Part of the reason my blogging has been so sparse and shallow lately is that the girls and I are involved in a musical and have been in rehearsals most of the summer. Well, the girls have been in rehearsals. I've been making costumes.
Laura's Memories is a musical about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who authored a popular series of children's books, Little House on the Prarie being probably the most recognizable title thanks to the television series by the same name. This is the musical's 15th year of production, my mother's 12th year of being its costume mistress, my girls' 2nd year of acting in it, and my 1st year of actively helping out with something other than wrangling children backstage. The cast numbers over 50. There are 11 scenes in 2 acts with 10 musical numbers, all told.
All last week we had dress rehearsals, in temperatures in the 90's and 100's. I sat in the pit of our little outdoor theater taking notes for Pat, our musical director, and watching everyone struggle with finding breath enough in the heat and humidity to say their lines, let alone belt out songs and dance. Period costuming with its boots, stockings, high collars, long sleeves, shawls, hats, long dresses and pinafores, does not lend itself to enthusiasm when the temperature is 102 or 104, as it was on opening night last Friday and on Saturday. "You positively glowed!" said our director to one young lady afterward. "It was sweat!!" came the breathless reply. I guarantee she lied not!
I've acted before and can do a fair job of it, but I want my daughters to be in the limelight, not me. This is a chance for them to stretch their wings without me being in their space, so I'm doing what I actually prefer: I'm working in the background, helping my mother with costumes (making two dresses and four pinafores thus far, as well as several repairs and alterations, and keeping track of who's wearing what), taking notes for Pat and coaching the little girls through the finale each performance. This is both a busy and an oddly restful place for me to be. I'm happy.
A note: For anyone who's interested, my daughters are, indeed, in the picture linked above. The older one, who plays Mary in two scenes, is sitting on the ground in the center, in blue. The younger one is the farthest standing on the right. The picture's too small for you to see well, but take my word for it: they're dangerously gorgeous and gifted young ladies!