May was abnormally busy, which is saying something for this year.
~ It started out one Friday night early in May with two vocal recitals, back to back, by two of the graduating sopranos who have been my work study students, one for almost four years. If you know me at all, you know how I feel about opera, so this was an evening of love for those young women. It was a LOT of singing ... in many languages.
~ The next day it was off to the City for dinner and a show with Poopeh. The show always ends up secondary for us, even though it is the purpose for the gathering, and we try to find a quiet restaurant to sit and catch up. We happened upon an out-of-the-way Irish pub in mid-town that was blessedly quiet around 5:00 p.m. on Derby Day and we got a very quiet table in the back. Thanks Maggie's Place, for being quiet and not touristy. We needed the time to catch up before the critically acclaimed, yet very dark, tour-de-force production of Macbeth featuring Alan Cumming in about 90% of the roles. The Scottish Play is a heavy production in general, but with one person playing all the roles, set in an asylum ... whoa. It was heavy. Thanks to Poopeh for the tickets. I never would have gone on my own if she hadn't insisted. (I have good friends. Seats in 1st row, center mezz. at the show where you do not dare speak its name in the theatre.)
~ The next Monday after work, there was an open dress rehearsal of the Drama Division's Third Year Class presenting Twelfth Night up in the Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater. After the intensity of Macbeth on Saturday, a comedy was a good palate cleanser. There were some lovely moments in the production, and some stronger performances than other. It was set during Mardi Gras in New Orleans during the 1800s and actually worked better than you might think.
~ The next day after work, completing my slew of three plays in four days, was the Drama Division's Third Year Class doing Hamlet in the Drama Theater. I'm glad there was a comedy between the two tragedies. In these Shakespeare productions, the actors that had main roles in one play perform minor roles in the other play, so I got to see a different side of the actors and their range. The student playing Hamlet was quite good. I happened to be on a subway one night that he was on, and I overrode my usual reticence to just tell him how much I enjoyed his Hamlet. By their third year in the program, even the staff can start to tell who of the 20 or so in the class is going to "make a name" for themselves. I bet he's one of them. Sadly though, something was still rotten in the state of Denmark and everyone died.
~ Left abnormally early for me at least once ... at 5:30 ... due to the need to do copious amount of laundry. That was the night I got reacquainted with Grace. But I did manage to get my five loads of laundry done despite all the college kids in the building avoiding studying for finals and trying to do theirs! (These many weeks later, Grace has left .. but I am sure is lurking around to trip me up late and leave her mark.)
~ Rented a Zipcar to meander back to Manhattanville to see Marion. To combat the slightly musty/smokey smell I got in my ZipCar, I left behind the smell of MickeyDee's fries. You are welcome next Zipper. (read: when you have a car, you go to a drive thru for fries. Though they were meh...);
~ Spent time with Casey and her Ms. Addie, showing her the sights of the Big J and some of the Upper West Side. (More on that later - maybe on Casey's blog - as it's Addie's tale to tell, not mine);
~ Attended the Senior Dance Showcase at the Big J, featuring the graduating seniors of the Dance Division in solo pieces, duets, and a rousing final number ala Bob Fosse's Chicago. I'm getting jaded and/or I don't know dance as well as I know music and drama, but only about three of those student solos really stood out to me.
~ Worked at the Big J's 2013 Commencement seeing the next generation 'leave the nest.' For me that meant, caffeine, carbs, constricting clothes and allergy medication. But I also, truthfully can now say, I was "this close" to a famous Oscar winner, though again, I'm getting to be a jaded New Yorker. You do your thing and don't make a fuss. It's not the time or place ... but ... "no matter what occurs .... I will find you....*" DEEP DREAMY SIGH ... it was pretty cool to be there.
~ Spent the rainy holiday weekend lazying about, getting sleep, and hanging with friends. No schedule. No plans. No agenda. No deadlines. At some points, no makeup.
~ and THEN, finally, to complete our quartet of Shakespeare for the month, attended a screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center of the new movie version of Much Ado about Nothing directed by Joss Whedon .. and attended by JOSS WHEDON. (I've been a Whedon fan since I skipped out of a film class I was auditing post my B.A./pre-grad school to go home and watch the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So take that, Avengers Johnny-come-lately-band-wagonners!)
Oh boy howdy ... was that fun! The people next to me were friends with the moderator and I got to hear how nervous he was about it. The audience was strangely subdued (I thought) for a Whedon crowd, but comported themselves well during the Q&A. Not surprisingly there were many, many, many questions about his other work (Buffy, Firefly, the Avengers films), and then FINALLY a question about actual film techniques and camera work. I say FINALLY, because it was the Film Society after all, not a con. Anyway ... can you tell I'm trying to be all cool and collected about this? I'm not... it was Joss FREAKIN' Whedon!
And, the movie ... I'm going again. A few times. Aside from the fun of seeing my Whedonverse actors, and maybe Nathan's name originator, the acting, directing, and some of the camera work was really excellent. Given I took about 3 semesters of Shakespeare on Film, I need to watch again. I can tell you, if you ever saw the version with Keanu Reeves, it will totally get rid of that memory - no offense to Sir Kenneth Branagh and Ms. Emma Thompson.
~ Had way to many work meetings, interviews, and end of the year parties, including:
- the end of the year/meet the new VP margarita meet-up at a bar (skipped);
- a potluck in honor of the graduating work study students. (organized) Why is it that everyone wants to eat at the potluck, but no one wants to tell you what, if anything, they are bringing to the potluck? Or help clean up from the potluck? Just wondering.;
- the year-end staff meeting, and then the year-end staff party. (attended) There is a joke at School about the state of things being reflected in the appearance of, and quality of, shrimp at the twice-yearly parties. Given the shrimp bar, and ginormous offering of guacamole and salsa, things were okay this year.
Which indirectly brings us back to Hamlet. After the staff meeting, I went upstairs to grab my stuff. Behind the closed office doors, I thought I heard something weird for that hour of the night. I thought there was an intruder, or crazy person, until I started to realize there was a pattern to the ramblings, especially when I heard "neither a borrower or lender be" and "to thine own self be true." Turns out, the actor playing Polonius was pacing up and down the halls reciting his big speech to Laertes.
~ Farewell lunches for colleagues like Ms. R--- who is leaving the Big J after a few years to pursue other opportunities. (attended, sadly).
Leading to the necessity of days off for:
~ food poisoning;
~ grocery restocking and retail therapy;
~ recuperating from sending an email to VP that had my stomach in knots, but one that had to be sent, because I needed stand up for myself and articulate my work needs. Since the new VP is starting to assess our working conditions, so I thought I better speak up for myself/my space. THUS ...
Also good for stress relief? Go to your work Mailroom. Get sheet of bubble wrap. Walk around popping it. It's good for you. But not good for coworkers. (EVIL LAUGHTER!)
When do Summer Fridays start? Because I need a break! Really Really Really need a Long QUIET BREAK!
I am not a social butterfly. I'm NOT. Really. Actually, I'm the complete opposite of one.
So if anyone wants to send me lilacs or lavender roses so I can alight upon them and rest a bit, I won't mind.
See the smiley face? Do you?*“Stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you. I will find you!”
― James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans