were talking about.

I don’t know if any of your civilians know what it is like trying to cast a community theatre play when not enough people show up at auditions. It is stressful. Some people are very helpful with suggestions. But then you have to contact the people they suggested. And wait for them to get back to you. And get them the script. And let them read it. And think about it. And then they have to get back to you. All the while you are in suspense. The clock is ticking. Rehearsals have started. Opening night is imminent. What will happen?

So it was a great load off our shoulders when we got our hero.

And then we lost our French Maid. A very short time before Tuesday’s rehearsal, Steven got the email. Another disaster!

I actually had a few helpful suggestions right away, but Steven was not in the mood for helpful suggestions. Sometimes one just needs a little space to throw one’s hands in the hair and say, “This really sucks!” I continued my activities of getting dressed and making my blog post.

Eventually Steven said to me, “Can we just write the character out?”

It is a small part. Two little scenes, one of which I am in. I looked at my script.

“Sure,” I said. “Instead of, ‘Fleurette, inquire of that yokel yonder,’ I’ll say, ‘I shall inquire of that yokel yonder.'” I showed him a couple other small changes. “I can totally rock this.”

The other scene was a little more complicated. It is just Fleurette and Mookie (the aforementioned yokel).

“We’ll make it Mookie and Leonie,” I suggested. “I’ll write a few lines. This can work.”

We went to rehearsal feeling better. We had some time at the theatre before rehearsal started (a good director always gets there early), so I sat down and whipped off the Mookie/Leonie scene. Of course, I was all kinds of pleased with myself after that.

So we began rehearsal with me verbally coaching Mookie and Leonie through the modified scene. We intended to skip the new scene. I would email the actors their lines before the next rehearsal.

Then we realized Fleurette has another little scene we had forgotten about. Oops! This turned out to be less of a problem than it seemed at first, due largely to the fact that the play is a melodrama. It is completely acceptable for actors to address the audience, themselves, or the ambient air. It was easy to change the dialogue into a monologue, and not too long a one for the actor to learn.

So that was our week in Dirty Work. We solved one problem, confronted another, solved that one. Bring on the next problem! I’ll write about it here.

A Not Lamentable Supper

Usually when I do a cooking post, I have cooked something unusual or made up a new recipe. However, I enjoyed tonight’s supper so much, I feel it deserves a blog post.

Steven had to work till 5:30 this evening and he had rehearsal at seven for Dirty Work at the Crossroads (the show he is directing for Ilion Little Theatre; perhaps you read some of my blog posts about it) (I have a small but pivotal role). Being a dedicated director, he planned to be at the theatre by 6:30.

“I’ll just grab something,” he said, when I asked him what he wanted to do for supper.

As 5:30 approached, I couldn’t help noticing there was not a lot to just grab in our refrigerator or pantry. We had some Heidelberg bread left over from Easter dinner (we left some for Mom and Dad and brought the rest home. Love that Heidelberg bread!). If we had some deli meat, which we often do, I could have made him a sandwich and had done with. No luck. We had some mozzarella cheese. I could make grilled cheese sandwiches.

The question was did we have any tomato soup. It is perfectly possible to eat a grilled cheese sandwich without tomato soup, but the last time we did, Steven lamented the lack of soup. I wanted him to go to rehearsal happy. Ah, we had the soup. Did we have enough milk, because tomato soup made with water is, again, lamentable. Yes!

I got the soup on. I sliced the cheese. It wouldn’t do to start the sandwiches too early. Of course it would be nice for Steven to walk in the door and hear me say, “Oh, supper is just about ready, sit down!” However, for Steven to walk in to me scraping black grilled cheese sandwiches out of the frying pan would be — you know, it’s a very good word — lamentable.

Of course he was late getting home. I threw the sandwiches on while he changed into his jeans. They didn’t take long. When they were done I cut each one into four slices, for better dipping.

I must say, it was a very satisfying supper. No doubt the Heidelberg bread deserves the credit. Can I just say: YUM! Still, I had to feel a little pleased with myself for thinking of it. And I hope that as a blog post, it was not too lamentable.

Dirty in the Works

Yesterday we started rehearsals for Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play my husband Steven is directing for Ilion Little Theatre (ILT). Rehearsal was scheduled for seven o’clock. We arrived by 6:30 to set up the stage.

The stage was almost completely bare, the set from the last show having been taken down. Flats and lumber were piled up at the sides and back, because we aren’t sure what all we might need to build Steven’s set. Steven began placing chairs on the stage to indicate where some things are going to be.

“This is theatre magic,” I declared. “A minute ago they were just chairs. Now they’re a house, a river bank, a stump — OK, those are still just chairs.” The chairs were around an actual table — probably not the specific table we’ll ultimately use — that the Widow Lovelace serves tea on.

My remark struck me as very funny and I immediately decided to use it in the blog.

