Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Character, Being Proven

The Music Man opens in two weeks (eleven days, really), so Darwin and I went out to dinner on Saturday night, taking advantage of one of our last free evenings until the show closes. It was a lovely dinner, outside on the airy patio of a Turkish restaurant, and we had delicious, free-ranging, in-depth discussion of the kind we treasure so much. On the way home, we drove one of our favorite routes, a moody, leafy lane along the river.  

"I love you," said Darwin, kissing my hand. "We're heading into a busy time, but I love being busy with you."

"Yes," I sighed. "I wouldn't do it with anyone else."

"I know it's going to be crazy this next week, with William at Webelos camp..."


"Camp is this week, right?"

"...It's not on the calendar."

"I could have sworn I put it on the calendar."

"Hon, are you telling me that we signed William up for camp the week before production week? He's in the show. And Diana has CGS training all this week, down in Columbus."

"Well, you said at the time that you didn't know if you'd put him onstage because he wasn't behaving."

"...I did say that, yes."

I outsource my memory to Google, it turns out, and what is not on the calendar is not in my brain, but this system only holds when events are put on the calendar. This week the calendar has its revenge. It seems I have scheduled two children for activities in opposing directions of Ohio, while I run rehearsal four nights a week (and Saturday morning) for a show that opens next Friday. 

But affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, which does not disappoint (Romans 5:4-5). It is easy, of course to be loving and graceful after a perfect dinner date, and another thing to be able to pivot elegantly and with good cheer. How else is my true character revealed to my husband or my children except through how I act when faced with obstacles or setbacks? 

Here's one thing I've learned: it's lots easier to suddenly pack up a kid for Webelos camp than to have weeks to get stuff for the diocesan youth summer camp, and it's easier packing up boys than girls, and it's powers of ten easier to pack for Kid #6 than for the older kids, because we already have everything we need sitting around. All we had to buy was a beater sleeping bag, and that only because we didn't want to send the high-quality Scout camping bags with the 10yo. I also spent Sunday afternoon planning a carpool for the 13yo's training in Columbus, so that I only need to drive down to drop off three chatty teens on two mornings, neither of which is the day camp begins or ends. 

Some of the time I spent planning for camp was time I'd meant to spend reblocking part of my show, because I'd counted on having a traveller curtain midstage to close, making it easier to do big set changes quickly during transitional scenes played downstage. The very script has a traveller written into the stage directions for this purpose. However, since the last time our company was in the theater, the tattered old traveller was removed, and in its place two nice velvet legs now hang -- much neater, but less functional for my purposes, as they're only for masking the wings and aren't wide enough to draw all the way across the stage. And so we'll need to pull the main curtain and play our short scenes in the side alcoves or on the stairs leading up to the stage. This challenge, while at first frustrating, has led to more creative, more effective staging than my original concept, and the show will be better for it. 

So today I'm sitting with my script and my music cues, finishing up marking out exactly how each of these transitions will play. Because I have to do this work, I'll have it ready to give my music director and my backstage manager, so that when we move into the theater next week for tech rehearsals, we won't have to be figuring out this timing on the fly when we're also trying to set lights and sound. And affliction is producing endurance, which produces proven character, which produces hope, which does not disappoint.

Our local paper has a writeup about The Music Man -- read all about it! And if you're in Central Ohio over June 21-23, come join us in River City. You can eat your fill of all the food you bring yourself.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Guest Post: Is there really an "anarchic" character to modern Catholicism?

19 years ago today, a 26 year old wrote a post entitled "Kick-off" in these virtual pages, declaring his intention to try his hand at blogging. It's odd to think how long this blog has been a part of our lives, but one of the very best things about it is having made a number of friends whom we met here.

One of those is named Agnes and writes from Hungary (where she was once kind enough to host our eldest for a couple days during her semester in Europe.)  She sent an email in response to my recent post on "The Anarchic Character of Modern Catholicism" which struck me as detailed and thoughtful enough to be a good guest post on its own, and so with her permission I post it below: