It’s been pretty crazy around here, me bouncing like a pinball between performance obligations and overseeing Friday’s end of life experience. Perhaps a performance report is in order?
Oh good, a theatre review! Can I write that part?
Please, Lily. This week I’ll take all the help I can get.
Okay. I’ll start with the ballet recital:
Last Thursday evening, under a moody thunder-filled sky, The Dance Center of Walla Walla embarked on their production of the ballet Snow White. Rain pelted down as the performers arrived, one of them muttering about why did it have to rain the one day of the year they were wearing eyeliner- –
That was me.
Quite, please! Backstage, the Fairgrounds Pavilion building was awash with very young ballet students- -bunnies, bluebirds, roses and deer- -who were entertained by older kids hired for the occasion while they awaited their brief appearances onstage. The adult performers tended toward hugging the walls to stay out of the fray. The older children, teenagers and the adult woman who played the evil queen, were perpetually absorbed by numerous appearances onstage and rapid costume changes in between.
Out front, hundreds of people- -notably, parents, siblings and grandparents of the performers- -vied for the best view.
I was mostly situated backstage but could watch much of the performance from there. When the adult tap class was on I was, of course, onstage. They seemed satisfied with their two minutes of fame and received appreciative applause when they made their exit.
The ballet, from what I could observe from my limited vantage point, went splendidly, and the teenage dancers, some of them fourteen just like me, were really, really good! The boy who played the Prince was super-cute and seems really nice, too. The girl who played Snow White was a flawless dancer, her smile radiant (except when she was being terrorized by the evil queen).
The Queen, I have to say, was my favorite performer of all, and not just because she’s the tap teacher (Ed. Note: Grace Fritzke). Much of her dance was a combination of ballet and modern. She’s super-strong and graceful, like Cyd Charisse.
A really good dancer who was in lots of movies with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Toward the end of the ballet she and the Prince have a fight to the death- -or, should I say, a dance to the death? It was genuinely scary. Overall, I rate Snow White an excellent outing!
Thank you, Lily. To learn more about The Dance Center of Walla Walla:
If you live in the Walla Walla area and are interested in adult tap, we’ll be starting up again in the fall. I had a blast dancing on stage for the first time in 22 years, and encourage anyone who has a much-loved hobby that they’ve sidelined for a while, even for a long while, to revisit it. Who knows, you might rediscover your Happy Place!
Two days after the ballet I was scheduled to do a short presentation as Nellie Gilliam Day for the Mountain View Cemetery historic tour. Due to heavy rain the event was postponed and has been rescheduled for July 9, 9-11 AM.
However, the special performance about the founding of Baker Boyer Bank took place at Fort Walla Walla Museum the morning of June 8. Four of us took to the stage- -make that the lawn on the upper museum grounds- -at 9 AM, there to entertain a group of retired extension agents.
Again the cast was grumbling in advance but not because of the weather- -which was sunny and mildly warm. This time they groused that it should be illegal to perform so early in the morning. However- –
Clark Colahan, Susan Monahan, Dick Phillips and Susan Matley acquitted themselves nobly as Dorsey Syng Baker, Sarah Elizabeth Boyer, John Boyer, and Nellie Gilliam Day, respectively. The players were lively and believable in spite of the early hour. The audience was receptive and caught all the jokes.
It’s the third time we’ve performed this piece and we’re really having fun with it. Most Living History performances are solo presentations. The interaction between us, what in theatre terms is called “playing off of each other,” adds sparkle and dimension. There’s talk of us doing it again for another group in August.
If you know a kid who thinks history is boring, you should take them to a Living History show. I bet they’ll change their minds about history really fast!
I agree, 9.
Thanks, Lily, for covering the arts beat. I assume you want me to tell the rest of what’s going on this week?
Friday, amazingly, is still with us. He made it to and through his “name day” (full name Friday June the Sixth, the day he joined the family in 2008). Earlier today (Thursday) he seemed comfortable in the back yard sun, but when I picked him up to bring him indoors for his sub-q it was clear he was fading fast- -listless, breathing hard, limp. I tried to administer fluids but his skin broke through twice, enough times for me to realize that it wouldn’t bring him any ease, even in the short term. We’re in the office now and he’s in his favorite hiding place- -the knee hole of the desk. Every so often he rallies a bit, and he is consistently affectionate. My job now is to keep him company and do my damnedest to cherish the time we have left. Plenty of time later to cry. [UPDATE: This AM he is hanging on by a thread.]
Some good times, some sad times. Such is life.
I hope you cherish your life today, even through sorrow.
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There are plenty of times for tears later, as you say. Tears for Friday make it hard to see the little keys on the phone. They are tears, of course, for all the great cats I’ve known, Simba, Tar Kitty, Old Piss Eyes, Toonces and Buttercup. And the anticipation that I will be in your shoes with Mittens, at some date, as they say, TBD. My heart is with you. I’ve got to get out to one of your history shows. I love time travel.
Yeah, Living History is lots of fun in my book! Ah, the love of kitties. Friday is still hanging in there, fueled by I know not what. He continues to weaken but still purrs when I pet him. End of life keeps a different time than the clock. Enjoy every day with Mittens! It’s hard to remember that part sometimes when thinking about how one day it will end.
What a delightful life you lead! And still, the sadness comes with the territory of loving the living. Sending you hugs through the ether and gentle pets to Friday.
Thank you, Deb, for the hugs and pets! He’s still hanging in there, much to my amazement.