This past week has been quite an adventure for me, and I want to share my struggles and triumphs with you.
In every new city one encounters that there are unspoken rules, local ways of doing things that you can only become familiar with in time. There are also natural rules that change drastically from west to prairie to east coast. These rules, I assure you, are tried and true.
Here are some of those rules in random order of importance:
1. Never travel to a city located beside a body of water without an an umbrella. You will get caught in a torrential downpour and the rain will wash all of your mascara down your face, making you look slightly more “Dark Knight” than is socially acceptable. Every time.
2. In Halifax, cars will stop for you at a cross-walk no matter how fast they are going, how far away they are. J-walking is unnecessary and if attempted you will be honked at and nearly hit by the one and only mean driver in Halifax in the shiny blue Toyota Corolla. Fact.
3. It is a habit of mine to take a new route to a recurring destination each time I go. You never know what cool gems (stores, historic sites, landmarks, friends) you will find on the way. When attempting this the first couple of times, be sure one’s phone is charged and GoogleMaps is accessible, for indeed you may find far more gems and spend far more time with them than you expected.
4. As a general rule, wait no less than one hour to decide that you are hungry after eating again and ordering a giant poutine from Smoke’s. You will not finish that poutine, and you will figure out it was probably a bad idea.
5. The McLobster is not a myth. It exists. It is a real thing.
6. Always go to used bookstores first, when looking for a specific book. For in sooth, after four new bookstores and a new book later, you will walk into Coburg Coffee and see the book you wanted on the “book exchange” shelf.
7. The Universe has a good sense of humor. Laugh with it when things like the aforementioned events happen to you! But maybe not when they happen to other people. Be a bit more sensitive in those situations…
Random life lessons are not the only things I have learned this past week. I was fortunate enough to participate in a masterclass with the wonderful Lorna MacDonald a couple of days ago, and was blessed with the insight and observations of this very smart woman. I think I was most inspired by her constant focus on the positive. She would only mention a bad habit or something that wasn’t quite working for me and the other participants, after we had felt what it was like to be on the other side of it. It was never “you need a brighter sound” or “your breath should be deeper.” It was “this is where you are right now, and that’s totally fine! Let’s see if we can make it even better and explore some things to see what those feel like.” In the same way as you find out eating poutine is a bad idea an hour after brunch, you wonder why you are struggling to sing one way after you feel how good it feels to not eat poutine with a full stomach…I mean after you have experienced an easier way of singing… I feel blessed to have worked with Lorna and see the processes she took the other participants through as well.
Finally, I have fallen in love. With Shakespeare and Britten. The Port cast dress rehearsal forDream is today, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is truly a special work of art, both in dramatic and operatic literature. The music of Britten brings to life the brilliant words of Shakespeare and I don’t know how he did it, but the magical and mystical quality of work springs to life. The lighting, costumes and casts of this show makes it something to revel in. Watching the cue-to-cues was like being inside the most beautiful otherworldly place imaginable, and I was only in the audience! When you see the product of the hard work put into this show, it’s like having a secret gem tucked away in your mind. You want to share it, but also keep it for yourself. That is what I love about live theater. You can share it, but there are always the scenes, arias, monologues, ironies, etc, that you can keep hidden in your mind and recall when you want to be translated back to another time.
As the Beatles say, “And our friends are all aboard, many more of them live next door and the band begins to play, we all live in a yellow submarine…”
Although we don’t all live in a yellow submarine, literally, (or figuratively really…) My fairy friends are currently at the theater now, getting into costume. Greg Myra, I’m sure, is ready to be our band at the piano, and the Starboard cast is getting ready to support us and watch our dress rehearsal, just as we will do for them tomorrow! If theater is an ocean, and Shakespeare is a submarine…I suppose Britten’s opera would be the…yellow one…? Aaaaannnnddd Epic Fail to assimilate the Beatles, Shakespeare and Britten. But they’re all British!! Ahhh TRIBOND! (did anyone play the board game?) Ok, I’m rambling. I’m just way too excited to start getting into make-up and costume!