Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

Thanksgiving ala Figurski

Pilgrim 3

Caitlin, Ryan, Keaton, Art

It’s Thanksgiving!

A time to reflect on days gone by. This is how the Figurski’s did it this year.

Art mixes the corn soup while Caitlin, Ryan, and Keaton look on in anticipation.

Pilgrims 2

Sarah, Ryan, Keaton

 

 

 

Sometimes it’s hard to wait your turn. Sarah, Ryan, and Keaton are anxious to get into the outhouse.

 

Sarah, Ryan, Caitlin, Art

Sarah, Ryan, Caitlin, Art

 

Turkey, stuffing, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, with marshmallows, roasted Brussel Sprouts, corn with red pepper, cranberry sauce, and gravy to smother it all was on the menu. YUM!

 

It’s a feast! Sarah, Ryan, Caitlin, and Art are ready to dig in.

Cooking the Turkey 1

Eric, Kathy, Donna, Patrice, Pat cookin’ the bird.

Eric, Pat

Eric, Pat

 

 

 

Eric, Kathy, Donna, Patrice, and pale Pat cookin’ the bird.

 

 

Eric and Pat keeping lookout in the crow’s nest while serenading their friends below.

Out House

David, Donna, Tom

 

 

 

 

Treasure Test

Kathy, David, Tom, and Hank checking out the treasure chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos compliments of JibJab.

 

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November 27, 2014 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , | Leave a comment

TidBits About Donna #70 Blog in Review 2013

Thank you to all who visited my site this year. A bigger thanks for those of you have subscribed and who are following me. A personal shout out to Colleen G. who made the most comments. And a hug to my biggest and “bestest” fan, David, who reads every post. Even better, he ALWAYS votes.

This will be my 197th post since I began my blog in December of 2010 and I’ve had more than 15,000 views.  My goal is to make my readers laugh, to make them cry, to make them look deeper.

Say It Ain’t So looks more carefully at controversial issues – something on which to take a stand.

Anything Writing and Writing Craft has to do with … well that’s obvious.

TidBits About Donna is where you would look if you really want to know more about me and Musings by Donna is if you want to know what is knocking around inside my head. Both TidBits and Musings also offer insight into life in the disability lane as David and I make our way through the maze of Traumatic Brain Injury.

If you’re looking for a great picture book for the child in your life, then check out Teacher’s Pets: Book Reviews. Be prepared to laugh as you read, not only my reviews, but the reviews of the thKIDDLE CRITers, a group of six- to eleven-years-olds, as they discuss the books with me. Lesson plans for teachers are included to be used with the reviewed books.

There are two posts Living in 3rd Grade and On School that provide glimpses into the world of teaching. Some of them are great for new teachers. Some posts are just silly, poignant stories that happened in my classroom – names changed to protect the infamous. Some include fully prepared lesson plans, guidance, and quick tips.

I hope you will visit often. There’s something here for every reader. Below you can find out the statistics of my Blog in Review for the year 2013. Enjoy. And Don’t forget to subscribe.

As I say after each post:

Please leave a Comment by simply clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Feel free to Like my post.

You can also Vote for my post by clicking on a star. (David needs company.)

If you enjoy my blog, please pass it on to all your friends and they to theirs. (I’d like to drive up the readership. Sometimes it feels like I am wrting in a vacuum. So go ahead. Send it to 10 of your friends.)

If you hate my blog, go ahead and send it to your enemies. (10 enemies would be good.) I won’t mind.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

Year in Review 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TidBits About Donna #69 It’s Not MY Birthday!

It’s Not MY Birthday!

birthday cake th-1I always received a birthday call from my father on December 17th … but that’s NOT my birthday. My birthday’s December 7th – always has been. But my dad never called me on December 7th … and I never expected him to.

But on December 17th my phone would ring and I knew it would be him.

“Guess I forgot again – huh, Donna Marie?” he’d say.

