Monday, May 12, 2014

Wait Until Dark

I would be awfully upset if I didn't dedicate a bunch of writing to my most recent exploit. For the better part of the past 6 months I have been working as a stage manager for a local production of Wait Until Dark.  I think I already mentioned it briefly...  But I have some pictures and just wanted to write a bit more about how rewarding it was, about how I had a great time doing it, and about how getting involved outside of your comfort level is a good thing.

So basically the director Garry Larose asked me well over a year ago if I would take this on.  I almost immediately said yes, he got me a script, and then the project never really moved until last December.  We first assembled the team of construction people, wardrobe, a producer, sound and lighting engineers, and so on.  We met as a group and came up with those ideas regarding how to put on this play from a technical point of view.  At any rate the group really understood how things would come together in a rough sense, but we had no actors.

We had lots of interest for the roles of Susy and Gloria.  We narrowed them down and settled on two amazing and talented actresses to play our lead female parts.  I had the job of telling them they had the roles, Garry had to tell the ladies that who didn't.  It is too bad, but that is the way theatre works; people have to fill roles, and people have to not fill roles...  Unfortunately there wasn't enough interest in our roles for the fellers.  If you auditioned, and sounded half decent, you were going to get a part.  Well, the guys sounded much better than half decent, so the only problem to overcome was finding one more person. 

So by now it is the first of February, two very talented actors, maybe three in fact, had to turn down the role for different reasons....  At the last minute one of the guys who already had a role mentioned that we should ask this guy from Clinton.  As it happened we did, he accepted, and low and behold a cast was nearly formed.  We still had two tiny, tiny, tiny roles to fill as police officers, but I could do it in a pinch, or anyone else with a heartbeat for that matter....  A few weeks later we found our two cops, they wouldn't have to come to any of the rehearsals.  Literally they only had to come to one practice before the dress rehearsal to get the jist of their part....  But they were great theatre support, and decided to poke in on the practices and help with other parts of creating the play.

So in February we read the play a few times as a cast, and in mid-March we'd start rehearsing.  There would only be six weeks until curtain.  With other commitments, the stage wouldn't be ours until mid-April which was only two weeks until the show....  We had to get a tonne of props to fill a 1960's Manhattan apartment which would not be easy...  There was a few road blocks along the way.  At one point an actor asked me why we started so late to rehearse!  Whoops...

In summary, we rocked out 6 fantastic shows.  There were 5 sell-outs, and 5 standing ovations...  It was just so rewarding in the end.  On a personal level, I was so pleased calling the show and managing the production along the way.  Considering I had never done it before, although I did shadow a stage manager last year during a production, I felt I did a very good job.  But, you need good people around you which there was.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


This was the second weekend of the spring turkey hunt.  I didn't get out last weekend or during the week, so this morning was go time.  Larry and I picked up an extra, Jim Ward, to take us to one of his spots outside of Clinton.  We parked just off Hwy 8 on the road to Vanastra at a Rail Road crossing.  Our destination would be 500m back towards Clinton off of the tracks.  We had never been to this place before, but Jim assured us there'd be a gobbler or two.  Sure enough...

We set up while it was still dark and early.  It was about 5:30.  We set up a big tom decoy with a fanning tail, and 2 hens.  We set the tom closer to us, so as to draw in the birds towards us.  They'll notice the hens, but then go for the tom....  So it was all quiet for an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes.  There was lots of crows, geese, various finches, and two herons that flew over.  All of a sudden we heard a gobble in the distance.  It seemed quite far away.  We decided to keep calling.

Lo and behold our calling got more intense, and this boy's curiosity increased too.  Our buddy Jim was speechless to witness this process first hand; setting up, calling, hearing responses, and calling some more.  It didn't try to get through the bush too quietly either.  We never actually seen it until its fateful last few seconds, but heard it gobbling and walking for some time.  There was a ridge which it walked up and over.  Sure enough, it spotted the hens, but was inching closer to our tom decoy.  Larry was sitting on that side of the blind - So Larry took the shot.  Just one.

So the scale doesn't lie - 21lbs basically.  We never actually put a tape on its beard or spurs.  But I would guess that the beard is 7 inches, and the spurs were just at that inch mark. 

We stayed out and hit another field for another 90 minutes.  A hen walked all around us soon after setting up and calling.  It was very weary though to say the least.  It kept its distance quite safely, but was curious.  Hens are not a legal shot, unless it has a beard.  This didn't have one.  Plus, it wasn't that close to me at any given point.  But it was fun to watch and hear it call.

So Larry continually gets it done - whereas me, not so much.  Oh well.  I had a great time and there still is lots of time to get one myself.  I think I'd go back and see if there are any buddies of this guy still around.