When I was in Harvey last year, I did not feel comfortable blogging about the rehearsal process itself. I felt somehow it should remain private, protected in a way. Some directors hold closed rehearsals — only essential personnel allowed in. That’s more usual in a professional or college setting. I’ve never known ILT rehearsals to be closed.

That said, I think I can say a little, in a general way, about our rehearsal last night. One observation I must make is, blocking rehearsals are boring.

Blocking, for anyone who doesn’t know, is movement on the stage. The director says, “You go here on this line,” and the actor writes it in his (or her) script. In pencil. Then they try it again. It isn’t so bad when you’re on the stage moving around and writing things down. Sitting in the audience watching can be deadly.

See, my big scenes aren’t till Act II. I was there last night to lend moral support for the first rehearsal. In view of that, I did not mention to anyone how boring I find blocking rehearsals. I hope nobody in the cast reads this blog. You guys aren’t boring! Don’t get upset! Oh, who am I kidding? Everybody doesn’t read my blog every day.

So for a progress report on Dirty Work at the Crossroads, I say: so far so good. One rehearsal down and it went pretty well. Further reports as events warrant. Till we get a little closer to production. Then this blog might become All Dirty Works All The Time. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Holding Out for a Hero

What drama! The suspense is killing me! And the play hasn’t even started.

Last September I wrote about how Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play which my husband Steven was directing for Ilion Little Theatre (lengthy subordinate clause), had to be postponed, due to the leading lady dropping out. At that time, the full cast was committed to doing the play in the spring.

Of course, things happen (some people use a more vulgar expression). By February we had lost the heroine, the hero and two supporting characters. Yikes! Last night (Monday) we held auditions to try to fill those parts.

The folks that had already been cast and were keeping their parts (including me) were all on hand to read with newcomers. Once Steve and I had figured out how to turn the stage lights on, we waited in anticipation.

And we got some new people! Some talented, nice, fun people! We added four ladies to the cast. I know my previous list only included three females, but we were also able to undouble a previous double casting. Woo hoo!

Now here’s the bad part: new new men showed up. We need a hero!

People re making phone calls, sending emails and asking around. Some really good-sounding possibilities have already been eliminated. Rats!

So this may be it for Dirty Work at the Crossroads (say it ain’t so!). Steven can’t take the part and we can’t double cast. Like I said, DRAMA! I remain in suspense. So, I fear, must my readers. Expect further posts as events warrant.

From Downer to Endorphins

I suffer from depression. There, I’ve said it.

And having written it, I sit here and stare at the sentence, asking myself if this is really what I want to write a blog post about. Of course it’s not. In the first place, I’ve always said I like to keep my blog positive. Why would I want to write about a downer subject like depression?

Another problem is, a lot of people don’t “believe in” depression. “Oh, just get over it,” these people say. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

Have you ever tried actually pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, or sneaker laces, as the case may be? I have not, but quite frankly, I can’t see it working. I’d probably end up flat on my back with my feet over my head, looking perfectly ridiculous. Might give anybody who happened to see it a good laugh, but I can’t see it doing me much good.

Almost worst is the well-meaning person who says, “Why are you depressed? You have a wonderful husband, an adorable dog. You have a house and a job,” etc. That makes me feel even more depressed, because what kind of a lowlife can’t be appreciative of Steve and Tabby?

So, no, this is not the blog post I want to be writing.

That was as much as I managed to write on my break at work. After work I went to Curves and worked out really vigorously. I burned a new record of calories, according to the computer. When I announced it to the other ladies, they cheered for me. I got a great shot of endorphins and endorsement! So I don’t feel depressed any more.

However, Steven and I have to be leaving soon to go to Ilion Little Theatre for second auditions for his show, Dirty Work at the Crossroads. Long time readers, if any, will remember that this show has been rescheduled from October to May. I don’t have time to write a new, un-depressed blog post. I have to shower and change.

Anyways, if nobody shows up for auditions, I will have a reason to be depressed. Stay tuned.

Tabby at the Theatre

This post is in the nature of Preview of Coming Attractions at Ilion Little Theatre. However, since to me the most interesting aspect of the evening was the extremely cute behavior of our exceedingly cute schnoodle I thought I’d put her name in the headline.

Tuesday night Steven had an appointment to listen to a possible accompanist for Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play he is to direct for May performances.

We have been feeling a little discouraged about Dirty Work lately. Regular readers (Hi, Mom!) might remember that the play was originally to have been presented in October but ran into problems. When we postponed it to May the cast which we had FINALLY assembled seemed to think it would be OK. Turns out not so much.

Well, they do say life happens while you are making other plans. Our leading lady was forced to drop out by unexpected circumstances (I feel I must emphasize beyond her control, because in general the woman is the most reliable of actresses and wonderful to work with) (I do hope her circumstances will allow her to participate in future productions), and we have not gotten confirmations from three other cast members. On the brighter side, I know at least one cast member has been looking over his script (I go to Curves with his wife) (What, you thought it was me?).

