Monday, January 30, 2012

you hit me like a vision



a winter photo shoot is an absolute necessity when a group of girls are together all weekend and when the sky decides to grace us with a glorious albeit short-lived snow.

cassie, ruthie, megan, and i.  our little emma troupe.  i love them so very, very much.  and it's kinda extraordinary how beautiful they all are.


who am i to tell fate where it's supposed to go?

have you a favorite, dears?  do tell!

xo, jenn

ps--most photos were taken by ruthie, excepting the ones of her, which i did.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

this crazy theatre thing

The past two weeks have been some of the craziest of my life.  Good, wonderful, full of memories--but crazy.

Emma opened Friday the 13th, and the week before that day was a blur of extra rehearsals and crammed homework time.  The semester of my one online class ended, and with it, pre-calculus, which has been the curse of my existence since September.  I got an A, proving that miracles do happen.  JESUS IS REAL FOLKS.

Your sweet little comments about Emma made me ever so happy.  Seriously, thank you guys.  Sometimes I feel like I ramble on about things, but this play has very much been taking up all of my life recently, and I'm glad you all enjoy hearing about it.  I enjoy hearing back from you.  *hug*

The day before we opened, we had a massive snow storm, which made our crowd on Friday a bit smaller than it otherwise would have been.  And it was deathly quiet.  I don't think I've ever heard an audience make so little noise.  It was a smooth performance, but rather depressing.

Saturday and Sunday's performance were exceedingly better in that area--laughing and clapping at all the appropriate [and sometimes unexpected] places.  That's the thing I have the hardest time with while acting--not breaking character and keeping a straight face.  Let's face it, we put on an entertaining show.

I don't think I've ever been sufficiently grateful for Martin Luther King, Jr. until that Monday.  I needed sleep, I needed homework time...and thank the Lord, I got a little of both.  Tuesday and Wednesday were filled with classes and waiting, waiting, waiting for the next weekend.

our dear little cast.  from left to right:
(back) Mr. Elton, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Woodhouse, Emma (me!), Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax (Cassie), Frank Churchill,
Jane Austen, Harriet, Mr. Weston, Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Weston, Mr. Martin
(front) Mrs. Bates, "Juan" the servant/backstage help

We were just going to have three more performances the next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (this past weekend), but tickets were selling out so quickly that we added last Thursday as well.  Our second Friday, this past weekend, was our worst performance ever.  I mean, sure we had flubs in the other performances (like the curtain falling on me the second night...), but Friday there were just more screw-ups than usual.  With the lights, with lines, and our dance...ehh. *covers face in shame*  Annnddd guess what?  Friday was the day they filmed.  Perfect, right?

Several of you wanted the link if the filmed show ever found its way to youtube.  I'll consider it, promise.  It just depends on how humiliating it actually is for me.  Meanwhile, here are the official photos--looklooklook!  Sadly, our dear Harriet (played by lil baby Megan) is not in these.  She got the flu and wasn't at our last dress rehearsal, when these were taken.  Thus some awkward pictures where I appear to be talking to myself.  (ALSO--in these photos, my hair is probably the best it's ever been.  Score.)

Anyway.

After Friday's lousy performance, Saturday rolled around and basically the whole cast was in a sour mood.  We'd done it so many times, and we had yet to have a show that we all felt exceptionally good about.  So as we were cranky backstage listening to music and readying ourselves as we always do, amid the pop music we usually listen to came a worship song...and another...and another.  And of course we all sing along, and I'm telling you.  I got so much happier just because of that.  God is seriously so good with his timing.  And then we went out to do the show--and it was our best ever.  It was an incredible night--great audience, great everything.  Like, basically flawless.  Haha.  I think we all needed that.

Sunday was bittersweet.  Yes, I was ready to have it over, to never wear those dresses again, to give my face a break from those Emma-ish expressions, to have my life back.  But with every scene--especially our favorites--there was a sad little realization of this is the last time.


So, it ended.  We ended well.  I had friends come to every performance except one, and I cannot tell you how thrilled that made me, to see familiar faces after each show.  Even better is when people you don't know come up to congratulate you, to ask you how the heck you memorized that many lines [I have no idea].  Oh, and my cast got me a bouquet of flowers last performance.  Day made.  I still can't get over the fact that I am--er, was (sniff)--Emma.  Geez.

