Work Shoes vs. Opening Night Shoes, Opening Nights, A Chorus Line in Stratford and People Who Pretend to Not Know You…

So…once again it is opening week in Stratford, Ontario…which is not just a theatre mecca but also the place where I live…and during this special week any number of things can happen at a moments notice.

My friend Ari visited from Winnipeg for the first 5 openers and while we kabbitzed (SP? I am too lazy to check)  on my porch…Tom McCamus drove by on his bicycle in a tux…in the afternoon…Tim Carroll (the new AD at Shaw) walked by in a Tilly Hat…and my pal Grant and his gal pal Ellen dropped in for literally 5 minutes to change their clothes from afternoon glam to nighttime glam.

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Ari and me…people watching and drinking Diet Coke. We are pretty happy.

It is a very glamorous time, people…oh, and then I put on my flip flops and watered my flowers. Right? Almost bucolic…if I may use that word. I may.

I was very excited to go with my dear pal, Ari (as George is in St John’s, NFLD doing Sweeney Todd with Opera on the Avalon…fancy…I am in need of a dear pal date…I  do miss Georgie…) to the opening night of  “A Chorus Line”. FANCY!

We went out for a smart dinner at Pazzo’s beforehand…seeing a virtual “who is who, baby” of the theatre world. I ate spaghetti and meatballs in my white dress…but I was willing to take the risk…I wore 4 napkins around my neck because I feel like I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, for some reason. While it was all very wonderful I realized something important about myself. I spend a lot of time by myself here (I spend a lot of time WITH many people whilst working…and, at heart, believe it or don’t…I am a quiet gal…suck it, judgers) and being out with all those wonderful theatrical types after being alone makes me VERY over stimulated and I literally chat and chat…tell jokes…talk loudly…and poop myself out in about half an hour.

Onward…

A few Things about the last few days:

1. Work heels ARE NOT opening night shoes. Work heels are for walking back and forth about (at the maximum) 40 to 80 feet and then sitting at will. Opening night heels are for literally walking the distance across the Red Sea…like, when Moses parted it…so, like….very far. Make better choices, Matthews.

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These are the shoes that literally killed me. I wished I had made bigger hair. I wish you could see my red Kenneth Cole clutch that matches those fucking hell shoes (Nine West) that my sister got for me a fucking garage sale. She is a wizard.

2. Sometimes your pal visits and it is his birthday and we score better seats than the ALREADY blessed comps you have been gifted with…and you get to watch SO MUCH talent on stage. I loved A Chorus Line. Loved. At the beginning I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The artists who are doing their work in that show and on that stage are stellar. Stellar…and not to play favourites…and everyone was living their lives up there…every last one…BUT I have to shout out to Ayrin Mackie, Julia McLellan, Matt Alfano, Jen Rider-Shaw, Nick Nesbitt and the beautiful Genny Sermonia...who was standing right in front of Ari and I as she sang What I Did for Love…and at the end, as the applause rang thru the house…she bravely stood with jaw quivering, reining her emotions so spectacularly…the Ari and I burst into tears. It was amazing. Just amazing.
Way to go all you warrior dancers, singers and actors…your stamina and commitment was inspirational.

OH, and SPOILER ALERT…when Jason Sermonia got cut I just about barfed. I could NOT believe I would NOT get to see him dance anymore.

3. I just broke into tears writing that last part…mess.

4. You will NEVER see everyone at an opening night party….one must just dive in…with their bloody stumps for feet…and hope for the best.

5. At an opening night (and in life for that matter) someone will always either:
A: Pretend not to know you.
B. Pretend not to see you.
C. Pretend they know you.

Life goes on.

6. You will also probably do one or more of the things above.
Be honest. Life still goes on.

7. Opening week in this town is always a bit crackers. And I don’t even work here.

SIDEBAR: After the show…after the party…I walked home on the grass in bare feet with my pal, Ari. We sat on the couch, each under our own blankets, and watched “Every Little Step: A Chorus Line Documentary” on ITUNES. Because we are that messy.

We woke up when another of my pals (who is staying here this week) came in at a million o’clock …and there we were…both laying on the couch like 80 year olds. Mess.

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This is a sideways picture that I cannot seem to fix because I went to sleep at idiot-o-clock last night. I am running around the wonderful Buckingham the Wonder Dog trying to get him to poop. See? So glamorous.

SIDEBAR SIDEBAR:

I found the statement below made my eyes tear up.
I am not posting the review…as some of us can hate that…but I am moved by this statement. It says a lot about a lot of things…and Aryin Mackie is indeed amazing in this show.
And I watched all these performers thinking pretty much the last line the whole time.

“Mackie is consistently poignant in the part, showing us the poses of a showbiz veteran and the vulnerability beneath her at once.
Mackie is perhaps the person this show is about: She has been in four musicals over three seasons at Stratford, and I never noticed her before. There is more talent in this world than there is space to acknowledge or money to reward.” -Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

A-fucking-men.

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