“Yep, you did, Daddy.” Then I’d start to sing, “Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, Dear Daddy!”birthday06a

My dad always forgot my birthday … but he always remembered it on December 17th – his birthday. It was fun pseudo-sharing the same birth day.

He won’t be calling today. He hasn’t called in a lot of years. But, that won’t stop me from reliving the memories of his calls. I’ll be remembering both of our birthdays today and whispering, “Happy Birthday, Daddy.”

Daddy & Donna

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December 17, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , | 5 Comments

TidBits About Donna #68 Camp Across America – Letter to a Son

Chest th

Camp Across America

As David and I prepare to move our lives and our “stuff” across country to our new home, we are stumbling on many treasures that we “stuffed” into our memory trunks. Pictures of the children growing up,Jared awards they received at school, ribbons and medals they won from events on the soccer and track fields, their report cards, and most precious of all letters written both by them to us and us to them. The following letter is one small treasure.

Jared and I camped across the country the summer we drove his car from New Jersey to Santa Cruz before his sophomore year at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  (UCSC)  I fondly remember the trip.

Dear Jared,

How many moms are fortunate to have their own personal nature guide on a cross country trip? How many moms can boast that they spent their summer traveling with their son – camping no less? How many sons make their moms feel as special as you make me feel?

Our trip has come to an end, but the memories will continue to grow. For me it has been a glorious few weeks … weeks that I will never forget. The time we have spent together will always be precious to me. I try to think which part was the most special, but I am unable to because each day brought more and greater surprises. The flight of the red-tailed hawk, the bisonsCamping th ambling lazily across our path, the solitary whale, the night hawk… otherwise known as the night jar, the Brewers blackbird, the swallows, Wilson’s warbler and the meadowlark, as well as the brown pelican, which is my newest love, are just some of the new wonders I can now call my own. And, since it will not be an easy task to spot the pelican in inland New Jersey, I must soon return to the California coast where I left my heart behind.

Thank you for these special gifts that you have given to me. There won’t ever be a time that I glance into the sky and Turkey vulture-9see a turkey vulture that my mind won’t immediately be drawn to you and of our trip.

Jared, you are a very special person and a wonderful son. Always remember that I love you dearly.

Love Mom

August 31, 1995

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August 23, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TidBits About Donna #67 Right-Brained or Left-Brained

spinning-lady-brain-testDid you know your brain is made up of two parts – the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. Both sides of your brain work together, but they can also act separately.

The right hemisphere of your brain controls the actions on the left side of your body. While the left hemisphere controls your right side. For example, when you raise your right hand to wave to a friend, your left hemisphere is controlling your hand. If you raise your left eyebrow, like Groucho Marx,  your right hemisphere is in charge.

Your left hemisphere helps you to process language – reading, writing, and speaking. It helps with reasoning and logic and math skills. It also helps to process scientific knowledge. Left-brain thinkers are critical thinkers.Left-Right Brain 2b-598x441

Your right hemisphere is responsible for creativity. Art and music are two activities that may come easy to a right-brain thinker. Reading emotions and expressing them are also dominant in a right-brain thinker. Folks with a dominant right brain may be out-of-the-box thinkers. They look at things differently. A box is confined space. It’s limited. When someone is thinking out-of-the-box more divergent thinking may occur.

Most people are either dominant right- or left-brain thinkers. Have you ever wondered which you are?

I’m definitely right-brain dominant. I’m a writer, an actor, a jewelry designer, and I’m a teacher – a creative teacher. Most of the activiRight Arrow1-left-blueties and projects in my classroom were teacher-made – designed and created by me to lure children into learning. I am always thinking out-of-the-box. I don’t know why – I just do. Guess it’s the darn right brain.

I’m definitely left-brain dominant. I’m a user of language – writing, Left Arrow thspeaking, reading. I’m logical and love to categorize everything. You should see my Excel and FileMaker Pro Data projects. If it moves, I’ll database it.

