They finally caught up with him

The Highland Summer Festival begins its summer run with Goodbye Girl.  It’s a witty and funny show, with a great cast.  Some of you may have seen the movie version of the play.  Inside the play is  the Shakespearean  theatrical production of  Richard III.   After insisting that I didn’t have time this year to do summer theatre, I was convinced (coerced) to take on a small walk-on part with three lines of dialogue.  It’s toward the end of the first act, and then I’m done.

To the delight of my family, I lose my head.  The challenge is create a chopped-off head without really going all the way.   You can tell my level of commitment by not allowing a beheading.  The director, far pragmatic, said it wouldn’t do to have only one performance.

A young man from Stratford (a former student of our director) came up to do the deed.  Here I am being dunked with liquid rubber .. during which you have to hold your face still and then sit (with no sight, no hearing) until it cures.  Then the plaster goes on and you sit until it cures.  After about an hour and half of being encased you start to get just a little claustrophobic.

Getting my hair out of the rubber was a very nasty experience, and I know for a fact I left too much in the rubber.  This, despite the fact that I had been well greased before we started.

I don’t know what the finished product looks like, but as soon as I get a peek, I’ll give you a look.  Pretty scary I would think.  All this to get beheaded and have your head presented in a 3 second scene.  Aaaah the theatre!

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Butterflies are Free!

Friends and acquaintances have asked if  I get nervous in front of an audience, or an angry mob, depending how things are going.  Sure.  You have to have some nervous energy working for you or else your presentation will fall flat.  I’ve always told folks, and I don’t know where I heard it, but I now claim it for me own … it’s OK to have butterflies, the trick is getting them to fly in formation.

As a youngster, I was pretty shy outside of my family circle.  In my early teen years I was a reasonably solitary person.   It was my English teacher who got me “on stage”.   With excited abandon I dove into high school assemblies and stage productions and had a thoroughly good time.  A good start.

Over my years in marketing communications I spoke to literally thousands of young people, teacher groups and professional organizations, and along the way I learned some  important skills.  People taking workshops and/or going to Toastmasters will know what I’m talking about.  But the single most important thing is to “do your homework”.

It’s embarassing to see someone get up in front of an audience and attempt to ad-lib their way through something … even a reasonably simple introduction of a speaker.   When I prepare for a 3 hour show on Canoe FM (my volunteer stint 3 mornings a week) I spend anywhere up to 2 hours in preparation.  I may not use everything I’ve got .. but I’m prepared.  

It’s true that even with great preparation odd things can happen and you may have to ad lib to save your moment.  One of my best and most frightening moments was in the production of Man of La Mancha when I was playing Sancho, the faithful friend to Don Quixote.  One of the great songs that I had was “I like him” .. it’s a funny endearing song.  One evening I got into the song and (momentarily distracted for some reason) found I was going to sing the first verse all over again and I couldn’t remember the 2nd verse.  Sooooo. I made it up, on the spot.  Melissa Stephens, Musical Director, looked over at me with her eyes and mouth wide open .. whatever I did, worked … actually sounded like it was part of the song.  Trust me, you don’t want to have to do that too often.  But, if you’ve done your homework, you stand a far better chance of digging yourself out of those moments.

A famous BBC announcer talking about a soccer game had to think quick after pronouncing that, “”It’s now 1-1, an exact reversal of the score on Saturday.”  Well, maybe you can’t save face on that one.

During President Obama’s health care summit  Republican Eric Cantor suffered a bit of a misspeak, saying: “We have a very difficult bridge to gap here.” Yoiks! It’s the gap that needs bridging, of course, not vice versa.  He ended up clarifying it later.   Darn those butterflies.

One of my very favourite ooopsies was from another UK broadcaster who, in the excitement of hearing his own voice  pronounced, “”For most people, death comes at the end of their lives.”   Hmmm. I never quite thought of it that way before.

Homework, Homework, Homework. And then, every man for himself.

Man with 3 heads – survives

Well, that’s what it feels like.  The deer flies nailed the back of my head yesterday (without me knowing it) and today I feel like I have additional mini-me’s sprouting out of my medula oblongata.  And did I mention itch?  Oooh yes, they do.

Some guy at the weather network said the bug count was medium yesterday.  How the hell he calculates that I’ll never know.  Thing is, it only takes a few deer flies to make you sorry that you don’t have a full covering of knarly leather for skin.

Coming up to the first of June and it feels like mid-summer.  On the plus side, the flowers are looking wonderful.  Vines are revelling in this unusual warmth and wildlife (of the kindlier type) are full of energy.  Dragonflies, hummingbirds, finches and feathered friends of all sorts and of course the marvellous butterflies abound.

Jane spotted a Great Crested Flycatcher the other day.  The ‘all about birds’ website says that  many, but not all, Great Crested Flycatcher nests contain shed snakeskin. Other crinkly materials, such as plastic wrappers, cellophane, and onion skin, may be used.

The Great Crested Flycatcher is a bird of the treetops. It spends very little time on the ground, and does not hop or walk. It prefers to fly from place to place on the ground rather than walk.  The Great Crested Flycatcher makes the same “wee-eep” calls on the wintering grounds that it makes in summer.  Huh! How about that.

I’ll focus on the beauty and try and forget the little beasties.  But man, those are big bumps!

Oh, and a public service message … the Haliburton Highlands is the perfect place to watch the G20 nutsiness.  City folk, pack up now, come north.  We’ll look forward to seeing you.