Julianne Allen, who is directing the current production, The Crazy Times, highly recommended a young lady who is one of her piano students to be the accompanist for Dirty Works. Accordingly, we headed to the theatre to meet the young lady and hear her play. I guess technically only Steven needed to go, but Tabby and I went along to offer out input.

Tuesday, local readers know, is the day the weather got a little dicey in the evening. It actually was not too bad in Herkimer and Ilion. The snow was heavy and wet when I drove home from work around quarter to four, but it had stopped by the time we headed to the theatre for six.

Once we got into the theatre I let Tabby off the leash, and she delightedly ran around, sniffing everything and being petted by everyone there. I can’t say she sat quietly and enjoyed hearing the pianist though. She wanted to see what was going on so jumped up to sniff the keys. Steven called her back. It did not seem to phase the player at all, so I thought that boded well.

She is a very talented young lady, and her name completely escapes me. She also has experience accompanying vocalists, which is obviously important. So we were very pleased to add an accomplished pianist to the Dirty Works team. Now if only we can fill out the cast!

Regarding Julianne’s play, everything seems to be going well. We did not stay for rehearsal, but the set is looking good. Julianne showed us the latest addition, two doors stage left.

“This one opens in now,” she said, demonstrating. Tabby walked through the door, helping with the demonstrating. Julianne closed the door to show that the other one opened the other way.

“Tabby’s going to be scratching at the door,” Steven said.

However, while Julianne was describing the other things planned for the set, Tabby walked around behind the flats and emerged from the open door on stage right, looking extremely pleased with herself.

I suppose by now my readers are divided into two camps. Some of you are smiling and saying, “Oh, what an adorable dog.” Others are shaking their heads saying, “That dog should have stayed quietly at heel or on the leash. Or at home. Sniffing the piano keys, indeed!” Do I really have any readers who would say that?

Steven even contemplated giving Tabby a role in Dirty Work at the Crossroads. I play Mrs. Asterbilt, a fabulously rich society matron. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for me to have a French poodle? Tabby is only half poodle, but she could act, couldn’t she? I would call her “Tabitha” in the play, which is her real name anyways. Our only worry is that during my big dramatic scene, Tabby would leap to my defense with a crescendo of barking. Well, a life in theatre isn’t for every dog.

For more information on production dates and times for The Crazy Times and Dirty Work at the Crossroads, go to or the Ilion Little Theatre Club Facebook page. If you are interested in piano lessons from Julianne, visit the Julie’s Music Facebook page.

Mohawk Valley Morning

Saturday Steven did not have to go to work till two, so we had a Mohawk Valley Morning. And I don’t need anybody to be a wise-ass and tell me that since we live in the Mohawk Valley, every morning is a Mohawk Valley morning. I already know that.

We started out by walking with our schnoodle, Tabby, to First Source Federal Credit Union in Herkimer, NY. We had to deposit a check into our mad money account. This gave me an opportunity to imitate Carolyn Jones in House of Wax: “I don’t need any mad money (tee-hee-hee); I never get mad!”

We walked home by way of Margaret Street, so I could show Steven some Halloween decorations I had noticed earlier in the week. I just love when people get into the season. I admired pots of mums on many front steps. We envied some hanging ghouls, a vampire with Elvis sideburns and several gravestones. We don’t have any gravestones, or any mums for that matter. Come to think of it, our vampire doesn’t have sideburns. Improvements to consider for next year.

After we got Tabby back home we headed for the H.A.L.O. Trash to Treasure Sale at the Mohawk American Legion. As usual I said I wanted to sit on the legion’s front porch some nice day. They have a couple of wooden glider swings I like.

H.A.L.O., I’ve mentioned before, is the Helping Animals Live Organization, a no cage, no kill cat rescue. It’s run by some pretty nice people, and we support them whenever possible. We went to their Trash to Treasure Sale last year (I believe I wrote a blog post about it) and were happy to have a chance to go to this year’s.

The sale was huge with many nice things, some possibly antiques (I’m not that knowledgeable, but they looked pretty good to me). I found a purse that might work for my character in Dirty Work at the Crossroads (next May at Ilion Little Theatre — preview of coming attractions). I also picked up a Green Mountain Coffee thermal mug. It’s always good to have a few extra thermal mugs around, in case somebody visits from a distance and you want to send them on their way with a cup of hot coffee.

After shopping we were feeling a little peckish so stopped for breakfast at Mohawk Diner. While there we asked where Mohawk Fire Station was. As soon as the waitress told us, I said, “Oh yeah, I’ve driven by there a bunch of times. Silly me.”

The Fire Station was holding a Chinese Auction. We love those. This was a good one, 100 tickets for $5. I had a ten so bought us each an envelope.

“After all, it’s for the fire department,” I told Steven when he suggested that 100 tickets for both of us might have been sufficient.

We took our time walking around and deciding what to try for. Did we win? Could be. Then again, we MAY have won something that MIGHT be a Christmas present for someone. I’ll never tell.

Oh Oh, Auditions!

I was unsure whether to hyphenate oh-oh or put in exclamation points, Oh! Oh! or use the comma. I may change my mind by the end of the post.

Yesterday my husband, Steven, held the first night of auditions for Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the Gay ’90s melodrama he is directing for Ilion Little Theatre. You might think that since I am sleeping with the director, I would approach these auditions without nerves, and so I did, uh, didn’t. Not too much, anyways.

It is a short drive from our house in Herkimer, NY to Remington Avenue in Ilion where the theatre is located. This is a good thing, especially since we almost forgot the scripts. I knew if we had forgotten anything else I would be easily able to retrieve it while Steven stalled. In fact, we were cool.

Some people were already waiting for us when we arrived. Soon we actors were filling out our audition sheets. I put all wise-ass answers on mine. Like I said, not too many nerves. Several people were a little confused by the last question, “Is there anything else you’d like us to know?” When I typed up the audition sheets I was thinking of things like, “I know stage combat” or “I’ll work backstage if not cast” or “I can tap dance.” Um, I don’t think there is any stage combat or tap dancing in the show, but we will have a backstage.

At last it was time to be on stage reading the scenes. I was at a slight advantage since I read the play last weekend. People caught on to the characters and situations pretty fast, though, and it was entertaining to watch. At auditions I always like to see other people read a scene before I read it, so I can steal their good ideas. After all, plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.

Some really talented people showed up for auditions, but I’m afraid not enough to cast the show. The second round of auditions is tonight, so I hope Steven will get a few more people. I’m sorry I did not write this post last night and post it right away. If I post it within the next twenty minutes, people will have exactly one hour to read it, decide to audition and show up. Now how many readers do I think are going to tune right in and act on what I write? How many local readers do you suppose I have? As the great Fats Waller said, “One never knows, do one?”

Auditions continue tonight, September 6 at 7 p.m. at Ilion Little Theatre, The Stables, Remington Avenue, Ilion, NY. For more information visit their website at or their Facebook page.

Dirty Work in the Works

I might be working Saturday so obviously Friday is Just Not the Same. Therefore, I will post lame tomorrow. Today is more in the nature of Preview of Coming Attractions (lame enough, you say? I explain, “Shut up”).

(Note for regular readers to ignore: Usually Friday is Lame Post Friday, where I post random observations and half-baked philosophy. I hate saying it every week, but I don’t want to confuse new readers, if any.)

My husband Steven, as you may already know, loves the theatre and is very talented at many aspects of it (I don’t just say it because I’m his wife). I started to say he is a noted thespian, but that sounded too hoity-toity, artsier than thou (although I liked that Saturday Night Live sketch about the Master Thespian. “I’m ACTING!”).

Where was I? Ah yes, praising my husband. He has acted in several Ilion Little Theatre productions and gotten praise from audiences, directors and fellow cast members. He has been wanting to direct, which he did in college and other community theatres. He’s a good director.

All this by way of introducing Ilion Little Theatre’s 2012 Fall Production, Dirty Work at the Crossroads.

Dirty Work is a gay ’90s melodrama. That’s 1890s, not 1990s, which featured a different kind of gay. Steven thinks I’m silly to worry that people will get the two confused. I think some people don’t know what a melodrama is.

A melodrama has a definite hero, heroine and villain, and the audience is encouraged to cheer and boo accordingly. I suppose there is a fear in these post-ironic times that audiences will go the other way, but I hope not.

The villain should be a truly evil, mustache-twirling bad guy; the hero brave, true and handsome; the heroine… well, I personally might be a little disappointed in the heroine, because I think she just needs to be beautiful, good and get rescued. I haven’t read the play yet, so I don’t know for sure. Maybe this heroine has a little more on the ball. I can hope.

Melodramas usually feature exaggerated characterizations and emotions, and wild, exciting plots. These are the plays where the heroine gets tied to the railroad tracks. I’m told that doesn’t happen in this play, although I quite thought it did, since the set features railroad tracks. Oh dear, I hope I haven’t given away a major plot point (or lack thereof). I’d better check with Steven before I post this.

Auditions for Dirty Work at the Crossroads are set for Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 5 and 6, at Ilion Little Theatre, The Stables, Remington Avenue, Ilion, NY. Production dates are October 19, 20, 21, 25, 26 and 27. For more information you can go to their website at or you can Like their Facebook page. You can also stay tuned to Mohawk Valley Girl, as I intend to post updates. I also plan to audition. Do you suppose my husband will give me a part?