Behind the scenes, however, it often seemed like one thing after another...and I'm really proud of all of us that we managed to keep on trucking, and the shows stayed really great. The winter shows always seem to present more obstacles and more exhaustion...which is crazy considering that once the holiday show is open, we don't have to rehearse anymore. But with an avalanche of annoying crap plopping down every day... I guess it gets to you. Now among the other fun things that were going on, on the last day of the Christmas show, my little camera (not the big expensive one...my cute one I carry around for the blog) somehow got placed on the lower area of the bar. Which, in the biz, as they say is a 'wet zone'. And soon the camera was ALSO a wet zone. It ended up in a puddle... and so, all the pictures that I brought to Bermuda with me to put on the blog, are sadly lost. The camera, amazingly (yay nikon) has recovered fine. LCD screen which looked like a Jackson Pollock has dried out and is dandy...and it's in perfect working order. But all the pictures that were on it are lost to the ether. Which means - not a whole lot of blog pics, I'm afraid. I'll grab some from other peeps...and when I get back home to the big camera I'll share more. (Some of the pictures are ripped from Erin's facebook page - so thanks McCracken!).
If you'd like an example of the deluge of blerg that graced us... perhaps the finest illustration would be the morning we woke up and Rich discovered that the giant water heater for our apartment (housed in Rich's office) had burst. Not leaked. Not dribbled. Just plain burst. And flooded his office. But ohhhhh noooo... that wasn't the fun part. His office is directly above the only-a-few-months-old renovated Box Office. And apparently the floor in his office is made of some kind of colander material. Because when we clamored downstairs it was raining in the box office. Not like drizzling - amazon rainforest rain. The computer was in a puddle... the printer was swimming... the ceiling was bubbling. It was a grand old time. Rich looked about this happy...
The good news is that, other than the scuba diving printer, everything else was saved. But it was pretty much fun stuff like that all Christmas long. Things like somebody breaking a window over at the Opera House. Just cuz. If they had been trying to get into the Opera House to steal something at least that would have some discernable motivation. But since the Opera House's contents currently consist of dust, mould and smooshy floorboards... I think they just broke the window cuz they were bored. Ah well. HO ho ho.
Doing the Christmas Carol again was really fun. Chris, our stage manager, had worked on a giant cast adaptation at The Actors Theater of Louisville (a fantastic regional theater), and he had really interesting comments on areas of the script. The tricky thing was, that I'd never done it two performances in a row. And I was fighting a really wicked cold at the time. I got through the first show fine, and most of the second. But suddenly right about five minutes towards the end my voice just disappeared. It made a fun frog noise and then it just suddenly started to say "Enough is enough". It wasn't cuz I was using my voice badly... It was cuz I was sick and had been talking for four hours straight AND had been manipulating it so much to do all those characters. Which is not something I do everyday anymore...
So as I pretty much realized I had about three notes left in my vocal range that I could speak with...so I just kinda dragged myself through. A few weeks later the delectable Debbie Dyer arranged for me to do it again at the High School. For six hundred kids. Siiiixxxx hunddddredddddd. I was kind of terrified. Both Rich and I figured that I was gonna get eaten alive in some kind of paper airplane throwing, spit ball tornado. He instructed me "just keep going... no matter what...just keep going. Do not attempt to RETALIATE!". But it went great. Other than my microphone turned itself off about thirty seconds in... and we had to fix that... but the kids were really polite (granted Ann Siegfried was sitting in the audience with a machete and a stun gun), and according to Gretchen (who I didn't even realize was going to be in the audience), I did not entirely suck :)
Some of the challenges were a little more hilarious. On the last night of the show, when we were sold out to the gills, Erin's parents (who had already been and loved the show) were planning on bringing Erin's grandfather as a surprise to see the final performance. The day of the show we got an answering message from Erin's Dad saying that there was a minor change of plans and that night there would be EIGHT of them... that's a LOT of McCracken when you're sold out. We had them on the stairs... we had them on bar stools...we had them hanging from the ceiling fan! But considering they all came from Oklahoma - it meant a lot that her parents thought the show was good enough to encourage a mass Indiana crusade.
So, it seems like everybody is pretty happy to see the back of 2009. The economy finally hit us when Rich lost his job with the Hedge Fund he'd been working with since before we moved here. It wasn't a huge amount of money - but a steady, reliable income that really helped us keep progressing. So - that was a rough day. But when one door closes... Soon after I got an email from the head of Theatre over at IPFW (basically a Purdue branch in Fort Wayne). I had written to them when we first arrived in Huntington about teaching positions - and they didn't have anything available at the time. But, because one of their adjunct professors was taking a full-time job at the Dean's office, they needed to have someone take over her classes.