I love that my brain switches, constantly, between both my right and left hemisphere. It allows me to be versatile. It encourages my Exhausted Girl eM+CARTOON+TEARING+OUT+HAIRdivergent thinking, while still keeping me grounded. But sometimes it’s exhausting.

You may have been wondering why the young woman above is perpetually twirling. She is your test. Take a few moments and stare at her. You are using your right brain, if you see her turning clockwise. If she is turning counter-clockwise, then you are using your left brain. If you can see her switch back and forth, then you are using both sides of your brain – like me. Let me know.

I took a test at Chatterbean to test my left vs. right brain. again I scored a balanced brain. What more could I ask for?

Here’s my evaluation.

Are You a Right-Brain Thinker?

Your quiz score makes you: Balanced Thinker

Now that you’ve completed our enlightening quiz, you probably know you’re a mix of a right-brain thinker and a left-brain thinker! The best of both worlds!

(Roger Sperry was awarded the Nobel Prize for his brain-related work in 1981. If this topic fascinates you as it does me, you can learn more at these sites.)

Chatterbean

Which Way Do You Spin?

Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World

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August 13, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

TidBits About Donna #66 Dewey Decimal System

Where Do I Fit Into the Dewey Decimal System?

(Reposted and Tweaked from My Website.)
January 2010
SpaceFem.com

I love books. Reading and writing are some of my favorite activities. I love browsing though books stores. The library is the BEST! It’s free! I think I am its best client. I marvel at how librarians keep so many books in order? Simple! They use the Dewey Decimal System.

The Dewey Dewey Decimal thDecimal System, created by Melvil Dewey in 1876, is used to categorize books on library shelves. I am so grateful to Mr. Dewey because what a mess libraries would be without his expertise. They would be total chaos.

With Dewey’s system, anyone can locate books about Science in the 500s, Religion in the 200s, and Language in the 400s. When I’m feeling political or caught up in the fervor of world issues, I would search for books in the 900 section. If I’m interested in learning about Philosophy or Psychology, I’d look in the 100 section. Have you ever wondered what you would be about if you were a book? If you could be catalogued? Have you ever wondered where you would fit in in Dewey’s system? I admit – I have.

Alive BookCartoon3I’m very language/word focused. I like to tell stories and hear them. I particularly like to write stories and I love to enact stories on the stage. So, I guess I would be most comfortable in Section 700 – the Arts. Of course, I also love spoken languages – Spanish in particular. That would land me in the 400s.

Where do you fit into the Dewey Decimal System?

Try the activity at SpaceFem and let me know.

495 Languages of East & Southeast Asia

Donna Dewey

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at:

Spacefem.com

My chart is right on! At least the part about Language and Linguistics. And … I do find East and Southeast Asia fascinating. Though to be entirely true, it would be anything Latino that captivates me.

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August 10, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TidBits About Donna #65 Colorful Me!

What Color Am I?

SpaceFem.com

(Reposted from Donna’s Website January 201o Funny Stuff About Me.)

I had to choose a variety of characteristics that I believe apply to me, like … motivated, loyal, competitive, friendly, hard-working, compassionate, and dramatic. Those were just some of the attributes that I chose from the long, long list of more than 60 qualifications.

thIt turns out I am orchid. Funny … that has been my color of choice lately. I have several purple shirts and a purple bracelet and even my necklace has a lot of purple in it.

There must be some truth in this color quiz.

    I am Orchid

Your dominant hues are red and blue.

You’re confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is lower than average – You don’t stress out over things and don’t understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

June 9, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , | Leave a comment

TidBits About Donna #64 She Was Just Gram

WOW!

You might imagine my excitement when I answered my cell phone and heard Gloria Chambers-Benoit’s (pronounced Ben-Wah) voice tell me that I was a winner of the 2013 Essex County Legacy Contest.

th

I sent the piece, She Was Just Gram a week before the deadline in late March. Then I forgot about it. A lot of things took my mind away from the contest – my writing groups (at least 2 each week), my breakfast or lunches or book club meetings with my teacher friends, the push to finish and submit my book about David’s TBI (traumatic brain injury) to agents, Donna & BAnner 4working in the theater four nights a week, and my two emergency surgeries. I never expected to win the contest and after I dropped the manuscript in the mail, it flew from my mind.

