Monday, July 21, 2008

The Happy Few

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile... "
- William Shakespeare, Henry V

What. An. Amazing. Weekend. So many ups and downs, so much drama and levity. I am exhausted from thinking about it, and I am just one blip of a character far on a periphery of what the CORE of this production is and was... so I can hardly fathom what those in the center feel right now.

I am still living a lot of it in my head, what I saw and what I know. I'm not even one of the 15 year olds who paraded around in tights and tunics to make it so or a director who for the past 4 weeks busted ass getting these kids ready....

I'm just an observer... a proud one at that.

But wow. Amazing. Where do I even start with the recap? And do you even need or want to hear about it. Well... bear with us Gentle Reader.

First of all -- thank you to Amy, and Bunkosquad, and Keith from College (has it really been since 1990 since I saw you last?!) and Ron for coming out. I sent out postcards to the fundraiser and tagged all of my eastern MA contacts in Facebook, and when Keith showed up under the tent in the pouring rain and "poked" me, I was thrilled beyond measure. Wow.

Thank you to The Shakespeare Geek also for coming out and seeing at least SOME of the play and writing about the Rebels in his blog, comparing videos and talking about what it was like for him to watch the kids in costume in the heat. His three wee ones are a little too wee to sit through a production, but they were adorable, and he and his wife came out, and it was humbling and amazing and I'm so happy to have met them.

I also thank my in-laws for coming out. It was so nice to have them here with Elyse once again to see another play. I hope some of this (and last year's production of Midsummer) impact her in wonderful ways. And my mom and dad -- thanks for braving the traffic and suffering the bug bites in the field to come see Geoff in his first play. It was so cool to have family present. It meant a lot to him, I know it did.

And boy... BOY was it hot.


On Saturday Geoff went with Doug and his dad to pick up his football gear. We were late getting down to the park, but it really struck me how his lives just overlapped right there and then.

Football one minute, Shakespeare the next.

We got down to the park and there was this slight breeze, and by slight I do mean slight. It was over 95 degrees and the field was beaten under the sun. Even on the ocean, where you would think some cool refuge could be found, there was little to be found.

Ten minutes before the play was to start at 2pm, Geoff was nowhere to be found.

Seriously. Nowhere.

The kids were in the warm up circle, doing voice exercises and stretching, and I walked over and looked for him, only to notice he was not there. And no one ELSE noticed he was not there. Because they were focused on ... doing their thing. Indeed.

I pointed this out to Keri -- and told her not to panic. Geoff had pulled a hissy fit with me about an hour before about wearing tights.

Everyone had on tights. But Geoff HATED the tights and wanted to take them off. Or roll them up. I told him he couldn't. Chris, one of the directors told him he couldn't. EVERYONE had their tights on, and YES it is hot, we know. But you have to wear them.

Deal. With. It.

I thought he might be off sulking somewhere. So I pulled one of the boys to go check the bathroom.

No Geoff.

Another girl ran up through the "backstage" looking for him but came back saying that he was not there...

Shit. That little bastard. Four weeks of being AMAZING and now? this? Jebus.

I looked around -- there was no Ross the awesome Ross there.


Awesome Ross may have taken a petulant and angry Geoff for a stroll... so I went in search of Ross.

Ross was up at the info booth directing traffic (and boy, was there traffic). He had not seen Geoff, and looked panic stricken.

"Well, I haven't seen him WALK off the island down the road, so... that's a good sign, right?"

Yes, Ross, that's a good sign. I threw up a little in my mouth.

I went back to the circle, and I could feel panic and heat. Keri saw me and announced to the group that Geoff was not around and asked that the kids spread out and look for him.

They sprang into action. Yelling. Calling. Screaming.

Cabot found Geoff sitting exactly where Cabot thought he would be (note to self, always ask the people Geoff works CLOSEST with what Geoff might be up to).

Geoff was indeed in the backstage area, waiting.

Waiting for the play to start. Tights on, and angry, but there. I don't know how the other girl missed him, Cabot said he was right there.

So everyone heaved a maaaaaaasive sigh of relief, and Shakespeare was thanked in loud voice. The crowd was shuffling in. My mom and dad were there, and Jess was there, and the play was about to begin.

With Geoff found.

The sun was brutal, and each time a cloud moved across its hot face you could FEEL that difference. I heard people sigh when it happened.

