1. This past month I've been teaching an acting class for homeschoolers, using Shakespeare as our texts. Our final project was Act 3 Scene 4 from Macbeth, the banquet scene in which Banquo's ghost shows up and puts a crimp in Macbeth's social life. I was working with my Macbeth, talking about how I wanted him to slam down his goblet when he saw the ghost. "Avaunt! Quit my sight!' I bellowed at the ghost, and banged the goblet on the table. The stem shattered on impact, gouging my finger deeply. The actors around the table took one look at the blood and glass all over my hand, and did exactly what their characters were supposed to do: screamed and jumped back from the table. In our performance today, that moment was perhaps the crispest bit of the whole scene -- apparently a little blood teaches more than hours of direction.
2. Butterfly bandages are awesome at closing gaping cuts.
3. Speaking of blood, Macbeth is a show that requires buckets of gore. We needed to smear the face of the murderer with blood, and douse Banquo's head (my favorite line of our scene was Macbeth shouting at the ghost, "Thou can'st not say I did it. Never shake thy gory locks at me!"). I tried working off this recipe for blood, using the "gouts and smears" formula, but the chocolate syrup was just too brown to overcome with red food coloring. I must say, though, that my skin felt nice and soft after I rinsed a test smear off my face. For performance, we ended up using a some professional stage blood that I'd unearthed from my college stage makeup kit. The stuff was ten years old, but it looked most convincingly fresh dripping down Banquo's face.
4. After the Goblet Incident, Darwin ventured out to Target looking for some unbreakable goblets, and returned with these impressive plastic specimens. Not only were all fingers safe during performance, but we can use them to replace all the broken wine glasses at our house.
5. Speaking of drama and children: the three-year-old has recently discovered her inner drama queen. We've seen a number of hissy fits lately -- fits that are, I might add, immediately discouraged. The other night, she was angry at Darwin about something before family prayers. We all knelt down, and he asked her to lead a Hail Mary, reasoning that it might soften her mood to do something constructive. She complied, and pronounced the prayer in an unusually clear voice, right up to "...blessed is the fruit of your womb...". Then, looking up at Darwin with a glint in her eye, she finished up: "Ugly."*
*She had to sit on the couch while everyone else went upstairs to get ready for bed, and when Darwin came down to get her, she was suitably and tearfully contrite and declared that she was ready to pray now, Daddy.
6. Speaking of children: I have rarely seen a child with so little hair as Jack. A friend of mine just had a baby five weeks early. Her baby, only 5 lbs. 8 oz., was born with more hair than Jack has now.
You can see Jack's hair, if the light is just so. Darwin says, "Jack's hair is still very... subtle."
7. My sister tells me that her cell ringtone for all the rest of her family is "You're So Vain". Personally, I don't think that song captures my unique essence.
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