I had written a piece last year too. Though it didn’t win, I attended the award luncheon with a writer friend in Donna Podiumsupport of the winners. They read their pieces to a jam-packed room full of guests. The competition was impressive. It was good practice to watch.

Now it was my turn to address nearly 270 people. I stood behind a podium so large it nearly swallowed me whole. I adjusted the microphone, looked out at the audience, thanked my hosts, Jaklyn De Vore and Gloria Chambers-Benoit, took a deep breath, and began . . .  She Was Just Gram.

Gram for Blog

She Was Just Gram

She was just Gram – rotund, soft, and loving. And she was old too.  After all, she was a grandmother. My grandmother. We didn’t see each other often, but we were close. I think we bonded when, as an infant, my parents left me with her while they searched for our new home more than a hundred miles away. Our love grew as we shared visits throughout my childhood. It strengthened when I lived with her again the first months of my freshman year of college. My fondest memories of Gram are her visits with me in my own home in Rochester, New York when I was a young wife and mother. She came for extended visits – visits that were “short,” though they were three weeks long.

But in all my years with Gram, I never considered her as anyone other than “My Gram.” I never thought of her as a child or as a teenager or as a young mother. I had tucked Gram away in a nice little box – just for me. I didn’t think about what her world had been like as she moved through her life. Did she like to play in the sandbox when she was a toddler? Or swing on the swings – so high – her feet nearly scraping the clouds? What was her favorite subject in school? Did she struggle with her multiplication tables in third grade, as I had? Did she love to read and spend much of her time in the library, like me? Who was her best friend? Did they have sleepovers and share their most secret of secrets? Or walk to school together and giggle about the boys in their classes? Who was her first crush? As a young woman when she met Pop, my grandfather, did she fall head-over-heals about him, as I did when I met my husband, David? As she raised her children, my father and my aunt, did she fret by their beds when they were ill? Did she dab that smelly pink lotion on their chickenpox? Did she carpool them to soccer games and dance classes? Probably not! Soccer was not popular in Gram’s day. And I don’t think Gram drove. I never saw her drive. I don’t even know if she and Pop owned a car. So how did she go shopping – for food – for clothes? I only saw her in her frumpy “house dresses” – dresses that she thought were stylish. Did she beam with pride when her son graduated college? When her daughter walked down the aisle to begin her married life? These life moments will remain a mystery to me because as a self-centered, doted-upon granddaughter I never asked those all-telling questions. I saw my grandmother only as a woman whose arms folded me in as she hugged me – as she loved me. I knew her as the woman who pampered me and with whom I could do no wrong. She treated me as a princess. I guess that is the definition of a grandmother – the epitome of a grandmother. And now I am a grandmother too. I’m a granny … to my two granddaughters. Will they know my dreams? Will they know what made me laugh or cry? Will they know what impassioned me? Will they know my love of reading and writing and the theatre? Will they know that teaching was my life? I don’t know. Have they tucked me away too in a little box, as I had Gram?

When I think of Gram now I wonder … she must have had dreams … hopes … passions. Don’t we all? I wonder what moved her world. What made her happy and sad? But I’ll never know because, as a young girl, I thought Gram would be here forever; and I didn’t pay attention. I regret not tapping into her innermost self. And now those answers will be forever a mystery.