We ended with a grand old time at Tim Hortons--lots of laughter and memories and signing-of-playbills-and-napkins.  Goodbyes, and hopes to see each other again.

At the risk of sounding totally stuck up, I'd like to say something.  Ian, our Mr. Knightley, is very experienced in theatre, and despite his annoying moments, he's really good at what he does.  He's also 11+ years older than me, and the running joke between us is that I'm "just a kid, and he has no hope for me" and that he's "an old man who does a bad job of acting like he likes me onstage."  Needless to say, we teased a lot.  But I think what with me teasing him constantly and his already--*ahem*--large ego, Ian has a hard time paying compliments, even when he sincerely means them.  Anyway, Ian paid me a very nice compliment, basically saying I was good at this "crazy theatre thing" and to keep doing it because I have a gift.  It just made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, not only because he thought it, but because he said it.

I've learned a lot from this show.  It wasn't all fun-and-games.  Sure, I had a blast, but we worked a lot too, and I really do feel like I've grown a lot through it.  I think you can't help but become a kind of family with your cast.  I've come out with some extraordinary friends and memories I'll treasure forever.

And ya know, I totally plan on keeping on with this crazy theatre thing.  I love it terribly.

This week--sigh.  This has been a dreary little week.  Because of lack of sleep and a crazy homework schedule, I've been more emotional than usual.  But I--yes, even I, the-one-who-detests-Dr.-Seuss-with-a-fiery-burning-passion-of-a-thousand-suns--am going to admit that the man possessed a little wisdom.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Also, that's a comma splice.  Agh.

But I'm smiling, for sure.  I'm so grateful, so glad it happened.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

opening night

me (Emma)/Megan (Harriet)

I give myself plenty of time.  Hair--done.  Prop-check--done.  Each bobby pin in place, excessive blush applied.

Getting into costume.  I button up, tuck the lace, make sure my hair is still intact.
We laugh in the girls' dressing room, as we help each other into our period dresses.

me and Adam (Mr. Elton)

Last minute producer notes.
Encouraging words.
Green room talk.
A quick prayer.

Waiting.

Megan (Harriet)/Ruthie (Mrs. Elton)

They look at me, of course.  "Are you nervous?"
I think back to how I expected this moment to feel.  It is different.
Quieter.  Calmer.

"No," I answer.

Ian (Mr. Knightley)

I have nerves, but I am not nervous.  I consider it--think that maybe I should be.
But no.  I know this.  We've got this.
One feeling prevails: excitement.

I am so pumped.

I am ready.

Waiting.

Harriet and her four prospective men

Minutes linger.  I know some of my friends are on their way, delayed by an untimely snowfall.
That's Friday the 13th for you.
Getting home the previous night after our last rehearsal--ever--had been rough.

Actually, the whole night had been rough.
I am glad they say that bad dress rehearsals make good performances.

unhappy lil Emma

I recall my one most troublesome line, but I know I have it now.  My little sister helped me with that.

"Don't be nervous," we whisper to each other.  "You'll be amazing."

me and Megan

Thumbs up.
I'm smiling.
I'm so excited.

Quiet.
The door opens.
The waiting is over.

me and Megan (Harriet) with Catherine (Miss Bates)

We tiptoe down the stars and slip backstage.
The familiar music fills the air.  The room is dark and hushed except for the occasional whisper.

Breathe.
Breathe.

I lift the curtain and duck behind it, then settle into my spot on stage.
I know how it will feel in just a matter of seconds now.
The first time the lights hit my face is the hardest for me--I want to break into a grin.

me getting a scolding from Ian (Mr. Knightley)

Silent prayer.
Moment of concentration.
This is it.

The music changes.
The curtain shifts, sways, and lifts.
The lights go up.

And suddenly, I am no longer Jenn.

I am Emma.

me (Emma)/Megan (Harriet)--quite possibly my favorite scene
(almost all photo credits go to Ruthie, our lovely, talented, and hilarious Mrs. E.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

in which i am emotional

Yup, I too have my sappy moments.

---

This song.  I love it to pieces.  It's so beautiful I could cry.



---

Every time I see something like this, my heart does a little sigh.  There's just something about Winnie the Pooh that makes me happy inside.