It was a tricky decision. The classes available were G.E. courses - General Ed, for non-majors. And I've never taught outside of a conservatory environment where the people taking the class had auditioned to get into the program... So it would be a very new thing for me. It was a MWF class - which meant three days a week would pretty much be shot driving back and forth to Fort Wayne. But, Rich and I talked about it, and it seemed like a great opportunity at a really opportune time. So I took it. Everyone at the department seems really nice, and the facility is lovely. So - for the moment - I'm a professor again. Our mascot is the Mastadon... which I am referring to as Mr. Snuffleuppagus. (and by the way, I just attempted to spellcheck Snuffleuppagus... it is ASTOUNDINGLY not in the Dictionary.) But it's nice, for once, to significantly be helping in the 'bringing home the bacon' department. And it allows me every so often to say to Rich "Nowwww that I'm the breadwinner" (and then run away as quickly as possible and hide). Of course, saying on a university teachers salary that I'm the breadwinner is also like saying that because Po pees on the grass she has invented a low-energy hydration system. But it's something.
So - right at the end of '09 we did get some spectularific news. Something that we've been working on for months - but I didn't wanna blog about it, cuz I was afraid we might jinx it or something. But we've signed the purchase agreement to buy the building next door to the theatre... currently know as the home of a lovely photography studio owned by Jolene. She actually owns two buildings next door to us. For a long time the next one over (two doors down from us) has been vacant. She had been trying to rent it since we've been in town without any luck. So Rich approached her about the idea of her moving next door to that building, and selling us the one which is adjacent to theatre.
Well it took a lot of consideration...Jolene would have to renovate that other building for her needs... but after thinking it over and agreeing that it was a great thing for everyone involved, we settled on a price, and we're buying it!! Whoo hoo. The amazing thing is that the buildings share a wall... which means we can actually knock through and connect the two. So it will no longer be just a theater... the Huntington will actually be a theatre complex. Which is what we always were hoping for. The space will allow us to put in a full size kitchen to accomdate the dining needs in the main auditorium... new mens rooms (which are soooo badly needed... the current mens room is like the size of a, well, bathroom... and has such a low ceiling that unless you're a cast member of "Little People Big World" you actually have to duck to use the urinal. No really. Duck)... and eventually a restaurant on the main floor (served by the same main kitchen). The other two floors will hold dressing rooms (which were always going to be a tight squeeze up above the stage on the sides) will now be a lot more plausable, along with a 'green room'. Also offices and rehearsal rooms... There is actually already a fantastic big dance studio room which will be great for rehearsals.
Cool right? I mean the building needs a lot of love (Jolene had beautifully renovated the front two rooms of the first floor - but the rest of it was sort of unused space.) But hey - it wouldn't be a Najuch purchase if it didn't need a complete makeover!
It's been a wacky wacky year. We've done NINE productions (New Years Day, The Tempest (which should count as eight itself), the Judy and Mickey, 3 summer, Sleepy Hollow, The Christmas Show, and Christmas Carol) . Renovated the box office... put in the new kitchen... started doing all the food in-house... bought a house, gutted the house, bought the opera house, started to gut the opera house, and bought the building next door. My goodness... when you look at it that way zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I guess that's why we're both tired. Plus we've got the schematics for the auditorium ready to go.
While I'm sitting here in the pseudo-sun (it's not quite as warm as you would enviously imagine...but it ain't bad - actually we had Hurricane force winds last night), Rich and Janice and Bob have apparently installed all the new windows at the new house. And, considering that it was 30 degrees while they were installing the windows, they are quite pleased to have them all in now. They've also been doing a chunk of removal work in the auditorium - removing the plywood stage addition and a bunch of other junk. I've been doing advertising stuff and writing out my syllabus and class calendar and going through the text book. Which I actually really like. Who figured out you could charge students $100 for a hardback book the size of a James Patterson novel? I mean... it's unbelievable. (mine is free...woot). anyhoo... Love you guys, glad to be back on the blog. BTW about 450 tickets are already sold for the summer... so it's clearly not something on which to procrastinate... New Years resolution number one, bloggies?? Season tickets!!!! :) Me.