But if I could have Gram back for just one more precious day, if I could align the stars to merge our worlds, if we could both be grannys together, I would not waste those moments. We would join our lives as we stroll through the parks walking and talking arm through arm – like girlfriends. We could compare our grandmother worlds and whisper about our grandchildren and sip coffee at the local daily grind. And I would slip back into her world of horse and carriage days … her days with no television and two-party-line telephones and silent movies. I would find out if she liked jazz as I liked folk music or new age? If she finger-waved her hair and styled it with pincurls, as I blow mine dry and use a flat iron to straighten it? I wonder what she would think of our world affairs, our social networks. Oh, she would have a lot to say about them, I am sure. Was Gram so different from me or I from her? I don’t think so. If we could have just one more day, we could tie our worlds together. And I would fold her in my arms and hug her … if we had only one more day!

th-1PS

Gram is never far from my mind. She is with me every day. With her wedding ring that I wear on my finger – she is daily present – if only in my mind … and heart.

More Winners!

{Sara Turner, Peg La Vake, Joe Cervasio (wife, Maria), Donald Hults}

IMG_6726

IMG_6730

{Peg La Vake

{The folks behind the scenes who made the contest happen. Gloria Chambers-Benoit, Jaklyn DeVore and their staff}

Gloria Chambers-Benoit

Jakly DeVore and Ladies

carousel_image_ed32ca90b4f00e367206_2013_legacies_group

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(Photos compliments of ME.)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Group Photo compliments of (Senior Citizen “Legacies” Award Winners Announced.)

June 5, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TidBits About Donna #63 Be Gone Old Year – With Fond Memories, I Remember You

Last year at about this time, I wondered what the new year would bring. I know now. And now I wonder what this new year of 2013 will bring. Bye 2012 Welcome 2013 thIt’s a timeless wonder.

Before I embrace 2013, I want to remember the year gone by and release it … wash it away. So I spent some moments remembering – remembering the good, joyful and fun times – and remembering, too, the trying, challenging ones.

Last New 123112 Renee Jim New Years' EveYear of 2012 started with having dinner with our friends Renee and Jim on NKathy & Sam New Year's Day 2013ew Year’s Eve at a special, favorite restaurant of ours, Euro Lounge Cafe. On January 1st, we celebrated the new year with my Nancy & Andy New Year's Day 2013cousin, Kathy, and her husband, Sam. We started the new year off right with both family and friends. This year 2013, we did the same – but we invited more friends, Nancy and Andy, to celebrate at our traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner on New Year’s Day.

In January of 2012, I joined the “Challenge” in my town with my friend and neighbor, Dina. I attended many health related workshops, including nutritional classes, exercise classes, and Reiki meditation classes. I loved the mstretch band exercis theditation classes, even though, try as I did, I could not feel the “heat energy.” Still it was relaxing. On Tuesday afternoons, I pulled and tugged on green, red, and blue latex bands to the music of the 60s, as I stretched muscles I didn’t know I had. My new friends, Elena, Camille, Anne, and Janet did too. When the class ended, we promised to continue our exercise together with walk/talks – but, we haven’t yet.Teacher Book Group th We may still. I hope so.

Every month I meet my fellow retired teachers for breakfast at a local coffee shop, where we spend a lot of time catching up and rehashing our days in the classroom. Carol kicks off the breakfasts each year with a big, breakfast bash at her house in January. Oh the food that we bring! We also have a book group, which is a lot of fun. Books and Bagles! Some of my favorite books are Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Is there a theme here? Strong women? My favorite bagels are cinnamon-raisin and garlic-onion. I can’t pick only one.

I spend a lot of hours with my writing group, the Montclair Write Group. They sponsor more than twenty writing-related activities each month. In Support Group, we share what we have accomplished writing-wise during the week with our fellow writers. It’s an accountability thing. We engage in lively discussions about anything writing – the craft, the business of writing, the process; and we offer each other tips and encouragement. Every other week, I join about six to twelve other writers in the Writing Room, where we … write. Writing Group thAs Carl describes it, “Minimal chit-chat, maximum write-write!” And he’s right. Five minutes of greeting and pleasantries; and all heads are down either in notebooks or computers. I pop my headphones on, set my music to soft New Age, and I’m gone. I am in the zone. Two hours later, I surface for a quick goodbye to the writers who are leaving – most do. Then I hunker down with the one or two others who are there for the long term – usually Alexandra. We write for about three more hours. About four times a year, I read my work at the Montclair Write Group Showcase. Once I even read at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey. (You can read more about that here, TidBits About Donna #58 Montclair Write Group Showcase – Literary Lounge at Luna Stage – West Orange, NJ.) It’s so valuable to hear the positive comments of the audiences, and it’s fun to hear the work of my fellow writers.

Every week, I meet with Carl, Karin, and Janet at a local coffee house for a two-hour-plus writing session. Again I zone out with my music and words. It’s during these DWTs (dedicated writing times, pronounced “dwits”) that I am moving my memoir, Prisoner …,  forward. (Full title will be revealed at a later date. I am in the final revision stage.) I love these writing times with fellow writers and friends. I also attend my Nutley writer’s group called Pen to Prose each month, if I am not in the theater.

stage thI spend countless hours in the Nutley Little Theatre. I have acted in two performances this year: Sordid Lives as Peggy Ingram – dead in a coffin (not as easy as it sounds) and a gypsy-like, nosy neighbor in A Bad Year for Tomatoes. I acted in two Reader’s Theatre performances, All the City Lights and A Sordid Holiday Reunion, in which, though I was still dead, I was in a picture frame and could interact with the audience.Frog in School th Tons of fun! I had the great fortune to be mentored by three marvelous directors, Marvin Krieger, Don Scheffrin, and Penny Potenz Winship, as I produced, cast, and directed my own show, A School is NO Place for a Frog, which I first wrote as a picture book and later adapted as a stage play. I had an amazing cast, and they brought my story to life. To see my work performed on stage was a dream come true. I am now the assistant stage manager for our current show, Glengarry Glen Ross. Since 2010, I have also worked on crews for set construction and have wielded many a paintbrush as I dabbed blues, browns, and grays on living room, cottage, and office walls. I even helped to paint the backdrop of the New York City skyline for one show. I am learning all facets of stage production and am grateful to the Nutley Little Theatre for these opportunities.

Designing jewelry is another outlet for my creativity. The possibilities are endless, and no two pieces are ever the same. When I need to get img_3967-egyptian-summer1away from it all, I simply escape to my studio. It is different way to zone out, and it is so relaxing. Here’s a favorite piece. You can see other pieces at diemodi jewlery. If you ever feel a desire to have your own one-of-a-kind creation, contact me.

The year has had its challenges too. Hurricane Sandy roared through and caused havoc. Trees toppled over like straws; but we had no real damage, unlike many unfortunate others. Knee surgery slowed me down physically for a few months. And medical insurance woes are ever-present. The challenges are not going away. I’ll deal with them – we all must, but I prefer to focus on the fun things – the theater, my writing, my family and friends. So I will wash away the old year. I will let it go with both its happy memories and its worries, and I will begin the new year with anticipation – ready to make new memories.

What are your thoughts about the year gone by? What are your expectations for the new?

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

January 13, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TidBits About Donna #62 No Business Like Show Business

“There’s No Business Like Show Business” is a song written for the musical,Annie Get Your Gun th Annie Get Your Gun, which was a Broadway hit in 1946. The song depicts the glamour and excitement of performing on Broadway or in any theatrical production. And if a performance is done well, the audience will see only the glitz and magic under the bright lights. That is the job, the hard work, of the performer as she sweats through hours and tedium of read-throughs and rehearsals. Committing her lines to memory – spouting them upon waking and whispering them before drifting off to sleep at night, saying them in the shower and mouthing them while driving down the road – hoping the driver next to her at the stop light will not think she is crazy – talking to herself. That is what is required of an actor. She must morph into her character trying on different faces and voices – finding new ways to stand and move – becoming someone she is not – but who she will be when the curtain parts – when all eyes fall on her – when the magic begins.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of this excitement in the few shows that I have been involved in. See TidBits About Donna #44 Taking Center Stage to see some of them. I know the hard work and the excitement that goes into preparing a show in my local community theatre, The Nutley Little Theatre. nutley little theatre imagethI have worked the box office, have greeted guests as house manager, and have worked on set construction. I’ve been mentored by three of the theatre’s great directors. I adapted a children’s picture book, which I wrote, to a stage play and directed it under the guidance of my mentoring directors. I have acted in several Reader’s Theatre productions (Fleece, Bench, A Twisted Yuletide Gathering, All the City Lights, and A Sordid Holiday Reunion) and in two full-length plays, (Sordid Lives and A Bad Year for Tomatoes.) My next project will be as assistant stage manager for Glengarry Glen Ross. I love everything about the theater.

I love to be in the audience for shows too. Seeing a show on Broadway is the ultimate in theatrical production and I am fortunate to live close to New York City allowing me the opportunity to see a number of Broadway and Off Broadway shows. Recently I saw Emotional Creature thEmotional Creature and Cougar the Musical.Cougar the Musical Both of these Off Broadway productions were amazing. The energy was palpable. I watched these shows with new awareness. I wondered what the actors were doing when they were not on stage, if they worried about messing up a line, if they had to rush to do a change. I was in awe as tears flowed down one actor’s face. How does she do it? How does she make herself cry day after day? How does she make herself feel? Talent is the simple answer. Dedication and love quickly follow.

As an audience member, I have experienced the span of emotions, fear, happiness, anger, sadness, sympathy, and surprise. I have laughed. I have cried.

The shows that most affected me were Les Miserable 200px-LesMisLogoLes Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, which I saw numerous times. Les Misérables (5) Phantom of the The Phantom of the Opera 3.9529Opera (2). They were the shows we took house guests to see.

Fiddler on the Roof, Grapes of Wrath, and The Year of Magical Thinking were the most touching. The music is amazing Fiddler on the Roof 215px-Fiddler_on_the_roof_posterin Fiddler. And truthfully, I know every song. I have read nearly everything John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath, has written. The Grapes of Wrath 145px-GrapesPosterHe  seeks the truth in his characters. The Year of The Year of Magical ThinkingMagical Thinking was  profound. Vanessa Redgrave, in this one woman show, beautifully portrayed Joan Didion’s account of her husband’s and her life when he died.

Mamma Mia! will have you dancing in your seats. I know I was.Mamma Mia! 11.63789 Chicago is steamy. Its music and choreography are the bestThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee images. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is pure fun.Chicago 2.133323

Nunsense II sent me back in time to the classroom door of my elementary school in Erie, Pennsylvania. A Funny Think Happened on the Way to the Forum 240px-A-Funny-Thing-Happened-on-the-Way-to-the-ForumBy the sounds of the laughter Nunsense II 51HlZNUovlL._SL500_AA300_and the groans of the audience, I wasn’t the only one transported back to preteen years. Whoopi Goldberg was hilarious in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

West Side Story2.135139West Side Story is a favorite from childhood. I loved Annie. Who wouldn’t? A Chorus Line,A Chorus Line 215px-ChorusLine Cabaret, Cabaret tumblr_m7kzsqFeKk1r06nimo1_400Rent, and Dreamgirls – the staples of BroadwaDreamgirls 98872y.

Rent 4.151819I first saw I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Farleigh I Love you, Your'e Perfect, Now Change 215px-I_Love_You,_You're_Perfect,_Now_Change_1996_OoBCRDickinson University in New Jersey. I knew it would be a hit and wasn’t  surprised to see it find its way to a theater Off Broadway. I saw Miss Saigon imagesMiss Saigon both on Broadway and in the Warner Theater in Erie, Pennsylvania. Surprisingly, it was in Erie that I fell in love with it.

The house lights are up, show music fills the air, the audience streams through the doors and stumbles to their seats, cell phones are turned off, excitement builds. Backstage the actors dab a last bit of makeup and fluff their hair, quickly run-though  lines to quell the butterflies, and then …

Then the curtain rises …

It’s Show Time!

December 3, 2012 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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