Very little (Day 248/365)

Very little today, as we traveled back from Greensboro.

However, I did get the article on lunch with Nancy Willard written and submitted. That’s a little something.

And I did take a stab at listening to the orchestration for Make Way, but it’s still not working for me. I played with it for a moment, but it’s too late and I’m too tired. I’ll be back to it tomorrow, because I have to get it done.

In other news, I got home today to find several packages. One was a book I’d ordered from Amazon, the catalog for an exhibit of Alice and Martin Provensen’s illustrations for children’s books, with an intro by Nancy Willard. The others were from Nancy herself. One was her new book, The Flying Bed, and it was her usual magical storytelling. Another was a book of Erik’s photography in Florence (where The Flying Bed is set.) He makes beautiful photographs, these from an apparently crappy little camera. (I haven’t finished reading the accompanying material yet.)

But the other two were my copies of A Visit to William Blake’s Inn.

In the paperback, the one I’ve used for twenty-five years in writing this music, Nancy had painted the Sun and the Moon, and an inscription thanking me for my music.

The hardback one, the one I bought thinking it might come in handy to display if we ever performed this work, has an angel bearing a banner made of my music, also with an inscription.

She was unable to find Alice Provensen at home, but that’s all right. We’ll invite Alice down for the premiere. This makes me very happy indeed.

No, I’m not posting pictures. Come to the workshop, or come to the performance on May 3.

Last night, we went to a production of Man of La Mancha, at Guilford College. A couple of Grayson’s friends were in it, but mostly I wanted to see what kind of theatre Guilford was capable of.

The idea of the show, “The Impossible Dream” and all that, is very easy to sneer at, but the show itself sucks you in. It’s too good. Every song is a winner, and you find you cannot get “I am I, Don Quixote” out of your head. Already, you are singing “…Lord of La Mancha, my destiny calls and I go…” in your head if not out loud.

The set was good, the orchestra was good, the costumes were credible, and for the most part, the performance was not bad. The leads needed to be miked, but their voices were not unpleasant. The young man playing Cervantes/Quixote was good, as were the other leads. The only real problem, and I don’t know that it could be fixed, is the almost total lack of specificity of many of the actors in their choices. Lines were just said. Most comic opportunities were missed because they didn’t seem to understand how to play the scenes. It’s a common issue with college-age actors; the production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile I saw at VSU was almost completely devoid of life, except for Mike and Bailee and their friend who played Picasso. Those three understood characterization, they understood comic timing, they understood that lines must be delivered, not just uttered.

I got the feeling that many of the performers in La Mancha were vocal majors; they had lovely singing voices. But actors? Not so much. Wasn’t enough to ruin the show for me, after all, I have just witnessed The Pirate Queen, so it takes a lot to disgust me these days.

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