---

You know that feeling when you've finished a good book that part of your heart was apparently attached to?  And what about when you've finished a whole series?  Yeah, that makes me feel slightly lonely.  The Inheritance Cycle wasn't the absolutely best thing I've ever read, but I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  I was absorbed in the universe of those books in 2008 when the third book came out.  And after waiting three years for the fourth and final installment of the cycle--well, I have this bittersweet feeling now that it's finally over.


---

Uhm, I could just get ridiculously sentimental over this.  I adore Jimmy Stewart, and the fact that he's getting a medal, and he's in his military attire...agh.  It's just so beautiful and noble and perfect.


---

I was given the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert DVD for my birthday, and I couldn't be happier.  It's the next best thing to owning the book (which I want. someday.).  This scene, at the very end--I watched it again, for the bazillionth time, and it still makes me emotional.


Agh.  The look on Jean Valjean's face when Marius says, "Cosette, your father is a saint"--SOB.

---

C.S. Lewis, you've done it again.  This is truly perfect and perfectly true.  Glad there's someone who agrees with me.


---

Something else that makes me emotional?  Little sleep and lots of stress.  Both of which are occurring this week in major proportions.  I have an unhealthy amount of homework with looming deadlines, and Emma opens this weekend.  Prayers that I remain sane until then would be absolutely incredible.  Thanks ya'll.  ♥♥

And hey, since I've let you in on mine, what has recently been bringing out your inner sap?  ;]

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

year's beginning

Everywhere people talk about reminisces and resolutions, about parts of twenty eleven they're glad to leave behind, about what twenty twelve holds.  And...well...I thought I might as well join the crew.  Inspired by this post, I thought I'd remember the things--good and bad--that set 2011 apart (and look to the coming year too, of course).

(all photos are some of my favorites from Christmastime)

what did you do in 2011 that you've never done before?
I got my driver's license.  I performed on stage--legitimately--for the first time in Little Women.  I finally, finally made it out of the country, to Canada.  I blew a bubble with gum for the first time in my life.  I started penpalling with this girl--something I've wanted to do for ages.  Went to a midnight showing of a movie.
what do you plan to do in 2012 that you've never done before?
Go to Europe.  See a Broadway musical in NYC.


what dates in 2011 will be etched upon your memory?
March 19th--seeing Les Misérables on Broadway.  September 4th--aka, the best night of my life.


what's your biggest achievement from this past year?
Getting accepted to staff with TeenPact.  Taking a whole month off of facebook to finish the 1400+ pages of the epic novel Les Misérables.  Improving my photography.

biggest failure?
Not always loving with agape love.


what did you get really excited about?
Getting the part of Emma in Emma (read: lots and lots of screaming).

what song will remind you of 2011?
Joshua Radin's "Brand New Day" because it was the theme of my trip to Chicago, as you can see in the video I made of it.


what were the best books you read?
Les Mis, duh.  Till We Have Faces was challenging and thought-provoking.  The Help for sure.


what was your best musical discovery?
Anthem Lights [insert fangirl scream], Twenty One Pilots, getting hooked more on House of Heroes.  Les Mis (sorry, again, I know), and discovering Newsies hit Broadway.

my darling lil cousin
what movies did you see in theaters?
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesThe Lion King, The King's SpeechX-Men: First Class, Captain America, Thor, The Three Musketeers,  Real SteelThe HelpSherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.  Just about all of them were pretty awesome.
what movies do you plan to see in theaters?
The Avengers, The Hobbit, Les Mis if it actually comes out.


how would you describe your personal fashion?
Actually, 2011 saw me actually develop a personal fashion--something I did not really have before.  It's cute and chic but classy and not too impractical.  Psh, forget it.  I don't know how to describe it.


what kept you sane?
Valuable friend time.  Talking and opening up to people more.  Adequate amounts of sleep, when they came few and far between.

what was a valuable lesson you learned?
Relationships--friendships--are hard.  They're not simple, and you have to work at them.  But it's worth it.
And God is good.  Always, always good.


What have you learned this past year?  What were some of your greatest moments, achievements, experiences?  And what are some of the special or awesome things you're hoping to do this year?  I'd love to hear.  (: