Monday, November 16, 2009

On the rise again

It took a while but we seem to be back on track now. (see previous post if you are lost) All our body bits are functioning as they are meant to, given 50 years of wear and tear, the brains have stopped rattling around and we have, (I should say Steve has) sorted out insurance issues. I took messages a couple of times.

Steve had planned to take the Monday of last week off anyhow, but he was somewhat stressed, re-living the accident over and over. This is how he brought himself back out of the world of instant replay. It is a lovely whole wheat sour dough bread. Lots of kneading and pummeling to get this fine shape.

I struggled longer with the replay loop but eventually managed to get a few rows of knitting done while watching some silly movies during the week and my head is now on again.

My friend Cheryl and I had planned many weeks ago to head out to Port Williams on Tuesday the 10th for a rousing good beer and an overnight stay at the Old Orchard Inn. We are working on a Christmas Pantomime play and we have both been so over programmed this fall that we decided we needed a writer's retreat to get back on the path.

Naturally we stopped in at Guy's Frenchy in Canning and tried on skirts. I tried them on over my bluejeans. This was a first for Cheryl. She thought it was very bold of me not to take my knickers off and see if the skirts actually fit or not. I thought it was rather a kindness not to bare my legs, since my shins would out-hair a gorilla and looking at a skirt with hairy shins and orange ankle socks would not improve the image any more than looking at the skirt with bluejeans hanging below. We agreed to disagree. However, Cheryl was inspired and pulled two skirts out of the bin and bought them WITHOUT trying them on at all. Who's the bold girl?

We arrived at the Old Orchard Inn and drifted back into the 70's. The lobby had floor quarried tiles from the era of green tones with hits of dull red. Our bathroom was a pristine moment from the summer of 1974. I don't know why 1974, it just was. There are 2” x 2” brown tiles that made little sunflowers and sunshines where the corners intersected. For those of you old enough to be drinking underage in 1974, there was a church key still attached to the bathroom wall. The shower tiles were brown, beige and dark brown daisies, that were interspersed with cream tiles and they formed a daisy tree in the overall effect. I should have been more active with the camera I realize. How can this description go without a visual and be truly appreciated. Lesson learned.

Here's the view and here's the room.

Cheryl and I had sat down a few weeks ago and crafted a chart of how the play's actions would go. It is meant to be read from left to right. Character names on the left, gradual progression of action as you move right, circles representing where characters interact and the final conclusion that had us completely confused. As you can see from the light printing, the only firm thing we knew was where the scenes (in blue) began and ended. The rest was a bit waffly. Completely open to re-negotiation.

The play is a spoof on Hansel and Gretel. The only request we have received is that the witch be really evil. However Cheryl is a tender-hearted soul and has had trouble imagining the demise of the witch. Actually, she has as evil an imagination as I do, but she gets squeamish. I don't have so much trouble whacking her (the witch's, not Cheryl's) head off, but realize this is a play where many children will attend and in previous years there has always been one child who is desperately afraid of the witch and sobs through the whole play. This is distracting during a comedy, so I agree, the witch can't be too evil and she needs a funny ending, not dismemberment by elephants.

To resolve the witch's demise, we have been giving her back stories so that we can a) turn her from a nutty witch into a menopausal woman who has disguised herself as an evil witch to get away from her children and follow her true love, baking (some possible projection going on there); b) had the witch be a dragon in disguise, fleeing from other fairy tales that kill the dragon off and a prince will come into save the day who likes dragons (that sounds a bit more like me); c) turned the witch into a real estate agent who loves scenic cottages and became “enchanted” herself by an evil cookbook. We'd both been watching too much HGTV when we collapse at day's end. All this to avoid the real ending of Hansel and Gretel where the two hellions trick the blind witch with twigs and shove her into the oven and cook her up.

In exhaustion, we decided the witch was a witch who was really hungry all the time. She is so greedy for food that ending up in the stew pot is a natural progression. I can't give the ending away, that would be a spoiler and I hope many of you attend our play next Christmas, not this one. Besides, as you can see from the light pencil markings, Cheryl and I often have trouble sustaining a decision.

Around dinner we skeedaddled over to Port Williams and the restaurant “The Port” and had fabulous burgers, sweet potato fries and lovely dark ale. So very, very yummy.

We didn't talk about the play at all, but became serious about cancer, communication skills for medical students (a bit of our work life crept in there), Arizona – because we are thinking about dragging our husbands there for a week away. We don't know why we think this would be fun, but we do. We also covered beer, brassieres and baking.

Back at the Old Orchard, tiles still sparkling, we managed to turn our little pencil strokes into this.

Notice how much firmer the writing is. We decided upon a structure and having a clear plan on offing the witch made it so much simpler to decide who had to do what and when. We managed to figure out who was singing (pantomimes have musical bits thrown in all over the place) and what kind of singing would go on. We figured out two nasty spells, a botched rescue attempt and 4 love scenes. Then we went to our separate beds. We thought we'd get up and start writing dialogue by 8, get breakfast by 9, finish up and head home by lunch.

We snored the morning away until 9, made it in for breakfast by 9:30, forgot we had planned to do dialogue and god knows what we were talking about. Our mouths rarely stop moving when we are together. On our way out of the dining room we saw this:

We laughed ourselves silly. Turns out you guys in Halifax had a revised version because when I told Steve all about it, he looked vague. Wolfvillians will get shot, Haligonians will get shots. What an un= world we live in.

Inspired, we figured out the details of the botched rescue scene (no spoiler by saying that, most pantos have several rescue attempts) and continued to snicker all the way home.

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