The play was amazing. Each scene, each action. Geoff and Cabot and Luke as the knuckleheads Pistol, Nim and Bardolph. Henry, petulant and moody. Exeter, strong and powerful by his side. And the English and the French... All. Amazing.

38 Henry V 071908The first production went well.

Geoff got laughs for his Bardolph and I am totally in love with the two guys who were in scene with him, Luke and Cabot.

Unfortunately, or ... fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I bailed after the St. Crispin's Day Speech because we were totally out of water and ice.

I bought four cases of ice and six bags of water to bring back. When I got back, I'd missed everything and the fundraiser party was starting. Kids unloaded my car, got ice and water going, and I went up to the party, which was a swinging success and an amazing amount of money was raised.

The 6pm show started, and Bunko was there, and Keith was there. It was amazing.

Annnnnnd..... Right before the battle of Agincourt the storm hit. And Boy, I'm tellin' ya. What a STORM.

Keri went to call the show, and parents cheered "NO!" because we were at such a critical moment... they continued through Crispin again, right to before the battle started. The sky opened up, and many attendees ducked under the tents while everyone else ran for the pavilion where the party had just taken place.

After a while, it became obvious that they were finishing the show up at the pavilion, and I was down in the mud cleaning up and hearing the cheers after all was said and done. Shit. I missed yet another Battle of Agincourt. Dang!

Keith from College stayed and cleaned up, as did my father in law. Jess took her little cousin Elyse with her in the mass exodus, and all told, the cheers themselves warmed the island. I was sad to have missed the battle of Agincourt TWICE now, but felt I was where I was needed and had fun with Keri's daughter in the cleaning up and the mud and the rain.

I slept like the dead that night.

Henry V - Henry foils the plot against himSunday was not as hot... but the rain came as we were getting ready for the battle of Agincourt. UP to the pavilion we ran. Finished the play.

And again... I missed the battle.

And then it was weird in between productions with a lot of stress and deciding what to do with yet another thunderstorm baring down on us.

Good lord, mother nature, cut us some slack wouldya?!?

We scrambled at 5:30 pm to move everything up to the pavilion, and the entire time in my mind I'm bemoaning the fact I still hadn't seen the battle of Agincourt, or Henry wooing Cate.

My husband and in-laws showed up for the 6pm 2nd showing, which surprised me, but I guess my niece really WANTED to see Geoff again.

Which warms me in ways I cannot express to you. At all.

We could have moved down to the field, but we stayed in the pavilion because my sister was my personal National Weather Service with moment by moment updates after 5:30 pm about what was happening. There was a cell south of us, according to Linda, but after that we were in the clear.

We kept the entire first half in the pavilion, and at intermission moved back to the field.

Where the Battle Of Agincourt raged amazingly.

I didn't take many pictures, because I wanted to SEE it, watch it, digest it, ingest it, amaze in it and enjoy it.

And I did. And it was amazing.

All told -- Geoff himself was great in his role. Each time they performed it, he did a little better.

The final time was hysterical -- because we were at the pavilion so he didn't have the usual shelter of the backstage area. They just had a picnic area. So his character goes to get hanged, and he steps behind a pylon and screams....

like a girl.

A shrill shriek, very silly and crazy. And just as our Henry goes into his big Post-Hanging Speech, Geoff goes TEARING up the side hill with the rope around his neck, pulling at his pants to keep them up (because, you know, those nasty aforementioned tights are just giving him what for) with the executioner and Exeter following him.

Oh ... my... God. Did everyone just laugh their asses off.

Including poor King Henry, trying to do his speech. Ha! But it was clearly the most memorable moment ever. Ever.

And that was the bulk of our weekend, dear reader. I'm exhausted. I think I slept until noon, and I honestly don't know how Keri does any of this, if I'm this tired just being on the periphery.

Next event will be our Romeo & Juliet.

Which I know all y'all sit in rapt attention, awaiting.

If you're interested in seeing the photos, they are up in flickr as usual. Saturday here, and Sunday here. And do go through them all and love them and leave comments, for I am nothing but a comment whore. Right?

There are a couple of videos in my youtube account... you can see Geoff in action in several shots, and the famous St. Crispin's Day speech by our young Henry.

And on that note, oh.... dear countrymen, my band of brothers. I seek sleep.


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